‘Wheel of Fortune’: Who is Show’s Unseen Announcer Jim Thornton?

by Brandi Stillings
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Who’s the man behind the microphone for “Wheel of Fortune?” Radio and TV announcer Jim Thornton has been making the game show’s announcements for nearly a decade now. You may have heard him, as he has a widespread background in movies, TV, commercials, and even video games.

Thornton earned acclaim for his work as a news anchor on KNX, Los Angeles. He joined Pat Sajak and Vanna White, after longtime “Wheel of Fortune” announcer Charlie O’Donnell passed away in 2010.

Although, this wasn’t his first time working on a popular game show. Thornton was the first guest announcer on “The Price Is Right,” following Rod Roddy’s death in 2003. Eventually, the job was filled by Rich Fields.

Thornton was officially confirmed as the new “Wheel of Fortune” announcer on June 13, 2011, according to Fandom. His first permanent episode aired on the 29th season premiere.

During a 2016 segment for NBC’s “Today,” Al Roker met with “Wheel of Fortune” announcer Jim Thornton. Roker referred to him as “the unseen voice” when they conversed.

The news story continues with Thornton showing Roker what his job entails. He had Roker read from page one of the game show’s opening script. Roker got to make the famous announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, these are the stars of America’s game, Vanna White and Pat Sajak!”

He described the experience as a feeling of empowerment, while he took over Thornton’s duties for that short instance.

The Man Behind the Voice of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Announcer Jim Thornton has been the voice for “Wheel of Fortune” for quite some time. But, as mentioned, he’s also known for his voiceover work in video games, movies, and TV shows.

He’s done announcements for various animated productions, including “Celebrity Deathmatch” and “Monsters, Inc.”

Throughout his career, Thornton has received several broadcasting awards such as the Edward R. Murrow, Golden Mike, as well as an Emmy. Fandom also says that he lent his voice to the 2011 Oscar-Nominated Short Animated Film, “Let’s Pollute.”

His other voice works feature a diverse collection. They include: a theme park ride and “Disney on Ice” show, “The Soup,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Rugrats,” and “The Drew Carey Show.”

He has also done national TV and radio campaigns for Cricket Wireless, Sonic Drive-in, Domino’s Pizza, Bacardi, Budweiser, Kellogg’s Cereal, Intel and Kraft Lunchables. As for video games, he can be heard in “Boom Blox 2,” “Wall-E,” “Finding Nemo,” “Cars” and “Mafia II.”

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