Rod Roddy (September 28, 1937 - October 27, 2003) was an American broadcaster and announcer. He was most recognizable as a game show announcer, he was the announcer for shows such as Press Your Luck, Love Connection, and Whew. But like Johnny Olson before him, Roddy was mostly notably for The Price is Right from 1986-2003 (his death).
He was also the voice of Mike the Microphone on Disney's House of Mouse from 2001-2003.
Born in Fort Worth, TX. He graduated from Texas Christian University and was a Disc Jockey and talk show host on KLIF and KNUS-FM (Dallas, TX), working overnights and mid-days at the Buffalo, New York radio station WKBW AM, a big-signal station covering the Eastern Seaboard of the US and at other high-profile stations.
In 1977, Rod replaced Casey Kasem as the announcer voice of the situation comedy Soap. He held this role from 1977 to 1981, providing the opening and closing narration "Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap".
Roddy's very first game show announcing job came in 1979, he was the announcer on the short-lived game show Whew (ran from April 23, 1979 to May 30, 1980). From there, he went to announce for shows such as Battlestars (1981-1982), Love Connection (1983-1985, 1986), Hit Man (1983), and Press Your Luck (1983-1986).
After Johnny Olson passed away back in October 1985, and after a rotation of stand-in announcers (Gene Wood, Bob Hilton, and Rich Jeffries), Roddy was selected as Olson's permanent replacement. Then-producer Roger Dobkowitz stated that he liked Rod the best and was a CBS favorite and on February 17, 1986, Roddy took his permanent place at the announcer's booth. He also announced on the syndicated, nighttime show with Tom Kennedy (which was still roughly in production) as well.
Rod's studio audience warm-ups before each taping were FAR different from Johnny Olson. Rod would have everyone in the audience stand up and do what he called "The Contestant Oath" where he would shout out a line such as "I will NOT chew gum on national Television" and the audience would repeat that same line I will NOT chew gum on national Television.
He later adopt a rigorous diet and exercise program, overweight most of his adult life, the program resulted in Rod losing close to 200 pounds and with his weight-loss regimen becoming a much-lauded success (frequently mentioned by Bob Barker), he was frequently shown on camera when calling the next contestant to "COME ON DOWN!". Also like Johnny Olson before him, Rod also appeared in various showcase skits and occasionally modeled prizes on the show.
Roddy was also noted for wearing brightly colored and sequined sport jackets, he first adopted this practice as a trademark when making personal appearances emceeing teen dances and concerts for WKBW in Buffalo in the 1960s. On his earliest appearances on Price, Rod wore pastel jackets made in Hong Kong and with the encouragement of Bob Barker, turning them into a staple of the show. Roddy even traveled to Bangkok several times a year to have custom clothing made for him. He also traveled frequently to Thailand as the official ambassador to Chiang Mai.
On September 11, 2001, Rod was diagnosed with colon cancer, resulting him to take a leave of absence from Price to undergo and recover from surgery and chemotherapy . During Rod's leave, Burton Richardson, who was the announcer on the short-lived syndicated version from 1994-1995, substituted for Roddy, making his mark on Barker's version. Just one short year later, Rod's colon cancer returned as he took another leave of absence from the show as Burton returned to the announcer's booth while Roddy recovered. However, in March 2003, he was diagnosed with male breast cancer and underwent surgery but afterwards experienced major complications and he was unable to return to Price as Randy West took over the announcing job from Burton Richardson, who was busy with Family Feud at the time.
Beginning in Season 31, Rod's on-air camera appearances were eliminated from the show, FremantleMedia claimed that it was against policy for announcers to appear on camera during any of its game shows while others speculated of a falling-out between Barker and Roddy and that being the real reason behind his camera time being taken away. The policy was later claimed to be a fabrication in a 2009 interview by ex-model Holly Hallstrom, who was dismissed back in 1995, but remained close friends with Roddy and even spent a lot of time with him in the hospital during the last few months of Rod's life.
On the Season 32 premiere show of Price, Rod was briefly shown on camera and it would be the last time the home audiences would ever see him on camera.
Despite his illness, Rod continued on announcing for the show as long as he could and in between Burton Richardson and Randy West rotated filling in for him. Rod's last on-air announcing shows aired during the week of October 13-17, 2003, with October 20, 2003 being his very last.
On October 27, 2003, less than a month after his 66th birthday, Rod lost his battle with colon and breast cancer. He was interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth, TX and he had "COME ON DOWN !" inscribed on his tombstone, phrase popularized by Johnny Olson.
Roddy was given a short tribute by Bob Barker, which aired before the start of a later episode (the tribute only lasted eighteen seconds, which infuriated some of the fans) and Craig Kilborn, then-host of The Late, Late Show paid a much better and lengthy tribute to Roddy (a frequent guest and friend of Kilborn's) on the October 28, 2003 show.
Hollywood Squares dedicated a special week of shows titled "Game Show Week II" in Rod's memory as he was the announcer on the first edition of "Game Show Week" (with original host Peter Marshall in the center square) back in December 2002.
The rotation of fill-in announcers, which included Richardson and West, as well as Jim Thornton, continued on until producers settled in on Rich Fields (April 2004) being chosen as Rod's permanent replacement (Fields continued on as announcer on Price until his dismissal in 2010).
In a similar matter to the eighteen second tribute, Rod Roddy was only mentioned once in Barker's memoir Priceless Memories (which also angered some fans) when he listed the series' announcers throughout the years.