Legendary Movie Trailer Voice-Over Guy, Hal Douglas, Dies at 89
We’ve all heard his distinctive voice and delivery. Some of us have tried to imitate him. Now we say so long to Hal Douglas, the voice-over artist who popularized the “In a world…” line. Most voice over guys never reach his level of notoriety but Hal Douglas became a part of pop culture. The voice heard in movie trailers for ‘Forrest Gump,’ ‘Meet the Parents’ and ‘Lethal Weapon’ was died silenced at the age of 89 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
While Douglas worked in obscurity most of his life, he was thrust into the spotlight in the 2000s as people began to take notice of his unique voice. He appeared as himself, parodying some of the more cliched movie trailer lines, in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedian’.
Despite his work in movies and TV, Douglas never lived in Hollywood and did all his work from a studio in New York City. After an early acting career failed, he tried his hand at voice-over work on radio and television doing commercials and lead-ins. He worked as the official voice for networks like The WB, A&E, Disney Channel and The History Channel. Though he became widely associated with the classic “in a world” line, a colleague, Don LaFontaine (who passed in 2008), actually claimed to have invented it.
Douglas retired from voice-over work two years as he battled cancer. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Douglas, and three children.