One of the most prolific announcers in voice-over, Hal Douglas, has passed away at the age of 89 after a two year struggle with pancreatic cancer.
A professional role model to many up-and-coming voice-over artists, he was in the company of a few select men, such as Don Morrow (voice of the famous Titanic movie trailer) and the late Don LaFontaine (known as “The Voice of God”), who made performing movie trailer voice-overs cool, and a thing to aspire too as Lake Bell depicted in her film “In a World…”
In 2011, Douglas was presented with the Don LaFontaine Legacy Award at the PromaxBDA Awards, which celebrates the best in marketing, design and creative content for the entertainment industry. On receiving the recognition he told Voice Over Times; “I feel truly honoured to have been chosen by my peers to receive this esteemed award.”
Douglas majored in Drama at the University of Miami and went on to work as a radio announcer in his early career. In the 60s, he became a producer for many top New York advertising firms and often recorded his own voice as the placeholder in spots the produced until a voice-over artist was cast.
The combination of his acting background with his work in advertising paid off in dividends as he moved full-time into voice-overs in the 70s.
Over his extensive career, Douglas recorded thousands of voice-overs for movies, commercials, and promos. He was the voice of ABC/ABC Family, A&E, The History Channel, CBS News, NBC Sprots, and The WB. His voice enticed moviegoers to go see such films as Con Air, Philadelphia, Meet the Parents, and Men in Black.
In a rare on-screen appearance, he is seen parodying himself in the popular movie trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s documentary Comedian. While Seinfeld’s documentary was a flop at the box office, the commercial went viral with over 700,000 hits (and counting).
In 2013, Douglas was interviewed in a short documentary titled “A Great Voice” by Filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski where his kindness, sensibility, and ironic sense of humour shined brightly as he is seen discussing his personal life and career in voice-overs.
Douglas died at his farm house in Lovettsville, North Virginia on March 7th, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ruth Francis Douglas, daughter Sara Douglas, and two sons from a previous marriage, Jeremy and Jon.
Hal Douglas will be missed dearly and remembered fondly by all those whose lives he touched with his booming announcers’ voice, and gentle spirit.