Dear Straight Dope:
Whose voice is that on AOL telling subscribers "You've got mail," etc.?
This answer comes from our friend Jon, who knows about these things:
The voice is that of a guy by the name of Elwood Edwards, who does professional voice-overs. (Presumably he was doing these before becoming anonymously famous, but since his identity has become public, he’s apparently getting quite a bit of work.)
Back in the old days, before AOL released version 1.0 of their software, Edwards – a friend of an AOL employee – recorded the “Welcome,” “File’s Done,” “Goodbye,” and the grammatically inadequate “You’ve Got Mail” sounds for the company.
Edwards remained mostly unknown until Wired Magazine – in their forum on AOL – revealed his identity in 1995, as well as providing users several gag sounds, recorded by Edwards, which they could use to replace the familiar voiceovers. News reports announcing AOL’s celebrity “Welcome” promotion early this year further publicized Edwards’ contribution to American pop culture… such as it is.
Send questions to Cecil via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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