Wheel of Fortune fans have heard his voice thousands of times, but most people probably aren’t that familiar with Jim Thorton. So, the show is dropping some fun facts about its announcer on his birthday.
When Thorton isn’t calling out fabulous vacations and ridiculous prizes contestants may win on Wheel of Fortune, he’s keeping busy watching documentaries and his stock portfolio.
When he first became the voice of the show, he said it felt like “taking the million-dollar wedge to the bonus round and winning it.” He said he grew up idolizing people on radio and television and “got lucky” when his voice changed as a teenager. You can see his first interview with the show here. He took over the position after the sudden death of Charlie O’Donnell.
And there’s a good chance you’ve heard Thorton’s voice outside of Wheel of Fortune. He filled in at The Price is Right following the death of Rod Roddy in 2010, and has done extensive work in television shows, films, and video games.
‘Jeopardy’ Also Thanks Its Announcer For Years of Service
Jeopardy! also recently took time out of an episode to pay tribute to its announcer. The executive producer of the show and guest host Mike Richards, took a moment to give a shout-out to Johnny Gilbert. The game show’s Twitter account also took a moment to acknowledge the greatness of the living legend.
Gilbert has been working for the popular game show since 1984, helping to create an impressive live and onscreen product. His voice and Alex Trebek’s charm and intelligence made the show what it is today. Gilbert is 92 years old. It’s clear that he deserves to retire, but he is entirely committed to his work.
Much of the work announcers do goes unnoticed or underappreciated. After the on-air shout-out from Richards, several fans thanked the man with the golden voice on Twitter.
“When I was a Jeopardy contestant, Johnny Gilbert impressed the hell out of me by pronouncing the name of my hometown correctly on the first try. NOBODY does that. Johnny is the master,” one person wrote.
“I loved the shout-out to Johnny on tonight’s show!” someone else said, adding, “I’ve said here before that if he wants to, he could wake up and narrate a supermarket sweep just as easily as he would have a cup of morning coffee.”