Bill Wendell

William Joseph Wenzel Jr. (March 22, 1924 – April 14, 1999), known as Bill Wendell, was an NBC television staff announcer for almost his entire professional career.

Bill Wendell
Bill wendell
Bill Wendell's last appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (August 18, 1995).
William Joseph Wenzel Jr.

March 22, 1924
DiedApril 14, 1999 (aged 75)
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery
Years active1950s – 1995

Life and career

Born in New York City, Wendell served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and graduated from Fordham University with a degree in speech. He began his radio career in summer of 1947[1] at WHAM in Rochester, New York.[2] He moved to WWJ Detroit where he worked in both radio and TV.[1] Wendell returned to Manhattan in 1952 when he landed a job on the DuMont television network emceeing several shows before jumping to NBC in 1955.[1]

He was a regular on the 1955-56 version of The Ernie Kovacs Show, serving as the show's announcer, as well as a participant in sketches such as "Mr. Question Man" (a parody of The Answer Man). He also worked with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Dave Garroway and other NBC personalities. On October 13, 1958,[3] Wendell succeeded Jack Barry (who was implicated in the quiz-show scandals) as emcee of Tic Tac Dough, until it was finally cancelled in October the following year and by December, had resumed his staff announcing position at NBC,[4] forming part of a fraternity of network staff announcers who held lifetime contracts; his colleagues were Don Pardo, Wayne Howell, Fred Facey, Bill McCord, Roger Tuttle and Howard Reig.

During the 1970s, Wendell succeeded Johnny Olson as the announcer of the syndicated To Tell the Truth from 1972–1977, after Olson left New York City to assume the job on CBS's game The New Price Is Right, based in Southern California. Wendell was also announcer for several years on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In addition, during the years when the television networks didn't broadcast 24 hours a day, Wendell anchored a five-minute summary of the day's news—the last program NBC would air before local affiliates would sign off—on which he was heard but not seen as a network hand displayed still images or illustrations related to the brief news items.

His most notable stint on television was as David Letterman's announcer, beginning partway through the short-lived morning program The David Letterman Show in 1980. He continued with Letterman as the regular announcer for NBC's Late Night with David Letterman from 1982–1993, the entirety of the show's NBC run. In addition to his duties as announcer, Wendell occasionally participated in sketches, usually playing himself. He moved with Letterman to CBS in 1993, staying as announcer on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Wendell retired in mid-1995, with his last episode airing on August 18. Following a two-week hiatus, Alan Kalter succeeded him as announcer on September 4. Kalter had previously replaced Wendell as announcer for the final season of To Tell the Truth in 1977-78. Before he announced for David Letterman's Late Night, Wendell was announcer on Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show when Snyder moved production from Burbank, California to New York. Letterman's show replaced Snyder's and kept Wendell as announcer.

On the June 14, 2018 episode of The Carson Podcast with guest Robert Morton (Producer of The Late Show), Morton revealed that Letterman had wanted Wendell gone for ages and that Wendell was finally fired for getting caught stealing water bottles purchased by and sent out for the show's staff on multiple occasions.[5]

Wendell also appeared as a TV announcer in the movie, Mr. Saturday Night, which starred Billy Crystal. Wendell's last major job was as the original voiceover announcer in Old Navy's "fashion show" commercial campaign.


Wendell died of complications from cancer in 1999 in Boca Raton, Florida.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Yonkers Herald Statesman, July 18, 1959, pg. 6
  2. ^ Lyons Republican, Sept. 2, 1948, pg. 6
  3. ^ Buffalo Courier-Express, Oct. 13, 1958, pg. 10
  4. ^ Cynthia Lowry, Associated Press story, Binghamton Press, Dec. 13, 1959, pg. 9D
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Bill Wendell, 75, Television Announcer". Lakeland Ledger. April 16, 1999. Retrieved November 23, 2010.


External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Late Night announcer
Feb. 1, 1982 –June 25, 1993
Succeeded by
Joel Godard
Preceded by
Late Show with David Letterman announcer
Aug. 30, 1993 –Aug. 18, 1995
Succeeded by
Alan Kalter
Alan Kalter

Alan Kalter (born March 21, 1943) is an American television announcer from New York City. He is best known as the announcer for the Late Show with David Letterman, a role he held from September 5, 1995 until Letterman's retirement on May 20, 2015.

April 14

April 14 is the 104th day of the year (105th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 261 days remain until the end of the year.

Arthur Gary

Arthur John Gary (January 28, 1914 in New York City – October 31, 2005 in New York) was an American radio and television announcer.

A graduate of New York University, Gary's announcing career spanned from 1936 to 1984. From the 1940s until his retirement, he was part of a core group of East Coast announcers for NBC which included Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Vic Roby, Mel Brandt, Jerry Damon, Dick Dudley, Howard Reig, and Wayne Howell.

Gary was a newscaster and one of the main announcers for the long-running radio program, The Eternal Light. His other radio announcing credits included Dimension X, The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel, and Author Meets the Critics. He also announced for various NBC television programs over the years, and handled program introductions and closes, station identifications, promos, bumpers, teasers, taglines, public service announcements, sign-ons and sign-offs for both the network and its New York owned-and-operated station, WNBC-TV.

Gary died of leukemia at age 91.

Bill Hanrahan

William A. "Bill" Hanrahan (September 14, 1918 – August 7, 1996), was an American radio and television announcer, perhaps best known as the "Voice of NBC News."

Hanrahan's broadcasting career dated back to the 1940s, when he worked at WELI radio in New Haven, Connecticut, and later went to WNHC radio (now WYBC) where he was a newscaster. By 1950, he had joined the announcing staff of NBC in New York. His radio announcing credits included Inheritance, The Eternal Light, Monitor, and a 1976 special called The First Fabulous Fifty which was a companion to the network's 50th anniversary television special, The First Fifty Years.

Hanrahan's early television credits include The Nat King Cole Show, for which he was one of the announcers during its short-lived 1956–57 run. He also did a few other entertainment-based shows over the years, including two December episodes of Saturday Night Live in 1981 (the December 5 episode with host Tim Curry and musical guest Meat Loaf and the December 12 episode with host Bill Murray and musical guests The Spinners and The Yale Whiffenpoofs) on which he substituted for Mel Brandt (who was hired to be an announcer for that season following the brief departure of Don Pardo).But Hanrahan's biggest claim to fame was as announcer for numerous NBC News programs, including the Huntley-Brinkley Report and its successor, NBC Nightly News, until his retirement in 1983. He handled announcing duties for the network's coverage of political conventions, space launches, assassinations, and other major stories during his tenure. His voice became as familiar to a generation of viewers as those of fellow staff announcers Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Wayne Howell, and Hanrahan's eventual successor as Nightly News announcer, Howard Reig.

Hanrahan died on August 7, 1996 in Fairfield, Connecticut, at the age of 77.

Bill McCord

William J. "Bill" McCord (December 18, 1916 – January 17, 2004) was an American radio and television announcer.

Born in Colville, Washington, McCord moved to Spokane in the 1930s, where he began his broadcasting career. During World War II, he served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps, stationed in Riverside, California, and rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. For several years starting in the 1940s, he was based out of WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, and announced on a few programs that aired on NBC, including The Circle Arrow Show.

McCord joined the announcing staff of NBC in New York in the early 1950s. His radio announcing credits for the network included Easy Money, Monitor, and a 1956 episode of X Minus One.

On television, McCord was one of several announcers, including Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Roger Tuttle, Vic Roby and Wayne Howell, whose voice was heard on several NBC game shows. His most notable credits in that realm, in the 1950s, included Twenty One, Concentration, and Tic-Tac-Dough. In his later years with the network, up to his retirement in 1980, McCord's announcing work largely consisted of sub-announcing on NBC Nightly News and the one-minute NBC News Updates (as a frequent fill-in for regular announcer Bill Hanrahan), as well as occasional booth announcing duties for the local flagship station, WNBC-TV. McCord hosted shows like 30 Minutes in New York until he moved to California.

Following his retirement, McCord moved to San Diego, California. He died there of complications from pneumonia at age 87.

His son is famed rock musician Billy Vera.

Don Stanley (announcer)

Donald Stanley Uglum (August 5, 1917 in Stoughton, Wisconsin – January 20, 2003 in Westlake Village, California), known professionally as Don Stanley, was an American radio and television announcer.

Stanley attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was part of the University Players. His announcing career began at the university's radio station, WHA (AM). From there, he went to WIBA-AM in Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1940 joined WTMJ in Milwaukee, where he inaugurated the station's FM outlet (now WKTI) as a staff announcer and news commentator.

After a brief stint as an announcer with ABC in Chicago, Stanley joined NBC in Hollywood in 1946 and became part of the network's West Coast announcing staff for the next 46 years. He was part of a "core" group that included the likes of Arch Presby, Eddy King, and Frank Barton; in later years, among his colleagues would be Donald Rickles, Victor Bozeman, and Peggy Taylor. His tenure with NBC was on par with such New York-based network staff announcers as Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Wayne Howell, and Howard Reig. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy and also did announcing work for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

During the "golden age" of old-time radio, Stanley's voice was heard on such shows as The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel, The NBC University Theatre, The Adventures of The Saint, The Halls of Ivy, The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe, Presenting Charles Boyer, and Father Knows Best. After moving to the television side in the 1950s (and, eventually, to their later studios in Burbank, California), he handled announcing duties for such television programs as The Sheilah Graham Show, One Man's Family, The Spike Jones Show, and NBC Saturday Night at the Movies. His voice was also heard introducing NewsCenter 4 on the network's Los Angeles flagship station, KNBC. His long run with the network ended around 1992.

He was married to his high school sweetheart, Elinore, for 63 years. They had three children: Jon, Kristin and Donna.

Stanley died of complications from cancer of the small intestine at age 85. His wife, Elinore, died on October 31, 2011 at age 94.

Haggis Baggis

Haggis Baggis is an American game show that aired on NBC from 1958 to 1959. Jack Linkletter hosted the primetime version while Fred Robbins and Dennis James did the daytime show. The announcer was Bill Wendell, with some editions announced by Jerry Damon.

The series was produced by Rainbow Productions, otherwise known as Joe Cates Productions, and created by William T. Naud.

He Said, She Said (game show)

He Said, She Said is an American game show hosted by Joe Garagiola, with Bill Cullen occasionally filling in when Garagiola was covering baseball games. The show, which asked couples questions about their personal lives, aired in syndication during the 1969-1970 season, and was taped at NBC Studios in New York City.

The show was produced by Goodson-Todman Productions for sponsor Holiday Inn. Johnny Olson and Bill Wendell announced.

The show had two formats during its run; one in which four celebrity couples (one or both of the members being a celebrity) competed, and one which had a single celebrity couple and three civilian couples.

The format was modified and brought back on CBS in 1974 as Tattletales, with Bert Convy as host.

Late Night with David Letterman

Late Night with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman. It premiered on NBC on February 1, 1982, and concluded on June 25, 1993. Letterman began hosting Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in August 1993. The series has since been reformatted as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

In 2013, this series and Late Show with David Letterman were ranked #41 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.

Late Show with David Letterman

Late Show with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS, the first iteration of the Late Show franchise. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and was produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS Television Studios. The show's music director and leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, was Paul Shaffer. The head writer was Matt Roberts and the announcer was originally Bill Wendell, then Alan Kalter. Of the major U.S. late-night programs, Late Show ranked second in cumulative average viewers over time and third in number of episodes over time. In most U.S. markets the show aired from 11:35 p.m. to 12:37 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, and recorded Monday through Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The second Thursday episode usually aired on Friday of that week.In 2002, Late Show with David Letterman was ranked No. 7 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. As host of both Late Night and Late Show for more than 30 years, Letterman surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in 2013. That same year, Late Night and Late Show were ranked at #41 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.In 2014, Letterman announced his retirement and the final episode of Late Show aired on May 20, 2015. After Letterman's final Late Show, instead of airing reruns of the show or having guest host episodes of Late Show, CBS opted to put the show on hiatus in between Letterman and Colbert and instead aired reruns of scripted dramas in the 11:35 pm time slot over the summer with the branding CBS Summer Showcase. The show was then succeeded by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, hosted by Stephen Colbert, which premiered on September 8, 2015.

Let's Play Post Office

Let's Play Post Office was an American game show which aired on NBC from September 27, 1965 to July 1, 1966. Don Morrow was the host, with Bill Wendell and Wayne Howell as announcers. Paul Taubman, who had previously worked with Morrow on Camouflage, provided music.

The series aired at 12:30 PM Eastern and was the second game show by Merv Griffin Productions; the first was Jeopardy!, which had premiered on NBC eighteen months earlier (and in fact had moved to 12:00 Noon on the day Post Office debuted, becoming the show's lead-in throughout its run). The show was created by Louise Adamo.

March 22

March 22 is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 284 days remain until the end of the year.

The David Letterman Show

The David Letterman Show is a short-lived morning talk show on NBC, hosted by David Letterman. It ran from June 23 to October 24, 1980. Originally, the series lasted 90 minutes, then 60 minutes from August 4 onward.

The Ernie Kovacs Show

The Ernie Kovacs Show was an American comedy show hosted by comedian Ernie Kovacs, first shown in Philadelphia during the early 1950s, then nationally. The show appeared in many versions and formats, including daytime, prime-time, late-night, talk show, comedy, and as a summer replacement series.

The Ernie Kovacs Show was one of only six TV shows broadcast on all four U.S. television networks during the Golden Age of Television, the others being The Original Amateur Hour, Pantomime Quiz, Down You Go, The Arthur Murray Party, and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

The Late Show (franchise)

The Late Show is an American late-night talk show franchise on CBS. It first aired in August 1993 with host David Letterman, who previously hosted Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1993. Letterman's iteration of the program ran until his retirement on May 20, 2015. Comedian Stephen Colbert, best known for his roles on Comedy Central programs The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, assumed hosting duties in September. The show originates from the Ed Sullivan Theater in the Theater District of Manhattan, New York, and airs live to tape in most U.S. markets at 11:35 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 10:35 in the Central and Mountain time zones.

The Strawhatters

The Strawhatters was an American television summer variety show that aired on the national DuMont network.


Tic-Tac-Dough is an American television game show based on the paper-and-pencil game of tic-tac-toe. Contestants answer questions in various categories to put up their respective symbol, X or O, on the board. Three versions were produced: the initial 1956–59 run on NBC, a 1978–86 run initially on CBS and then in syndication, and a syndicated run in 1990. The show was produced by Barry & Enright Productions.

Jack Barry, the co-producer, was the original host of the 1950s version, followed by Gene Rayburn and then Bill Wendell, with Jay Jackson and Win Elliot hosting prime time adaptations as well. Wink Martindale hosted the network and syndicated version beginning in 1978, but left the program to host and co-produce Headline Chasers and was replaced by Jim Caldwell who hosted during the 1985–86 season. Patrick Wayne hosted the 1990 version.

Tonight Starring Steve Allen

Tonight Starring Steve Allen is an American talk show hosted by Steve Allen. It was the first version of what eventually became known as The Tonight Show. Tonight was the first late-night talk show, as well as the first late night television series of any time to achieve long-term success. Allen's run as host of the show lasted for two and a half seasons, beginning in fall 1954 and ending with Allen's departure in January 1957.

During its run it originated from the Hudson Theatre in New York City.

Wayne Howell

Disambiguation: For the cult leader see Vernon Wayne Howell.Wayne Howell Chappelle (February 16, 1921, Lexington, Kentucky – July 8, 1993, Pompano Beach, Florida), known professionally as Wayne Howell, was a voice-over announcer for the NBC television and radio networks from 1947 through 1986. He was one member of a core group of New York-based announcers including Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Jerry Damon, Arthur Gary, Vic Roby, Mel Brandt and Howard Reig who handled not only introducing and closing programs, but also teasers and promotions for the network's shows.

Howell's radio announcing credits included The Martin and Lewis Show, a 1950s version of The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, The NBC Radio Theatre, and Monitor. Among the television programs he announced on were Broadway Open House, Music Bingo, Dotto, Say When!!, Match Game, Concentration, Missing Links and Jackpot!. From 1966 to 1985, he was announcer for the Miss America Pageant. Howell presumably provided voice-overs for numerous other NBC programs during his tenure, often as a substitute for the show's regular announcer. From 1980-1982 he introduced NBC's regional College Basketball opening. He would open with this...."NBC Sports in association with TVS presents the best college basketball. On the various conference game of the week."

Among his many assignments for NBC, Howell also appeared regularly as a personality on NBC's New York flagship radio station, WNBC (AM), from the 1940s through the mid-1960s. He also was the last voice on WNWS, an all-news station that ran on NBC's FM owned-and-operated station in 1976, before the station switched to an adult contemporary format.

From 1974 through 1982 Howell was married to Donna Marie Gillin, a New York City socialite. They lived in midtown Manhattan until 1982. They were divorced in 1983.

Following his retirement from NBC, Howell moved to Broward County, Florida. He died in Pompano Beach at age 72.

Television hosting
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