Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Voice of Wheel of Fortune Dies
Charlie O'Donnell, the familiar announcing voice on "Wheel of Fortune" for more than 26 years, died overnight in his sleep.
O'Donnell, 78, lived in Sherman Oaks, with his wife Ellen. He has four children and two grandchildren. A family spokesperson said, "They are too upset to talk right now." A woman who works on "Wheel" at Sony studios also confirmed O'Donnell's death.
The cause of death was reportedly heart failure, according to family friend and longtime radio personality Johnny Hayes.
"Charlie was by far one of the greatest show announcers ever," said his long-time agent Fred Wostbrock. "He gave life to that copy on 'Wheel.' Even the way he said 'Wheel of Fortune' started the excitement in the first two seconds of the game. He was as much a part of that show as Vanna White and Pat Sajak, and Charlie was with the original 'Wheel' with Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford," he said.
"I am very lucky that I have had such a wonderful home base at Wheel of Fortune," O'Donnell was quoted as saying in his Biography on the Wheel of Fortune website. "Throughout my 40 plus years working as an announcer, I have had the honor to have worked with some of the leading entertainers in the world."
In 1987, O'Donnell was chosen to announce the arrival of Pope John Paul II at the Papal Teleconference at Universal Amphitheatre. He was the announcer for the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium in 1965 and 1966; announced the Rolling Stones at the Long Beach Auditorium in 1965; and was the voice of Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" for 10 years.
According to his biography, O'Donnell's other credits include: "The Dating Game," "Everybody's Talking," "The Gong Show," "The Guinness Game," "Hot Potato," "The Joker's Wild," "Let's Go Back," "Monopoly," "The Newlywed Game," "The Parent Game," "Stompers," "Tic Tac Dough," "To Tell The Truth," "Trivia Trap," "Wedding Party," "The Wizard of Odds" and "Wordplay."
Posted by Bob at 12:23 PM