Tuesday, September 2, 2008
An Unknown Hollywood Legend Dies
Thanks to Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee for this video.
Most people know his voice but few knew his name or what he looked like. In recent years he was featured on camera in Geico commercials playing himself but even still he was an Unknown Hollywood Legend.
I was lucky enough to work with that legend Don LaFontaine, who was THE voice of movie trailers and I was always in awe of Don.
Don loved what he did and he loved sharing what he did. When I would direct Don I would just hand him a script, sit back and let him read. Don didn't need direction. Don directed himself. If he messed up or needed to do it a different way he knew before anyone else. He was at the top of his game.
When I worked with Don he had a limo that drove him from recording studio to recording studio to do reads that would take him 15 minutes or less in and out and he was booking $40,000 per day in voice over work. Don was always a gentleman. He would even take people along for the ride in his limo and let them see what his day was like, giving them tips along the way on how they could get into the voice over business.
I once asked Don what trailer he had made the most money doing and he told me that it wasn't one trailer but that it was one Steven Seagal movie. It might have been Hard To Kill. Anyway, Don said he did a couple teaser trailers, a couple regular trailers, the TV commercials, several trailers for the VHS home video release including sell through, rental and industry trailers and screeners, then he did TV commercials for the VHS, then he did TV promos for the pay-per-view, TV promos for the PAY TV version, TV promos for the regular TV version and then he did more and more promos for the DVD release and the TV commercials for the DVD release of the movie. Don LaFontaine told me that he made more money doing voice over work on that Steven Seagal movie then Steven Seagal made starring in the movie.
Don went on to tell me that when he walked up to Steven Seagal at an awards show and introduced himself to Steven, Steven Seagal had no idea who he was and just nodded politely and walked away.
Don loved telling that story and Don loved what he did for a living. Don will be missed for a long time to come.