In a world where movie trailers were a key way to drum up excitement for an upcoming feature, there was but one king: Don LaFontaine. LaFontaine, whose voice is probably the one that pops into your head anytime you hear that classic "In a world . . . " beginning, recorded more than 5,000 voiceovers for commercials, video games, and — most notably — movie trailers over the course of his career. LaFontaine died Monday at age 68 from complications from a collapsed lung.
Among the companies that used LaFontaine as their official voice: Paramount, TBS, TNT, the Cartoon Network, and every broadcast TV network except the WB. Some of his best-known work was in trailers for The Godfather, Fatal Attraction, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and he'd more recently parodied himself in a Geico insurance commercial. He often said in interviews that his own favorite voiceover was the trailer for The Elephant Man, but he tried not to let his own opinions seep into his voiceovers. As he once told Swindle magazine:
My philosophy is that you have to really believe what you're reading, even if you think the film's a piece of junk. Even the worst picture is someone's favorite film, and that someone is the fan I am always talking to.
One thing's for sure: Movie trailers won't be the same without him. To see some of LaFontaine's work, including a Good Morning America interview, the Geico ad, and the Elephant Man trailer he loved, just read more.