Don LaFontaine, The Voice Behind The Friday The 13th Film Trailers And Beyond
Don did voice-over work for the Paramount Friday The 13th films in the 1980's, which included Friday The 13th 1980 through to Friday The 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan. Those films were just the very tip of the iceberg as he was involved in promotional videos for an abundant amount of franchises such as Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Die Hard, Batman, Halloween, Ghostbusters and so many more. His voice is legendary to this day and will always be a part of the Friday The 13th franchise.
Unfortunately, Don passed away on September 1, 2008 due to complications from pneumothorax, a situation that causes a collapsed lung. Read below to find out more about his career, watch the trailer from Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter and visit Don's website to find out more about his career.
Big thanks to Twitter users @RSD999 and @ThrowbacksDE for identifying Don for this article!
Don LaFontaine's Early Career
After graduating from Duluth Central High School in 1958, Don enlisted in the United States Army, and worked as a recording engineer for the Army Band and Chorus. He continued to work as a recording engineer after discharge and began working at the National Recording Studios in New York City, where, in 1962, he had the opportunity to work with producer Floyd Peterson on radio spots for Dr. Strangelove. Peterson incorporated many of LaFontaine's ideas for the spots and, in 1963, they went into business together producing advertising exclusively for the movie industry. LaFontaine claimed that this company first came up with many of the famous movie trailer catch phrases, including his own future signature phrase, "in a world..."
While working on the 1964 western Gunfighters of Casa Grande, LaFontaine had to fill in for an unavailable voice actor in order to have something to present to MGM. After MGM bought the spots, LaFontaine began a career as a voiceover artist.
He became the head of Kaleidoscope Films Ltd., a movie trailer production company, before starting his own company, Don LaFontaine Associates, in 1976. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by Paramount to do their trailers, and was eventually promoted to vice president. He decided to get back into trailer work and left Paramount, moving to Los Angeles in 1981. LaFontaine was contacted by an agent who wanted to promote him for voiceover work. Thereafter, LaFontaine worked in voiceovers. At his peak, he voiced about 60 promotions a week, and sometimes as many as 35 in a single day. Once he established himself, most studios were willing to pay a high fee for his service. His income was reportedly in the millions.