The View From Here

RIP Don LaFontaine

Michael Bonner

Don LaFontaine
1940 - 2008

It’s a fair bet that you don’t recognise the name. But the voice, surely, is as iconic to moviegoers as Harry Lime’s final act appearance in The Third Man, Omar Sharif’s entrance in Lawrence Of Arabia or the great white’s tail fin in Jaws.

Don LaFontaine was the unseen star of Hollywood; he was the guy who provided over 5,000 gravely voiceovers for movie trailers.

You know the kind of thing. Everything began with “In a world…” or “In a time…”, all delivered by LaFontaine in a deep, ominous baritone. No wonder, perhaps, he was nicknamed “The voice of God”.

A native of Bob Dylan's hometown, Duluth, Minnesota, Don started off doing voiceovers in 1964, for a Western, Gunfighters Of Casa Grande, and went on to do trailer spots for everything from Doctor Strangelove to Batman Returns.

Anyway, here’s some of his more memorable moments:

Fatal Attraction: “A look that led to an evening, a mistake he’d regret all his life…”

2001: A Space Odyssey: “Millions of years ago, before the human race existed, an adventure began…”

The Terminator: “Inhuman, relentless, unstoppable. He has only one purpose. Murder…”

Here's the trailer for Comedian, the documentary about Jerry Seinfeld’s return to stand-up, which is a great send-up of Don. And here he is, sending himself up in a TV commercial.

As the man himself might say: "In a world after Don, we shall not hear his like again..."


Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...