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

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


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this is so sad to hear; Charlie was truly one of the nicest people I've ever known in the broadcast business. And a tremendous talent as well. I'll miss hearing that wonderful voice.

Don't forget Charlie was a DJ on KRLA in the 60's, too.

They say that only the good die young-but Charlie O' Donnell was truly young at heart! His cheery voice and entertaining ways brightened my growing up years as a dj at KRLA and again at "Wheel"! My prayers to his family and friends.

A kind gentle soul, incredible wit and humor. I'm honored to have the opportunity to know this man and call him my friend. So many short but, cherished memories in our desert paradise with you. I "turn you over" to a better place.
All my love to Ellen and family.

Jonell Magnus
La Quinta, CA

I met Charlie around 1942. He was two years younger than me. We hung on the same corner for a year or two in West Philly and got to know each other quite well. We later played basketball together in the Kingsessing Recreation Center nearby. Later on we found ourselves in Darby Pa. around 1956, starting to raise our families in the old Lansdown Park section of Darby. Not soon after Charlie went West and we waited for his voice whenever we tuned on to the Wheel of Fortune. Charlie's had a best friend by the name of Sy Muller, his parents owned a bakery. I hope Sy has learned of his passing. Charlie had a way of greeting his pals back then which for whatever reason, always impressed me. He rarely if ever said Hi ya, invaribly said Hello. I picked up on it. It just seemed to get the job done a little better. Thanks Charlie, see ya later.


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