Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Don LaFontaine Died

Yes, this is totally unrelated to Israel, but it is very much related to a part of a culture that I have been raised in.  Don LaFontaine, the guy that does the voiceovers for all those movies, died a couple days ago at the age of 68.  They aren't saying what he died from.  I was always under the impression that he was a smoker, because honestly, how could you have that voice without smoking?  But, in the video below, he says that he got the voice overnight as a teenager.

I'm putting this up here because this man and his voice were overarching cultural givens for me in my life.  LaFontaine provided the voice for over 5,000 movies, TV promos, and advertisements, and so inevitably his prolificacy created an indelible mark on what we consider the "standard" for vocal accompaniment to visual entertainment.  And, at least for me, my attention has always been easily grasped by his natural emotivity.  

What really blows my mind is to think that a voice that provided so much emotion and tone for the greatest entertainment device ever, the movie, will be a guaranteed unknown for the next generation.  How long does a movie preview last?  When was the last time you watched the preview for Die Hard 1?  It stands to reason that my children will never know this element of my life.

I was always very aware of big studio movies that didn't use Don LaFontaine as their voiceover, and I invariably thought, "Why wouldn't they have him?  That's like not wearing a suit to an interview."  It just makes me sad to know that all the awesome movies to come will have a little bet less than perfect previews.  Well, in a world without the best voiceover actor known to man, we must strive to find the next best thing...


Lady-Light said...

I just read this and watched the video. I don't know why, but I am sitting here crying (I had barely heard of him).
I think it's because life is so finite. We are like fireflies, briefly glowing for a second and then winking out.

Israeli by Day said...

Very true. Of all the millions of years before and after us, here we are! Despite the seeming infinite nature of time, we have our very definite portion of it - and that's the most powerful commandment to live.

Anonymous said...

Although I heard about Don LaFontaine's death the other day on the news, I had no idea who this gentleman was until I watched your You Tube video. He will be sadly missed and I will probably never watch another preview without thinking about him. What a kindhearted man he seemed to be.