Unequivocally the most recognizable voice in voiceover history, Don LaFontaine, died Monday at age 68, from complications in the treatment of an ongoing illness. And the world of entertainment will never be the same again. Not a lot of people know Don, but the man is a legend in the entertainment industry. No modern moviegoer will not recognize that deep gravelly baritone, that accompanied trailers of our favorite movies throughout the years. Be it drama, comedy, action, horror, you name it, he’s done it. Every voiceover from here on will be doing their best Don LaFontaine impersonation, hoping to be knighted as his successor, but I have a feeling it just won’t be the same. Better beat a new path of their own, rather than try to match the peerless LaFontaine.
When I got home, I watched his YouTube videos and a strange sadness washed over me. I’ve always been a fan, but I thought only in a casual way. I guess I suddenly realized the scope of the loss. I had chills down my spine watching the man at work. Having done lots of voiceovers myself back in the 90’s, I know how easy it looks, but I also realized early on just how DIFFICULT it actually is. I have immense respect for those who do it so well. He earned about a million dollars a year on voiceovers alone. You may think that that was already his due, but I really think the entertainment world should’ve given more deserved ovations to not only an innovator, but a true legend.
It’s just sad that maybe people thought, “well…he was JUST the voiceover.” It’s not like he was the best director, or writer, or actor…he was JUST the voiceover. Maybe he was JUST that, but he was also the unqualified BEST at it. So allow me to give my little homage to one of the greatest, but also one of the most overlooked legends in Hollywood history…Don LaFontaine.
And here’s one of the rare TV ads he also appeared in. So cute.