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'Wheel of Fortune' announcer Charlie O'Donnell dies at 78 [Updated]

November 2, 2010 |  6:52 am

Charlie O'Donnell, the announcer whose voice opened "Wheel of Fortune" for decades, has died. He was 78.

O'Donnell -- who joined the game show even before hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White appeared -- died Monday at his Los Angeles home, according to agent Fred Wostbrock. The cause was unclear.

[For the record at 1:07 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that O'Donnell died Sunday. He died Monday.]

O'Donnell was a popular radio DJ in New York before starting his television career in Philadelphia with Dick Clark on "American Bandstand."

He also served as announcer for Oscar and Emmy telecasts and other game shows, including “The Newlywed Game.”

His signature phrase, "Wheeeeeeel of Fortune," could be heard on the show from its beginning with host Chuck Woolery in 1975. He worked on the show until 1980, and again from 1988 until his death.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Charlie O'Donnell on the set of "Wheel of Fortune" with Vanna White, left, and host Pat Sajak. Credit: Carol Kaelson