Here’s the life story of the iconic movie trailer voice-over guy, Don LaFontaine. Many people may not recognize his face or even his name, but LaFontaine’s voice became a staple of cinema through trailers and signature sayings like “in a world.” LaFontaine found his calling after spending time in the United States Army and working as a recording engineer for the Army Band and Chorus.

When his time with the Army came to an end, LaFontaine moved on to working at the National Recording Studios in New York. In 1962, LaFontaine was asked to work on radio spots for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. He worked with producer Floyd Peterson to make the spots, and many of his ideas were used. The following year, LaFontaine and Peterson went into business together to make movie advertising.


After his creativity with the spots was proven, his voice then started to spread thanks to LaFontaine’s work on the 1964 film Gunfighters of Casa Grande. He had to fill in as the voice-over guy for this film, and when MGM heard his booming voice, it sparked the beginning of LaFontaine’s career as the go-to trailer voiceover. He soon became the head of Kaleidoscope Films, but then started his own company in 1976, before later being hired by Paramount to be the voice of their trailers.

It was during this stretch of his life that LaFontaine became a staple of movie advertising. He lent his voice to the ads of major motion pictures like Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Batman Returns. His iconic voice allowed him to become the go-to voice in Hollywood. He reportedly earned millions of dollars every year for his services. That’s not to say it was easy: LaFontaine would sometimes voice up to 35 promotions in a single day when he was at the height of his powers.

Even though LaFontaine did more voiceover work than just on trailers, it’s still the work he was best known for. He appeared in a GEICO commercial in 2006, which labeled him as “that announcer guy from the movies.” This was a rare instance of LaFontaine’s name and face being put to the voice and was a life-changing experience. Tragically, LaFontaine passed away just two years later on September 1, 2008 after a complication from a pneumothorax. His final voice role came in Phineas and Ferb, where he said his “in a world” line one last time. LaFontaine’s creativity and voice changed the way movie trailers were made for decades, and the practice has mostly been shelved now.

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