'Laugh-In' announcer Gary Owens dead at 80

Story highlights

  • Owens, 80, died Thursday surrounded by relatives at his Los Angeles area home, his son says
  • "His body just kind of failed," his son says

(CNN)Gary Owens, the veteran voice-over artist with a rich baritone and a career that spanned various entertainment industries, has died.

He was 80.
Owens had been a diabetic since he was 8. He died Thursday surrounded by relatives at his Los Angeles area home, his son Chris Owens said.
    "His body just kind of failed. We are grateful that he died so peacefully with all of us present and that he was able to remain vital throughout his life. I would like people to remember how good my father was. It would be hard to count how many times people approached my brother and I to tell us how much they loved working with my dad."
    The veteran radio personality had been part of the entertainment industry since his teenage years, and will be remembered for his deep baritone and nuanced comedic timing.
    Gary Owens appears on 'People Now' in 1982
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    Owens was the announcer on "Laugh-In," a sketch show starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. His list of accolades was not limited to one particular entertainment industry.
    He hosted syndicated radio shows in a series of markets, and appeared on TV shows such as "Mad About You," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "Roseanne" and "That '70s Show."
    Owens was a busy man. He also wrote books and did commercial voice-overs and TV promo spots, his son said.
    His voice-over work included notable series such as "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Wonderful World of Disney."
    He also appeared in 3,000 cartoons either as a narrator or a superhero, including Space Ghost and Batman, according to his family.
    "He always said he was one of the luckiest men because ... he got to achieve everything he dreamed of," Chris Owens said.
    "He got to work with greats like Bob Hope, Neil Simon -- all the great people he admired, including Walt Disney. Even his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right next to Walt Disney's."
    In 1996, the South Dakota native was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Washington, and the National Television Hall of Fame five years after that.
    Owens is survived by his wife, Arleta Owens, and one other son, Scott Owens.