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Issue Date: December 2009


Where Are They Now? Elwood Edwards


Edited by Jim Vickers; Katie Dragga, David Hansen, Christina Ipavec, Jason Lloyd, Jeannie Roberts, David Searls, Colleen Smitek, Wendy J. Sotos, Lynne Thompson, Shawn A. Turner & Matt Tullis
Elwood Edwards
The voice of “You’ve Got Mail!”

Twenty years ago, Elwood Edwards sat in his living room and recorded four simple phrases on a cassette recorder: “welcome,” “file’s done,” “goodbye” and, of course, “you’ve got mail” — arguably the most famous phrase of the 1990s. Edwards’ wife, Karen, worked for Quantum Computer Services at the time, and the company was looking for an actor to be the voice of its e-mail interface. Quantum, which eventually changed its name to America Online, liked Edwards’ tape so much the company made his voice the signature sound of its e-mail software in 1989. A North Carolina native, Edwards moved to Ohio in 1994 when he got a job at Akron’s Channel 23. Now living in Orrville, Ohio, the 60-year-old has been working as a news graphics and video editor for Channel 3 since 2002. He has even done voice-overs for other clients since the glory days of AOL — mostly parodies of the phrase that made his voice famous. “It never really went much past that,” he says. “I think I became typecast.”

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