Page last updated at 09:06 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 10:06 UK

Film trailer voice-over king dies

Don LaFontaine spoke to the BBC in 2007

Don LaFontaine, who voiced more than 5,000 movie trailers, has died in Los Angeles aged 68.

During his 33-year career he provided the voice for films including The Terminator and Dr Strangelove.

He was best known for his catchphrase used on several trailers that began with the words "In a world where..."

LaFontaine died in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday from complications caused by an ongoing lung-related illness, his agent said.

LaFontaine insisted he never cared that no one knew his name or his face, though millions of film fans knew his voice.

In an interview last year, he explained the strategy behind his catchphrase.

"We have to very rapidly establish the world we are transporting them to," he said of his viewers.

"That's very easily done by saying, 'In a world where...violence rules' 'In a world where... men are slaves and women are the conquerors' - you very rapidly set the scene."

Don LaFontaine
Don LaFontaine voiced over 5,000 film trailers during his career

LaFontaine began working in the promotions industry in the early 1960s as an audio engineer producing radio adverts for movies.

When an announcer didn't show up for a recording session in 1965, LaFontaine voiced his first narration, a promo for the film Gunfighters of Casa Grande. The client, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, liked his performance.

LaFontaine remained active until recently, averaging seven to 10 voiceover sessions a day.

He worked from a home studio his wife nicknamed "The Hole," where his fax machine delivered scripts.

In addition to his trailer work LaFontaine voiced hundreds of thousands of TV and radio advertisements, including commercials for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford and Budweiser.

Based on contracts signed, he was perhaps the single busiest actor in the history of the Screen Actors Guild.

LaFontaine is survived by his wife, singer and actress Nita Whitaker, and three daughters.


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