My game show fan heart was truly broken this Monday when I found out about the passing of veteran television announcer Charlie O'Donnell.
Charlie is perhaps best known for his long running announcing role on Wheel of Fortune, a role that he started before Pat and Vanna were even on the series. He was there from its 1974 pilot with Edd "Kooky" Byrnes through the first 5 years of the show's run on NBC daytime, with original hosts Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. He left in 1980 and came back to the show in 1989 and had stayed ever since.
Though his announcing career actually began in 1958, with the series American Bandstand, and Dick Clark's Bloopers and Practical Jokes. Game show viewers have heard him most, not only for his work on Wheel, but on the following series through the past few decades: All-Star Secrets, Card Sharks, Bullseye, Hot Potato, Monopoly, Trivia Trap, Tic Tac Dough, The Joker's Wild, The $25,000/$100,000 Pyramid, Let's Go Back, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, To Tell The Truth, The Wizard of Odds, and Wordplay. He was also a news anchor for KCOP-TV.
Charlie always had a voice of gold -- one of the most exciting things about the Wheel of Fortune bonus rounds over the years was his dulcet tone telling us in grand enthusiasm how much the winning contestants had earned that particular day.
Rest in peace to one of my all-time favorite announcers in the television industry.