Hal Douglas Dies: Legendary Movie Trailer Voiceover Artist Was 89

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 02:49 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Hal Douglas, the movie voiceover artist known for starting trailers with "In a world ... ," died March 7 at age 89.

Douglas' daughter said he died at home in Lovettsville, Va., due to complications from pancreatic cancer, TMZ reported.

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"In a world" where movie voiceover artists often shape fans' expectations in trailers before the picture ever hits the big screen, Douglas' career ranked among Hollywood's legends. He voiced hundreds of movie trailers over his career, narrating previews of such movies as "Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump," and "Lethal Weapon."

Douglas appeared as himself in a trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary "Comedian," where he mocked his own trademark style.

The New York Times noted that Douglas was one of the most prolific voiceover artists in the movie industry, along with Don LaFontaine, who died in 2008, and Don Morrow, who is known for his voiceover in the "Titanic" trailer.

While Douglas' voice connected him to Hollywood, he never lived there, preferring to work from a New York studio.

"I'm not outstanding in any way," Douglas told The New York Times in a 2009 interview. "It's a craft that you learn, like making a good pair of shoes. And I just consider myself a good shoemaker."

Douglas's flexibility and range made him the ideal voiceover man for a wide range of movies, the Times wrote, from serious Oscar-winners like "Philadelphia" to farcical comedies likes "Coneheads" and "Meet the Parents."

He is survived by his wife Ruth, a daughter, and two sons from a previous marriage.

Fans and movie critics alike expressed their thoughts on social media.

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