Remembering Don LaFontaine

Every movie fan has tried to impersonate the deep, gravelly, eerie voices used in trailers at one point or another. Though they didn’t often know, the trailer voice they were most often imitating belonged to Don LaFontaine. It was because of Don LaFontaine that the famous “In a world…” opening line that so often started movie trailers became so popular. The trailer voice of Don LaFontaine was copied for ages and even used in one of Gieco’s recent commercials. But Don LaFontaine has passed on to another “In a world…” as he was pronounced dead at age 68 on Monday, according to CNN.

Don LaFontaine was reported to have died from complications of pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung that builds up air in the pleural cavity. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

LaFontaine became “The King of Voiceovers” by recording narration for over 5,000 movie trailers, including The Godfather, Fatal Attraction, Terminator 2, The Elephant Man and The Simpsons Movie. LaFontaine was also a voice of thousands of TV and radio commercials for the likes of General Motors, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Pontiac and Ford.

In addition, LaFontaine was an in-show announcer for the Academy Awards and the Screen Actors Guild. In more of his spare time, LaFontaine used his voice for Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and in other work for all of the major networks and cable channels like TBS, TNT and the Carton Network.

LaFontaine did most of his voice-over work from his home studio in Los Angeles, when not being driven to other studios in limos. LaFontaine may have been one of the busiest actors in the history of SAG with his many 30 second or 2 ½ minute projects.

LaFontaine was born in Duluth, Minnesota, beginning as a recording engineer. He became a voice-actor in the mid 1960’s, which led to his long career in teasing movies. In trailers, the phrase “In a world…” was and is often used to tease the world and setting that a movie is made in- a phrase which LaFontaine coined and used as his catchphrase.


Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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