Hal Douglas, Legend of Movie Trailer Narration, Dies at 89

By Joshua Axelrod
|  Friday, Mar 14, 2014  |  Updated 10:47 AM EDT
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Voice-Over Legend Hal Douglas Dies

Miramax

Hal Douglas, famed voiceover actor, died at age 89.

We're now -- cue the dramatic music -- "In A World..."  that is missing a voice familiar to millions of movie-goers.

Hal Douglas, 89, who narrated thousands of movie trailers, died last Friday at his home in Loudoun County. 

Douglas died from complications of pancreatic cancer, his daughter Sarah told the New York Times.

He was known for his dramatic narration style that included the oft-parodied and yet still-used phrase used to begin so many movie trailers: "In a world..." He became one of the top trailer voiceover artists in the business.

Douglas lent his vocal talents to a diverse array of trailers, ranging from broad comedies like "Meet the Parents" to action movies like "Lethal Weapon" to dramas like "Philadelphia." 

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

In addition to his film work, he also narrated championship documentaries for the Chicago Bulls in 1996 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997. 

One of his few on-camera roles was in Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary "Comedian," in which Douglas parodied his career by speaking only in trailer cliches.

He was born Hal Cone on Sept. 1, 1924 in Stamford, Conn., to Samuel and Miriam Levenson Cone, according to the New York Times, and spent most of his childhood with his grandparents.

Douglas was a trained pilot and spent three years in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he enrolled at the University of Miami, studying acting. 

He eventually moved to New York and changed his name to Douglas. His voice-over talents put him on the map and he began a long career narrating film trailers, commercials and documentaries. 

Douglas is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ruth Francis Douglas, sons Jeremy and Jon, and daughter Sarah, the Times reported. 

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