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Frank Tavares, The Voice Of NPR For 30 Years, Has Died

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FRANK TAVARES: Support for NPR comes from NPR member stations and from Inada, maker of the DreamWave massage chair with body...

NOEL KING, HOST:

Frank Tavares was the announcer of NPR's funding credits.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For more than 30 years, he would tell listeners, sometimes several times an hour, who supported NPR programs. When he left the network in 2013, Frank told member station WCAI about growing up in Massachusetts with a different voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TAVARES: I grew up in New Bedford with that New Bedford accent - park the car in the Harvard Yard.

KING: He worked at his college radio station in the Midwest where it took him about a year to neutralize his accent.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TAVARES: Although if I have a beer or two or if I'm really tired, it does come back. And I still say idea-er (ph), like Dan, I have a good idea-er. And I don't understand why people look at me funny.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Tavares was also an author. When he was promoting his short story collection on WJCT, he said he never got tired of people recognizing him by his voice alone.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TAVARES: Often they cross the visual with the audio, and so they think they've seen me someplace before. And I'll often just say, do you listen to public radio? And if they say yes, I'll lean towards them and I'll say, support for NPR comes from NPR member - and it still astounds me after all these years, the positive reaction (laughter) that I get.

KING: And then in a segment on the NPR show Day to Day back in 2003, Tavares loaned his voice to scenes from movie history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TAVARES: Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you will understand that. Now, now...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here's looking at you, kid.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TAVARES: Here's looking at you, kid.

INSKEEP: A few months ago, Frank was diagnosed with ALS, and Frank Tavares died Monday in Florida, survived by his wife and two sons.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AS TIME GOES BY")

BILLIE HOLIDAY: (Singing) You must remember this.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: This story incorrectly says Frank Tavares had two sons. Tavares had three children.] Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: January 2, 2020 at 11:00 PM CST
This story incorrectly says Frank Tavares had two sons. Tavares had three children.