Voice-over artist Hal Douglas, whose gravel-voiced baritone was heard narrating movie trailers, TV commercials and promos for nearly six decades, has died at the age of 89.
Douglas died of complications from pancreatic cancer last Friday at his home in Lovettsville, Va., his daughter Sarah told the New York Times.
Though his face and name were likely unfamiliar to the majority of movie fans, his famous throaty voice was unmistakable — for instance, while uttering classic movie-trailer catchphrases like "in a world..."
Considered in the top tier of voice-over talents, joining the late Don LaFontaine and Don Morrow, Douglas' credits include narrating trailers for such blockbusters as Forrest Gump, Men in Black, Meet the Parents, Con Air and Lethal Weapon.
"To say he was as good as it gets only begins to scratch the surface," Los Angeles-based voice consultant Marice Tobias told the Washington Post.
"He was a storyteller ... whether he was doing Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Terminator 16, he was able to step into that emotional world and convey to the audience what we call the Promise — the promise of the experience you’re going to have."
One of his rare onscreen roles was, fittingly, as a voice-over artist spoofing his craft in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary Comedian.
After serving in the Navy during the Second World War, the Connecticut-born Douglas studied acting. He supplemented his acting gigs with voice-over and announcer work, which eventually took over, and also spent time as a producer of commericals. His story was explored in the 2013 short film A Great Voice.
Douglas, who continued working until just a few years ago, is survived by his wife, their daughter, and two sons from a previous marriage.