In a world where filmmakers have to sell their visions in two-minute trailers, only a few people can compel millions to buy tickets with just the sound of their voice. Famed voiceover artist Hal Douglas was one of them, but he died on Friday, March 7, at age 89, the New York Times reports.
Douglas — who narrated trailers for movies including Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Coneheads, Men in Black 2, and Meet the Parents, as well as ads for TV shows such as 7th Heaven — passed away at his home in Lovettsville, Va. The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, his daughter Sarah told the Times.
Douglas, along with fellow voiceover talents Don LaFontaine and Don Morrow, was among the most prolific narrators in the industry. He was even cast as an on-camera voiceover artist in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s 2002 documentary, Comedian, which showed him poking fun at the usual trailer cliches — for example, “in a world” and “in a time.” (In a World was also the name of actress Lake Bell’s acclaimed 2013 film about an aspiring female voiceover artist in the Hollywood voiceover community.)
“I’m not outstanding in any way,” the East Coast-based announcer told the Times in 2009. “It’s a craft that you learn, like making a good pair of shoes. And I just consider myself a good shoemaker.”
Douglas is survived by his daughter Sarah; his wife of 43 years, Ruth Francis Douglas; and two sons from a previous marriage, Jeremy and Jon.
Relive some of his most memorable movie moments in the video above.
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