Voice over acting is the art of providing voices for various projects including animated series, movie trailers and more. Voice acting is a very interesting field and can be pursued at various different acting schools, and there are even voice over coaches that can be hired. One of the most well known voice over artists was a man named Don LaFontaine. During his career, LaFontaine recorded more than 5,000 movie trailers as well as hundreds of thousands of video game trailers, television advertisements, and network promotions.
Don LaFontaine was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1940, he began his career in the United States Army where he worked as a recording engineer for the Army’s band and chorus. Even after he was discharged, LaFontaine worked as a recording engineer for National Recording Studios in New York City. In 1962 Don had the opportunity to work with Floyd Peterson, a producer. Peterson used many of LaFontaine’s ideas and they went into business together in 1963 producing advertising for the movie industry. LaFontaine is probably most well known for using the phrase “in a world where…” at the beginning of the movie trailers he recorded. Don claimed that his company came up with the famous phrase, as well as many other well known movie trailer phrases. It wasn’t until 1964 that Don became a voice actor which happened when he had to fill in for someone who was unavailable while working on the western film Gunfighters of Casa Grande, an MGM production.
LaFontaine was the voice of many thousands of movie trailers of all genres throughout his career. After starting his own company, Don went on to lend his voice to many projects other than movies, including narrating game shows, and even appearing in a television show. Because voice actors are largely behind the scenes of a movie or other production we don’t often think of them, but Don was one of the most famous voice actors to have ever lived, and during his career he earned the nicknames “The Voice of God,” and “Thunder Throat.” Sadly LaFontaine died on September 1, 2008 following complications from a blood clot in his lungs. Don’s final voice over was for the trailer of the movie Call + Response, a documentary for which Don donated his talent about the global slave trade. Don will likely always be remembered for his work in thousands of movie trailers and other voice over work.
Additional References About Don LaFontaine
- Voice Over Master – the official website of Don Lafontaine, featuring a bio, video clips, archives, and much more on the famous actor.
- Voice Overs – information on finding a voice over job, or hiring a voice over artist.
- LaFontaine Filmography – an overview of the career of LaFontaine from the Internet Movie Database.
- Voice of Trailers – an article from the NY Times on the death of LaFontaine.
- LaFontaine Facts – some interesting facts about Don from USA Today in question and answer format.
- An Interview with Don – an interview with Don about his work from 2005.
- Worst Oscar Omission – an article on how the Oscar’s should have honored the legendary voice actor at the 81st annual Academy Awards.
- Find a Grave – information on the memorial and burial spot of Don LaFontaine, who is in a Hollywood, California cemetery.