By RYAN PEARSON, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES – Rod Roddy, the flamboyantly 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 66.
Roddy, who suffered from colon and breast cancer (news – web sites), 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 tried to work as long as he could, said Bob Barker, host of “The Price is Right.” Roddy had been with the game show for 17 years.
“The courage he showed during those difficult times was an inspiration to us all,” Barker said in a statement Monday.
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” (1981-85) and “Press Your Luck” (1983-86), but “The Price is Right” earned him his greatest fame. “The Price is Right” remains one of television’s most popular game shows, and Roddy, with his flashy 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, who taped his last show about two months ago, had colon cancer surgery on Sept. 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 was single. The only family member he talked about was his mother, who died several years ago, Pitts said.
Private funeral services will be held in Texas, with a memorial service planned in Los Angeles in several weeks, CBS said.