Don Lafontaine, The King of Trailer Voiceovers, Dies

No longer will we hear that deep voice boom, “In a world where…” at the beginning of a movie trailer. Voiceover actor Don LaFontaine, whose catch phrase will live on, has died. He was 68.

LaFontaine died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from complications in the treatment of an ongoing illness, Vanessa Gilbert, his agent, told The Associated Press.

In his 33-year career, LaFontaine made more than 5,000 trailers and never cared if anyone knew his name or his face. Of course, he became a little more well known after appearing in Geico car insurance commercials, in which he played himself telling a customer, “In a world where both of our cars were totally under water…”

In an interview with AP last year, LaFontaine explained the strategy behind the phrase. “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.”

LaFontaine had worked in the promo industry as an audio engineer since the early 1960s but in an instant became a star with an announcer in 1965 didn’t show up for a recording session, a promo for the film Gunfighters of Casa Grande, leaving it up to a young LaFontaine to fill in. The rest, shall we say, is history.

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, AP reports.

LaFontaine is survived by his wife, the singer and actress Nita Whitaker, and three daughters. His funeral arrangements were pending.