'Price Is Right' announcer dies
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Rod Roddy, the flashy-dressed announcer on "The Price Is Right" whose booming, jovial voice invited lucky audience members to "Come on down!" for nearly 20 years, died Monday. He was believed to have been 66.
Roddy, who suffered from colon and breast cancer, died at Century City Hospital, according to his longtime agent, Don Pitts. He had been hospitalized for two months.
"He had such a strong spirit. He just wouldn't give up," Pitts said Monday.
Roddy had been ill for more than two years but continued to work as much as possible and for as long as he could, said Bob Barker, host of "The Price Is Right." Roddy had been with the game show for 17 years.
"We all admired his courage," Barker said last week. "He was always upbeat and hopeful."
Barker recounted a recent visit to his friend: "I went to the hospital and sat on the edge of his bed and we laughed the whole time we were talking. He was still having fun."
Roddy's announcing stints included "Love Connection" (1981-1985) and "Press Your Luck" (1983-1986), but "The Price Is Right" earned him his greatest fame. "The Price Is Right" remains one of the television's most popular game shows, and Roddy, with his flamboyant sport coats and booming voice, was a big part of the success.
"He started wearing those jackets when he joined the show," Barker said. "He was quite a character. He was important to the success of the show. He had the spirit of 'The Price Is Right.' It's a fun show. We did it with the hope people will forget their problems for awhile."
Roddy, whose real name was Robert Ray Roddy, was born September 18, 1937, in Fort Worth, Texas, Pitts said. According to CBS, his birth year was 1936, which would make him 67.
He was a graduate of Texas Christian University and a popular disc jockey in Texas when he decided to expand his career in Hollywood, his agent recalled.
Roddy's versatility made him a popular voice-over artist for commercials in Los Angeles, Pitts said. He got his big break in television with the 1977-1981 satire "Soap."
Disc jockey Casey Kasem, who was the first announcer on the risque series, decided he did not want to stay with it and asked Pitts if he knew someone who could take over.
"I said, 'I've got a guy who's terrific,' " Pitts said. "Rod started with 'Soap' and then his career took off."
Roddy, who taped his last show about two months ago, had colon cancer surgery on September 11, 2001, and his left breast removed last March.
The diseases appeared under control following chemotherapy but flared up again, Pitts said. The two cancers, which Roddy had said were unconnected, prompted him to become a spokesman for early detection.
"I could have prevented all this with a colonoscopy and, of course, that's the campaign I've been on since I had the first surgery," he said in a recent interview on a CBS Web site.
Breast cancer, although typically associated with women, is diagnosed in about 1,500 American men a year, Roddy said in the CBS interview.
"To everybody out there, 'Get a mammogram!' It can happen to men, too," Roddy said in the interview.
Roddy was single. The only family member he talked about was his mother, who died several years ago, Pitts said.
Funeral plans were not immediately announced.