I never met Don in person, but I had the opportunity to work with him on some TV spots, and I know his wife, Anita, well. (She’s from my hometown of Shreveport, LA, and my Dad wrote the arrangement she used of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to go to the Miss American paegant, as Miss Louisiana.)
By all accounts, everyone that knew Don called him a great guy. My cousin (who visited Don and Anita in California a bunch) tells me he was witty, with a wicked sense of humor, and not at all pompous or distant in the way that celebrities can be. I can attest personally to the fact that he was generous to a fault, and was willing to “put his money where his mouth is” when it comes to causes he would support.
It’s hard for me to think about Don in the past tense. While there are other voiceover artists that mimic’d Don’s style and delivery, there will never be another Don LaFontaine. My heart and prayers go out to Anita and their kids in what must be a very difficult time. Please keep them in your prayers.
In a world of advertising, where too few voiceover artists have the ability to create a distinctive sound, Don LaFontaine will be missed.