Chances are you don't recognize his face, but you definitely know his voice.
It is the sound of Saturday matinees. Of action films. Heart-wrenching dramas. And slapstick comedies. The promise of another world.
The sad news arrived today that Hal Douglas, one of Hollywood's most prolific voiceover artists, died last Friday at his home in Lottesville, Virginia.
The 89-year-old legend, who continued to work steadily until just two years ago, succumbed to pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Francis Douglas; his daughter, Sarah; and two sons, Jeremy and Jon.
Douglas was one of the most recognizable voices in the industry for decades, with a rough-and-low baritone so deep, it evoked the voice of god — or at least someone of supreme authority.
He voiced literally thousands of coming-attraction promos over the course of his career, and his voice can be heard on trailers for "Philadelphia," "Coneheads," "Forrest Gump," "Waterworld," "Lethal Weapon," "Con Air," "Men in Black," "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," and "Meet the Parents," to name but a few.
Hear Douglas at the 1:00 mark:
Douglas also popularized the iconic — now clichéd — movie trailer intro, "In a world…," we've all heard umpteen times (and also inspired the title of last year's indie hit about voiceover acting, starring Lake Bell).
Even though in the 2013 short film "A Great Voice," Hal described his sound as "throaty, chesty, a voice in need of clearing" and admitted he "never thought of it as a great voice," we would beg to differ. Because in a world without Dougals, one thing is certain: Movie trailers will never be the same again.
Hear Douglas at the 1:05 mark:
Douglas parodies himself in the trailer for "Comedian" starring Jerry Seinfeld:
Douglas's memorable voice can be heard in the 'Water World' trailer:
At 2:20-in, Douglas can be heard in the "Forrest Gump" trailer: