Don LaFontaine passed away yesterday from complications of a collapsed lung. He was 68. For those of you wondering who Don LaFontaine was…he was the voice behind thousands of movie trailers. He was the man who would say, “In a world…or…In a land far far away…” He voiced over 5,000 movies and over 350,000 commercials…one busy man, but certainly the most remembered voice over artist of my generation. So sad.
I had the pleasure of meeting Don and working with him once. It was my first ever real “day job” and they had me writing copy and directing voiceovers…little did I know that I would be in a booth with Don my first month of work. I had no idea what I was doing, it was one of those moments of “fake it ’till you make it,” and I did just that. I remember Don had phoned in his voiceover from his ISDN line in his home, and then for some reason he had to come in the office the following day because the client needed another read. I was so excited that the “voice” was coming in, this was my chance to really show my skills producing something noteworthy in the advertising world.
So there I was the next day waiting for Don in the lobby when our door gal announced that Don was here! Don had arrived dropped off by his chauffeur asking for me, meanwhile I was trembling trying to get the words out of my mouth that it was me he was looking for. I was so nervous that I could hardly speak. I was actually star-struck by a voice. So in the booth we went and Don read the copy 3 different ways and of course I told him amazing job every time because I was too nervous to even think about the words he was reading. I just had a big grin on my face like a psycho. I mean, what could I say, I had no idea how to direct this man, I was tempted to ask him how to do my job.
Don was at our office for a total of 15 minutes before he got back in his limo and drove off into the sunset with his chauffeur and his famous voice. Everyone at work praised what an amazing job I had done, but little did they know I was too star struck to say anything or even attempt to direct the man. He was just “that good.” R.I.P. Don.