The voice that made you want to see movies dies at 89

Grae Stafford Freelance Photographer
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You may not have known the man, but you certainly knew his voice.

Hal Douglas, who died at his home on Friday from complications stemming from pancreatic cancer, was the legendary voice-over artist whose words have accompanied some of the most memorable movie trailers of all time.

From light-hearted comedy to some of the most poignant movies of a generation, Douglas’s deep and instantly recognizable voice became synonymous with the movies.

Discussing his talent, Douglas said in 2013, “I never thought of it as a great voice.” He described it as “throaty, chesty, a voice in need of clearing” although he noted that it was “O.K. for a lot of things.”

Douglas was born in 1924 and before he became the voice of such movies as “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump” and “Lethal Weapon,” he was a Naval aviator in World War II. After the war, he studied acting at the University of Miami and took voice-over jobs while he was trying to make it as an actor.

Despite being such a recognizable voice, Douglas was modest about his talent. Speaking to The New York Times in 2009 he said “I’m not outstanding in any way. … It’s a craft that you learn, like making a good pair of shoes. And I just consider myself a good shoemaker.”

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