From the article: Biography of Prolific Announcer Charlie O'Donnell
Announcer Charlie O'Donnell worked on Wheel of Fortune for over 26 years, and contributed his unique style of voice work to over 20 other game shows. Fans, contestants, audience members, and co-workers have said that he was kind, friendly, and warm, always able to spare a few minutes to pose for photos and sign an autograph. If you've met Charlie O'Donnell, please add your story here as a tribute to the legendary announcer. Share Your Story
- Just adding to my previous comment. I wonder how many of Charlie's fans know that Charlie was once a singer in a local philly band back in the mid fifties. I dont recall the name of the band, but it may have been named after the bands sax player Don Fossi. Unlike now, back then, every band had a sax player and Fossi and Charlie were great friends and met up with one another at the Green Dolphin Bar at 52nd & Baltimore Aves before a gig to travel together. Thats where our crowd hung out and both of them became regulars of sorts. I recall Chalie was always on the move looking for career opportunities and was liked and admired by everyone. I saw the band perform many times and Charlie had this high kick move he used singing few songs that always got the crowd going.
- —Guest Joe Bingham
- I remember Charlie as a friend that hung out at local bar in west Philly who was a vocalist for a band that played gigs in Phila. bars and clubs & several of us followed him around at times since he got us into clubs that we never could get in as non members because " we were with the band " his 2 big songs as I recall were " Hey There " & " You Aint Nothing but a Hound Dog " I recall he was a DJ for a black radio station at the time and I doubt many listeners ever knew he was white - I remember him as a friendly guy that was liked and admired by all who knew him RIP Charlie
- —Guest Joe Bingham
- Charlie was a guest co-host of The Early Show on CBS when Julie Chen left for a while 9 years ago.
- —Guest Neal De Jesus
A lovely voice has passed away.
- That's sad that the voice of Wheel of Fortune Charlie O' Donnell has passed away. He is my dear pal and favorite game show announcer. I grew up with the show since I was three and still going strong. I watched him at a taping at the Sony lot near my home in Culver City. I was listening to Charlie and I was impressed. He was a gentle man. I miss you, love you and god bless you.
- —Guest Devon Carmans
- To thousands of people over the years, Charlie was many things; friend, mentor, a familiar voice every evening at dinner time... to me, he was just Dad. That's not to say that I wasn't proud of the self made man that he became, from him I learned an incredible work ethic to become successful in my career. But when I was a little girl, he was the one that would sit and watch a baseball game on tv with me. He was the one on a Saturday afternoon who would find me and say "Come on, let's go for a ride" and he and I would take off for a bowl of chili or head off to Paul's Kitchen for Chinese food. We went and took horseback riding lessons together because I loved horses. We would sneak over to the driving range and he taught me how to swing a club. He was an exceptional golfer and I loved going to the driving range with him. He hit the ball like Superman. So to many people, "Charlie O" was many things but to me he was my Superman. He was just my Dad.
- We used to see Charlie in the Philadelphia neighborhood on 54th street in the early 50's. He was tall and handsome and stood out. It was early in his career, but you could tell that he was going places. I remember his friendly waves as everybody said hello to him as he went by. Looks like that smile was his signature that he carried the rest of his life. A boy from Southwest Philly that made the big time!
- —Guest Joe Gormley
- Favorite Charlie O'Donnell memory: Whenever a total amount in cash in prizes (whether it was the champion's running total or the value of a prize package) ended in "500", he'd emphasize the 5 in 500. For example, if "The Joker's Wild" champion returned with $4,500 in winnings, he'd say, "four-thousand, fiiiiiiive-hundred dollars". Text doesn't do this justice. Rest in peace, Charlie.
- —Guest Doug Morris
Passing ships in the night.
- I've heard him on my TV every night for the last 20 years. Though I've seen him at his best on the set of Wheel during GSC 5 Weekend, I've had the chance to meet him once. Interestingly enough, it was the same weekend. But you can tell that the man on camera... that's him. That's all him. His character, his jovial nature, all of that. That's all him. His voice will resonate with that show forever.
- —Guest Chico Alexander
Remembering Charlie O
- I knew Charlie from the late 90's when I worked as a Page for WOF. What a sweet soul was he. I remember him telling a blonde joke one day, so I said hey wait a minute.... I have THE best blonde joke... he said oh yea? I said yep... Why are blonde jokes so short? Don't know? It's so that men can understand them! The ladies in the audience cheered and laughed. From that day on, Charlie and I did that joke for many audiences. I will always have fond memories of Charlie, what a wonderful man. He'll be missed for sure. God Bless him.
- —Guest Susie Burnheimer White
Familiar Voice Now Silenced
- I never met Mr. O'Donnell, but his voice was a very familiar one to me. Wheel of Fortune was my grandparents favorite show and the highlight of their day. They arranged their entire evening schedule around it!
- —Guest Connie B
- I'm just crushed by Charlie's passing. It is a huge loss. Charlie was so kind to all, and always so encouraging to me. He had an amazing career, style and approach to his work. But even moreso he will be remembered for his spirit. Greater than his magnificent voice and enduring career of broadcasting excellence was his endearing character; a gentle man, a loving husband, father and grandfather, with endless caring, humor and compassion, and always ready with a joke and a word of encouragement. Charlie introduced me in a ballroom at the Continental Hyatt House on Sunset, at a 1984 run-thru of a game in development for CBS that I hosted, and we became friends. We exchanged e-mails regularly until a last e-mail 2 weeks ago went unanswered. I should have called; we had been planning a lunch together. He was a gentle man, loved at studios all over town. Charlie O will be missed by the many who were honored to call him a friend, and who were richer for knowing him.
- —Guest Randy West
My Conversation With Charlie
- I met Charlie at the Dads and Grads taping of Wheel in February as an audience member. Being 20 years old Charlie has been the only voice of Wheel I've ever known. Sure I've always wanted to meet Pat and Vanna but he was the first on my list. After all he's 'the voice' of the #1 syndicated show in TV history. I took up a lot of his attention. He just had an incomparable sense of humor and felt like an old friend of mine. As a journalism student (he's a former news director) he gave me some tips. I'm a Canadian and he acknowledged the show is aired up here by CBC. I can't stress enough how funny he was and was disappointed when he was told to zip it so they could resume taping. I plan on seeing another Wheel taping in the winter and couldn't wait to see him again. I truly feel like I lost a friend albeit 60 years older than me. I never grasped how true of a legend he was until I conversed with him in between tapings that day. He'll truly be missed!
- —Guest Arthur