Social Icons

Social Connect

November 02, 2010

Wheel of Fortune Announcer Charlie O’Donnell Passes at 78

From American Bandstand to Wheel, he had one of the most distinctive voices in television.

Charlie O’Donnell, legendary announcer for Wheel of Fortune, passed away November 1, 2010, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 78.

Although he was best known for his work as a television announcer — including 28 years as the voice behind — O'Donnell's career was as distinguished as his voice. In the1960s, he was a top-rated disc jockey on KRLA Radio in Los Angeles. In the ‘70s, he anchored L.A.’s top-rated afternoon newscast on KCOP-TV. He served as the announcer for the Beatles when they appeared at the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium in 1965, 1966 and 1967; for the Rolling Stones when they appeared at the Long Beach Auditorium in 1965; and for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Los Angeles and the Papal nationwide teleconference in 1987.

Beginning his legendary career on Dick Clark’s iconic American Bandstand, O'Donnell celebrated his 50th year as a television announcer and his 25th anniversary on Wheel of Fortune in 2007. In 2009, O'Donnell, was at the microphone as Wheel recorded its historic 5,000th episode in syndication. His resume reads like a history of the medium’s highlights and includes the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and American Music Awards, to name a few.

Rounding out his illustrious career, some of 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.

O’Donnell is survived by his wife Ellen, his four children and two grandchildren.

A Message From Charlie O'Donnell's Family:

Charlie O'Donnell was not only the voice of the world, but a loving husband and father. He was the voice in our heads, in our hearts and in our lives. He was a handsome, tall, silver-haired Irish presence. When he walked into a room, you couldn't help but fall in love with this genuine and generous kind man who would captivate you for hours with his knowledge of pretty much everything, his stories of his past (and boy, he had some stories to tell) or just listen to whatever you had to say. No matter who needed him, nothing was too much trouble for Charlie.

We are heartbroken at the loss of this wonderful, larger-than-life man. We are proud of all that he has accomplished, all he has given and the legacy he leaves as a consummate professional. His entire family, here on the West Coast as well as on the East Coast, is proud to tell you, he is now announcing for God.

"La Comedia e Fini."

Add Your Comment

Must See

Primetime Emmy Awards

Entries are now being accepted for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. Click here to submit.

A Conversation with Lily Tomlin

Watch the hilarious event - with special surprise guests!