“I never thought of it a great voice,” says Hal Douglas, who happens to be the owner of one of the most recognizable voices of all time.

Filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski sat down with Hal Douglas to discuss his work, techniques, and the current state of his voice in the all too short nine-minute documentary which leaves the viewer wanting to hear him describe more about his life and career.

Douglas was born in Stamford, Connecticut and served briefly as a pilot in World War II. When he returned, he attended the University of Miami to study radio and theatre. He began his voice-over career in radio in the 1950s and went on to become a producer for several prominent advertising agencies in New York City. He finally moved into doing voice-overs for commercials, promos, and trailers by the early 1970s, and continued doing so into the late 2000s.

Over his expansive career his voice has been heard in thousands of movie trailers and commercials and is he is well known as the promo voice for ABC, ABC Family, A&E, The History Channel, CBS News, NBC Sprots, and The WB.  He has recorded so many trailers through the years that they are often mistaken for Don LaFontaine’s work. Because many of his movie trailers began with the words “In a world,” there is controversy over whether his voice immortalized those words or Don LaFontaine, who laid claimed to the famous catchphrase.

As with most voice-over artists, Douglas demonstrated good camaraderie by lending his voice briefly to the hit voice-over skit 5 Men and a Limo, featuring Don LaFontaine, John Leader, Nick Tate, Al Chalk, and Mark Elliot. He can also be seen parodying himself in the popular trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s documentary Comedian.

Douglas lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Ruth and daughter Sarah. Sarah makes an appearance in the documentary short, titled A Great Voice, briefly discussing what it was like in her early years hearing her father’s voice on TV. Douglas, now 89, occasionally still does voice-over work from his home based studio.

View A Great Voice on YouTube

Source: BoingBoing/Wikipedia

2 COMMENTS

  1. […] Pen and Picture was fortunate to work with legendary voiceover artist Hal Douglas before his recent retirement. Renowned for his movie trailer voiceovers, Pen and Picture was honored to have Douglas provide narration for our novel trailer – All The Talk Is Dead by Michael Ebner.  Recorded between London sound studios and Hal Douglas’ base in USA, author Michael Ebner was even able to attend the recording. “It’s an art form and I’m a huge fan of Hal’s work over the years. It was a real honor to talk with him and have his narration with our book trailer” said the author. Inside Film Magazine reported on the trailer: “With the story being about a wannabe rockstar and wannabe filmmaker – it should come as no surprise that the novel has its own movie style trailer with narration by Hollywood voiceover legend, Hal Douglas.” The voiceover artist profession is back in the spotlight in film recently with release of Lake Bell’s new movie, In A World. Hal Douglas, Winner of 2011 Don LaFontaine Legacy Award, is also well known for sending himself up for the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s documentary, Comedian. This is also memorable for its “In a world” spoofing. More information on Lake Bell’s In A World and the work of Don LaFontaine and the voiceover artist journey can be found in this great article by Horatia Harrod for The Telegraph. Hal Douglas is also the subject of a new documentary titled A Great Voice. More information about this documentary can be found here in this article at Voice Over Times. […]

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