Bill Wendell (birth name: William Joseph Wenzel, Jr.) (
22 March 1924– 14 April 1999) was an NBC televisionstaff announcerfor almost his entire professional career.
New York City, Wendell served in the United States Army Air Corpsin World War II, and graduated from Fordham Universitywith a degree in speech. He worked briefly with the DuMont Television Networkbefore beginning his long association with NBC. During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Wendell formed part of a quintet of network voice-overartists who held lifetime contracts; his compatriots were Don Pardo, Wayne Howell, Fred Facey, and Howard Reig.
Wendell did announce on a few radio shows towards the end of the
old-time radioera [http://radiogoldindex.com/cgi-local/p3.cgi?ArtistName=Wendell,+Bill&ArtistNumber=03858] , but the majority of his announcing work was on television. He was a regular on the 1955-1956 version of "The Ernie Kovacs Show", serving as the show's announcer, as well as a participant in sketches such as "Mr. Question Man." He also worked with the likes of Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and other famous names who were synonymous with NBC.
Wendell provided voiceovers for a number of NBC's game shows, and announced the syndicated version of "
To Tell The Truth" from 1972 through 1977, succeeding Johnny Olson, who left New York Cityto assume the job on CBS' then-new version of the "The New Price Is Right," based in southern California, in the summer of 1972. He was also announcer for several years on the " Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade".
His most notable stint on television was as the regular announcer for NBC's "
Late Night with David Letterman", on which he appeared from 1982 until 1993, the entirety of the show's NBC run. He moved with Letterman to CBSin 1993, picking up where he left off as the announcer on " The Late Show with David Letterman." His final show was on Friday, August 18, 1995, when he retired. Alan Kaltersucceeded him as announcer on Monday, September 4, 1995, after the show took a two week hiatus. In a strange coincidence, Kalter also succeeded Wendell on "Truth" 18 years earlier, announcing that show's final season.
Wendell's last major job was as the original
voiceoverannouncer in Old Navy's "fashion show" commercial campaign.
He died of complications from
cancerin 1999 at the age of 75 in Boca Raton, Florida.
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9401E3DB143BF936A25757C0A96F958260 Obituary] in
The New York Times, April 15, 1999.
* [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117882937.html?categoryid=25&cs=1 Obituary] in Variety, May 25, 1999.
*imdb name|id=0920825|name=Bill Wendell
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