In a world, far far away... And a time not long ago... "Thunder Throat" Don LaFontaine was Hollywood's undisputed champion of the voiceover. It's a fair bet that you don't recognize the name or even the face, but the voice is as iconic to moviegoers of the last 40-years as any image the big screen might have displayed.
Having appeared in promotional spots for more than 5,000 movies, LaFontaine, also known as "Thunder Throat", "King of Trailers" and "The Voice of God", died at the age of 68 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. At his creative peak, he is said to have recorded as many as 35 voiceovers â€“ for film trailers, television commercials and video games â€“ in a single day. He has been the announcer for the Oscars and the Screen Actors Guild awards and, based on the number of contracts signed, is the most employed actor in the guild's 75-year history.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota in August 1940, he claims that his voice broke mid-sentence when he was 13, and that he was too embarrassed to speak in school the following day. Soon, he was in demand with by friends who wanted to cut class and would ask him to call the school posing as their fathers. His voiceover career officially began in 1964, for a Western, Gunfighters Of Casa Grande, and he went on to do trailer spots for everything from Doctor Strangelove to Batman Returns.
Here are some of his more memorable moments, as culled by Uncut
2001: A Space Odyssey trailer ("Millions of years ago, before the human race existed, an adventure beganâ€¦")
The Terminator trailer ("Inhuman, relentless, unstoppable. He has only one purpose. Murderâ€¦")
Don appearing in the trailer for Comedian, the documentary about Jerry Seinfeld's return to stand-up
Don appearing in a GEICO Commercial
1940 - 2008