King Of Voiceovers Don LaFontaine Dies

Voiceover artist Don LaFontaine died this week at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of an ongoing illness. He was 68. LaFontaine was the voice behind thousands of movie trailers. In 2006, he parodied himself in a Geico commercial.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

In a world where movie trailers can last as long as some movies but make their pitch in a single melodramatic sentence, this is the voice you hear.

(Soundbite of movie trailer)

Mr. DON LAFONTAINE (Voiceover Artist): Nothing in the world can compare to its power. The most awesome sight you will ever see may be your last.

MONTAGNE: In the movie industry, Don LaFontaine came to be known as the voice of God. His baritone did seem to come from nowhere and be everywhere, heard on ads, TV promos and some 5,000 trailers over three decades, from "Fatal Attraction" to "Ghostbusters" to "Batman Returns." LaFontaine's voice was instantly recognizable, and he had a sense of humor about it. Here, he parodies himself in a commercial for Geico car insurance.

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Man: So to help tell her story, we hired that announcer guy from the movies.

Unidentified Woman: When the storm hit, both our cars were totally under water.

Mr. LAFONTAINE: In a world where both of our cars were totally under water...

Unidentified Woman: We thought it would take forever to get some help.

Mr. LAFONTAINE: But a new wind was about to blow.

MONTAGNE: And it was this spoof that allowed those who'd long heard the iconic voice at last to see the face of voiceover artist Don LaFontaine. He was 68 when he died on Monday from complications of an ongoing illness, here in Los Angeles.

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Correction Sept. 5, 2008

The story mistakenly included an excerpt of a movie trailer recorded by voiceover artist Hal Douglas.

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