Earth as seen from space
When it feels like the world has stopped turning, we must be reminded that it has not, and that we must continue to live, charge ahead and embrace the future while honoring the past.
As we have been told by someone far greater than any of us, we will not be left as orphans, but instead be guided and kept safe from harm to do further good for the glory of God.

This is one of the most difficult articles I have ever had to write from a personal stand point and I thank you on behalf of Don LaFontaine’s family, his friends and colleagues for the overwhelmingly beautiful thoughts and prayers offered here on this blog for Don over the years in times of great joy, celebration, in times of need, and lastly in mourning, remembrance and tribute. The question that we face now is where do we go from here?
With faith and trust, we can go far, and we will.

Where Do We Go From Here?

What could anyone write that could follow such tribute? What topic could possibly be appropriate? I’ve been struggling with this now for quite some time and it’s become clear to me that we need to allow ourselves to have strength in the midst of sorrow, to bring peace where there is pain, to spread hope where there is despair.

We must now set a course toward a future in a world where there is no Don LaFontaine, but before we do so, we will honor him, support those in need and speak of him with a smile in our eyes and hearts though tears may still fall. To do this would be a great honor to Don LaFontaine and his memory.

Tomorrow I will write about something different and I hope the ideas that flow will be an inspiration to you and keep us moving through this time of brokenness, seeing us through the end of an era. This post has been updated today (September 4, 2008) to include words from a dear friend, Joan Baker, narrating a tribute to Don LaFontaine:

Best wishes,
© Prokhorov


  1. Steph:
    We will do as you suggested…tomorrow you’ll write a new blog post, I’ll record some commercials, the postman will deliver mail…we will keep keepin’ on.
    We’ve all been witness to a nice guy with great talent who was a leader in our industry. We respected Don in life and we have respected his memory following his death.
    We pause, certainly. But we do not stop.
    Not one of us is irreplaceable, except maybe in the hearts and minds of those closest to us and even then, after a time, life does go on for them too…we should hope.
    So too will our daily lives with Don’s death.
    And when our time ends here, we hope we will have lived a life that will give those left behind a reason to offer a respectful pause. Then they too must go on.
    It’s ok to be a bit confused, a bit stunned, a bit unsure with Don’s passing. Albeit more slowly for some than for others, it’s also ok to move on.
    Best always,
    – Peter

  2. Yes, we have to move on. Don will always be with us as we go forward. You know, I signed up for the recent giveway just a few minutes before writing this and thought after I did it that maybe I should have skipped this weeks contest because of our loss. I guess I came to the conclusion as well that we must move forward. We can always look back, but forward we must go.
    One final time: We’ll miss you DLF.

  3. Dear Stephanie,
    Thanks for this. My eyes continue to well up but on I must go, challenging as it may be. As you mentioned, there are so many people writing many things about Don… allllll of them loving and kind. It is awesome to witness and what an opportunity to take in and share that loving energy to propel us forward in our own lives.
    For nearly 18 years, I had the distinct pleasure and honor to direct Don (if there was such a thing) on a regular, if not daily, basis. Of the nearly 50,000 tv promos & trailers I have been involved with, I’m sure most of them were with Don. Every session was a laugh, never an attitude or ill word. Just Don being the class act that he was. I’m sure Don is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and nodding in humility and saying “thank you… now get on with it”. And that we will, better for having heard and seen this miraculous human being.
    Blessings to all and to the LaFontaine family.
    David Alden

  4. It’s so interesting and fitting that this man has had such an affect on us all. Although I never met him and certainly never worked with him, his passing has truly moved me as it has so many others. I have found myself thinking of him and his family often over the past several weeks and certainly the past several days.
    I think much of this feeling of closeness comes from our online community, comradery, and friendship. Never before in this business have so many of us been able to communicate on a daily basis with mentors, peers, and students. We truly feel a part of the big picture, the whole. We’re not just voice over artists in one city, small town, or even out in the countryside working from home – a concept unfathomable in this business just a few years ago! Because of the internet, we’ve been able to join together in this and many other forums to share our knowledge, joys and sorrows. I’m amazed by it and truly grateful for it every day.
    Because we all have such access to our peers as well as those we aspire to emulate, it seems that anything is possible. Our dreams are within reach.
    Thank you to Don for his generosity of spirit and candor in sharing his knowledge, experience, and humor. We are grateful for his monolithic talent and soul.
    May we all infuse every project we work on completely with our own talent, spirit, and humor in his honor and in ours.

  5. Beautifully written, Steph. It is a difficult time losing Don. In a world of voice actors he was royalty. He was proudly our King.
    I’d like to tell you a quick story of how I met Don last year. I had the pleasure to meet him, I believe, at the same evening you did in the same receiving line. When it was mentioned that night he would be greeting VO friends and taking photos after the interview. The line of 200 or so people was immediately formed. My wife who attended the same conference questioned why I didn’t get in the line as well. I told her I really felt bad for Don and I didn’t want to take any more of his time than he was already gracious enough to give. I thought it impossible he would spend as much time with every person in line before he would eventually say “Okay, enough”. But to my surprise my measuring stick of kindness was much different than Don’s. As the line got shorter my wife kept prodding me to go and meet my idol. I held off still feeling guilty for all of the time we had taken from him but he didn’t seem to be rushing any of his conversations with anyone who made it to the front of the line. So setting guilt aside, I sheepishly snuck to the rear of the line and hoped that he wouldn’t call it off just before my turn. It seemed to take forever but I eventually made it to the front of the line myself and I had to say to him how impressed I was of his patience. I think he was surprised at my comment and he just said how happy he was to meet so many of his peers. I think one of the great things about Don was just that. We saw him as royalty and he saw us as his peers. What a beautiful combination of great talent and great humility. Sadly as mesmerized as I was during that brief few minutes with my idol I have forgotten much of what we talked about. But the impression he left was more powerful than any words could be spoken. I was one of the lucky ones. As I have heard recently “To have known him is to have loved him” and also I have learned much from him in such a short but unforgettable time.
    Where do we go from here? I’m sure Don would want us to go on, just like we did when we had him with us. He loved his VO community and he really showed us that wonderful night last year. If we could just emulate a hint more of Don LaFontaine in our own lives, the world would be a much more beautiful place!
    Greg Hamilton

  6. I hope that someone will put together a special CD in memory of Don LaFontaine titled “The best of Don LaFontaine.” Listening to him would be a good lesson, especially when so many voice seekers say that “This is a Don LaFontaine type.”
    Let me know if such a thing might be available now.
    Bud Sisson

  7. As I was reading a non-VO message board, a tribute thread posted immediately after Don’s passing was suddenly interrupted by a poster deriding him for “ruining movie trailers” (?), but for his political leanings, referencing a large donation to a major candidate.
    I recognized that those leanings were 180 degrees from mine, but I was angry at the poster for his juvenile attack — and made my feelings known with a few choice words. Everything I’ve ever read about Don, from those who knew him, told me that he was a generous man who couldn’t care less what someone else’s politics were.
    He spoke several times about the great fortune he’d received in life; he knew his success was bigger than him or his voice. He could so easily have sat back and refused to record phone messages and webpage intros for relative strangers. He knew that his considerable gifts were to be shared and not squandered, and that even sharing them in such small ways means a great deal to the recipient.
    We lost a giant, but we can all still stand on his shoulders.


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