Hal Douglas, the voiceover artist known for his iconic narration in trailers for films including "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia," and "Lethal Weapon," died Friday at his home in Virginia. He was 89.
Douglas popularized the use of the phrase "In a world..." in his narration, becoming one of the most recognizable voices in film. He also frequently lent his vocals to TV commercials and series. Though his booming voice and go-to catchphrases were sometimes mocked as cliche, Douglas was widely respected in Hollywood, and even poked fun at himself in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary "Comedian."
Before he hit it big in his narration niche, Douglas trained as a pilot and spent three years in the Navy. He then studied acting at the University of Miami before moving to New York to pursue the craft further. Douglas picked up some extra cash doing radio and voiceover work, becoming a sought after talent, and his career was born.
Douglas remained humble about his unique gift, telling the New York Times in a 2009 interview that he was "not outstanding in any way."
"It's a craft that you learn, like making a good pair of shoes," he told the Times. "And I just consider myself a good shoemaker."
Douglas, who died of complications from pancreatic cancer, is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ruth, and three children.
[via: New York Times]