Thanks to Jason who gave me this link a while back but took me a while to catch up on emails.
In the mid 1990s, the Lorraine Nelson was featured in a The Wall Street Journal Report (that syndicated weekend show) on the subject of voice prompts. (Don’t let the cheesy visual effects in the intro mistake you from the 1980s!)
This video came from her own profile on YouTube, but I’d suspect this was recorded in the mid 90s. In the shortened video, the report stated that she worked for AT&T and a decade before, came up with the idea for the voice of AUDIX. (So with that, it would indicate AUDIX was released sometime between 1986 to 1987 – there is no official record of a specific date or year when the system actually came out to market in 2015.)
Nelson came up with a vision of being the “nicest secretary” for others to hear and provided all the voice prompts for AUDIX (and later Merlin Mail, Merlin [Magix] Messaging, and Partner Messaging.) All of her voiceovers had “a smile” to them.
Years gone by, she lives in Connecticut, and according to list-serves a few years back she does the announcing for the Connecticut Lottery, and 7 years ago she mimicked an AUDIX like prompt for a promo at CNBC when they pre-empted Larry Kudlow’s show during the 2008 Bejing Olympics. The promo ended almost like an AUDIX with the signature “Please Wait.”
While you can still hear her in other places, Avaya seems to be doing what Nelson didn’t want the voice to be. Again I’ve read comments in the list-serve in the past, and there was an indication that her voice was being mimicked with a synthesizer instead of finding her number (or find her profile on YouTube) so she could provide new prompts.
If you ever heard of IP Office’s voice mail system, one would suspect that was roboticily produced. Unless some disease hit Nelson, I can’t get why it’s so robotic!