Don LaFontaine, the voiceover king whose "In a world ..." phrase on movie trailers was much copied -- and much parodied -- has died, according to media reports. He was 68.
LaFontaine died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, according to ETOnline, "Entertainment Tonight's" Web site. He died from complications from pneumothorax, a collapsed lung that causes air to build in the pleural cavity, his agent, Vanessa Gilbert, told "ET."
LaFontaine, who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, began as a voice actor in the mid-1960s while working as a recording engineer, according to his Web site. His strong, slightly gravelly voice was featured on trailers for thousands of films, including "The Godfather," "Fatal Attraction" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." For a time in the late '70s, LaFontaine was the official voice of Paramount Pictures.
His favorite work was one he did for the 1980 film "The Elephant Man," he said in interviews, but whether the film was Oscar-caliber or a bomb waiting to blow, he handled every assignment equally. Video Watch LaFontaine at work »
"My philosophy is that you have to really believe what you're reading, even if you think the film's a piece of junk," he told Swindle magazine. "Even the worst picture is someone's favorite film, and that someone is the fan I am always talking to." iReport: Share your thoughts on "the Voiceover King"
He also provided the voice for hundreds of thousands of commercials, for companies including General Motors, Ford, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and many others, according to his Web site. Slideshow: LaFontaine doing "Godfather II," "Friday the 13th" »
The good-humored LaFontaine was willing to poke fun at himself, particularly in a recent ad for Geico insurance, in which he gave dramatic flair to a woman's story about her car accident. He also voiced the trailer for "The Simpsons Movie," in which his descriptions were mimicked by commentary from the film's characters.