There are individuals who impact the pop-culture landscape, even though we don't even know their names. Such was the fate of Don LaFontaine, whose deep, resounding voice became one of the most recognized in the world for film fans: For more than 30 years -- and according to his own Website, for more than 5,000 films -- the movie-trailer voiceover was his canvas. He became relatively famous in particular as "the 'in a world ...' guy," a nod to the catch-phrase he used to introduce a movie's subject as something mysterious, sensual or alien. It became such a familiar lead-in that it was memorably mocked in a trailer for the Jerry Seinfeld documentary Comedian by his colleague Hal Douglas; LaFontaine himself winked at the image in episodes of Family Guy.
LaFontaine died yesterday at the age of 68, as a result of complications from pneumothorax. Whatever world he's in now, there's another impressive voice. (Scott Renshaw)