Herlihy, Edward

Edward Joseph Herlihy (14 August 1909 – 30 January 1999) was a newsreel narrator and a long-time radio and television announcer for NBC. He was also the voice of Kraft Foods radio and TV commercials from the 1940s through the early 1980s. When he died in 1999, his obituary in The New York Times said he was “A Voice of Cheer and Cheese.”

Herlihy was elected to The Lambs in 1961. He served on the Lambs Council, and was the Boy from 1973-1986.

Educated at Boston College, graduating in 1932, he gained his first radio job in his home town, at Boston’s WLOE. When he was hired by NBC in 1935, he decamped for New York. Herlihy was immediately successful in network radio, at that time in its sharpest ascendancy. He was the announcer for many radio shows from the 1930s, to the 1950s, among them: America’s Town Meeting, The Big Show, The Falcon, Mr. District Attorney, and Just Plain Bill. He became the host of The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour on radio in 1948, remaining its announcer when the show went to television. He continued his success in the new medium: his early television credits included Sid Caesar’s hit Your Show of Shows and soap operas As the World Turns and All My Children. He was also the host of Recollections At 30, which was a special NBC Radio series created for the network’s 30th birthday.

When he worked for Sid Caesar in the 1950s, Herlihy met Woody Allen, then a fledgling writer. Allen was so impressed with Herlihy’s voice that he used him in several of his films in the 1980s, including Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, and Zelig. His other film credits included Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.

Herlihy made his last TV appearance on a PBS tribute N.Y. TV: By the People Who Made It in 1999.

The Herlihy family is one of the supporters of the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey; the foyer, with its oil portrait of Herlihy, is named in his memory.