You may not know the name, but you'll have heard the voice hundreds, if not thousands of times. Don LaFontaine, king of the movie voiceover, has died at the age of 68.
LaFontaine, who was known for habitually using the words "in a world" to preface his work on trailers, died at Cedar-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles of complications from a collapsed lung on Monday, according to ETonline. However that cause of death was not official at the time of this report.
LaFontaine's powerful tones appeared on more than 5,000 movie trailers and nearly 350,000 commercials. His website lists voiceovers for Terminator II: Judgement Day, Shrek, Minority Report and Dodgeball among his most famous work, and he had also worked as the in-house announcer at the Oscars and the Screen Actors Guild awards. He was credited as being the busiest ever member of the latter, based on the number of contracts signed in his working life.
LaFontaine had recently parodied himself on a series of US TV commercials for Geico. He was referred to as "that announcer guy from the movies" and stood in the background translating in LaFontaine-speak while a customer revealed her wonderful experience at the hands of the insurance company.
LaFontaine, who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, bgan his career as a recording engineer, but got his big break when he filled in for an absentee voice artist on the 1964 western Gunfighters of Casa Grande.
At his peak, he is said to have recorded more than 60 voiceovers in a week, and sometimes as many 35 in a single day. So busy was he that he employed a full-time chauffeur to ferry him from gig to gig. This, he said, saved him time as he didn't have to worry about parking in between jobs.
In latter years, with the advent of ISDN, LaFontaine recorded almost exclusively from a home studio at his estate in the Hollywood hills.
He is survived by his wife, the singer/actor Nita Whitaker and three children, Christine, Skye and Elyse.