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Article for the week of 9/10/08

In memory of Don LaFontaine
By, Cozmic

Don LaFontaine, the move-voice guy, died on September 1st, 68 years old. LaFontaine was most famous for his very special voice when talking for movie trailers, parodied with hilarious results by comedian Pablo Francisco and on a lot of occasions by LaFontaine himself, who had enough sense of humor to allow himself to dramatically enhance the severity and importance of pretty much anything on things like the Tonight Show, with Jay Leno, which is where I first saw the face behind that great movietrailer voice.
LaFontaine was born on August 26th in Duluth, Minnesota and, after a stint in the army, went on to work as a recording engineer on the radio. This then lead to LaFontaine doing radio spots for Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove, ultimately leading to LaFontaine starting a company that only worked with advertising movies, which, ultimately, lead to LaFontaine doing voiceover work, something he would do for the rest of his life. In his career he managd to record the voiceover for over five thousand movie trailers and somewhere in between like a million and a bajillion commercials, among other appearances.
Don LaFontaine is survived by his wife, singer and actress Nita Whitaker and his children Christine, Elyse and Skye.
What this death means to the already should-be-dead movie-business is anyone's guess. Mine is for a lot more of those black screens with just a bit of text on them, since nobody will be able to say “excitement” or “in a world of..” quite as cool as LaFontaine, and most people will be smart enough not to try. It is possible we might see some new ideas for trailers, since nothing will happen with the rest of Hollywood, but I highly doubt it. LaFontaine's death is going to be a curse for Hollywood, something few good things, if any, will come from.
I'd like to say it is the end of an era, etcetera, and it is a tragic death for sure, but the world moves on (and Hollywood, seemingly, does not), and finds new ways. These are ways without a great trailer-voice, but such has always been the way of life.

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