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Come on Down!

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By Jennifer Lee
You may remember his voice from his disc-jockey days, when he hosted radio shows such as Hotline in Dallas, where his liberal positions on controversial topics often brought calls from Ku Klux Klan members. But most likely you’ll remember Robert Ray Roddy for his flashy silk suits and his enthusiastic call to excited contestants on the game show The Price Is Right to “Come on down!”

Rod Roddy, as he was known, was born in Fort Worth in 1937. After graduating from Texas Christian University, he started his career in radio, working at stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. He eventually moved on to television, where a four-season stint (1977-81) as narrator on the comedy series Soap opened the doors to becoming a game-show announcer. After time spent on Press Your Luck and Love Connection, he joined Bob Barker, the longtime host of The Price Is Right, as the show’s announcer.

When he joined the show in the mid-1980s, Rod started wearing flamboyant suits, which became his trademark. As the official ambassador of the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Rod visited the country several times a year and, while there, would select fabrics and have the suits custom made, often embellished with sequins and feathers.

In 2001, after a lifetime of nearly perfect health (he had a tonsillectomy at age eight), Rod was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer. While doctors prepped him for emergency surgery on September 11 of that year, he watched a live report of the 9/11 attacks unfold on television. His doctors denied his request to postpone the operation, since he was bleeding internally. His illness, combined with the shocking news, made a strong impact on him, and over the next two years, he became an advocate for early detection of colon cancer. However, cancer caught up with him in October 2003; he died at age 66. In a message to his fans on the CBS Web site, Rod Roddy cautioned, “Don’t ignore your health. Even if you think you’re healthy, don’t ignore it.”

Read 6795 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 13:06

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