Damian Dovarganes/AP

Don LaFontaine, Movie Trailer Voiceover King, Dies

September 02, 2008 06:00 PM
by Cara McDonough
LaFontaine was best known for his deep voice and the frequently used movie trailer phrase, “In a world where …” He was 68.

A Well-Known Voice

His agent has confirmed that LaFontaine died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications from to a collapsed lung.

Known as the “King of Voiceovers,” LaFontaine was born in Duluth, Minn., where he served in the army as a recording engineer before moving to New York City to work in the promo industry in the 1960s, reports the Associated Press.

He voiced his first film promo, for the movie “Gunfighters of Casa Grande,” in 1965. The client, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, liked his performance, and he went on to record more than 5,000 trailers during a 33-year career.

He explained the theory behind his most famous catch phrase in an interview with the Associated Press last year: “We have to very rapidly establish the world we are transporting them to. That’s very easily done by saying, ‘In a world where … violence rules.’ ‘In a world where … men are slaves and women are the conquerors.’ You very rapidly set the scene.”

Dan Brown of The Huffington Post writes that LaFontaine’s indelible mark on the movie industry means that many will feel his loss: “He made an extraordinary mark on popular culture. Every time the lights dim in a movie theater, he will be missed.”

LaFontaine is survived by his wife, the singer and actress Nita Whitaker, and three daughters.

Video: LaFontaine’s work

Reference: LaFontaine’s Web site


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