Just got this from my friend Rick:
Voiceover Master Don LaFontaine died Monday afternoon 9/1/08 at 2:10 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 68. Don’s agent, Vanessa Gilbert, tells Entertainment Tonight that he passed away following complications from Pneumothorax, the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, the result of a collapsed lung. The official cause of death has not yet been released.
Over the past 25 years, LaFontaine cemented his position as the “King of Voice-overs.” Aside from being the preeminent voice in the movie trailer industry…Don has also been the voice of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, CBS, NBC ABC, Fox and UPN, in addition to TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network. By conservative estimates, he has voiced hundreds of thousands of television and radio spots, including commercials for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ford, Budweiser, McDonalds, Coke, and many other corporate sponsors. He recently parodied himself on a series of national television commercials for Geico. At last count, he has worked on nearly 5000 films, including appearances as the in-show announcer for the Screen Actors Guild and Academy Awards. Based on contracts signed, he has the distinction of being perhaps the single busiest actor in the history of SAG.
Don was an active supporter of AFTRA & SAG, giving of his time, opening his home, lending his experience & stature to the AFTRA Promo Announcers Caucus, as well as generously giving his advice & help to his fellow voice-over artists, in addition to the many causes & friends he helped over the years.
Don is survived by his wife Singer/Actress Nita Whitaker, and three children, Christine, Skye and Elyse.
Don was the deep throated guy on the GEICO commercials and the voice of nearly everything.
An earlier email from Don himself was ominous, because the condition that killed him was probably brought on by a medical error.
This required an exploratory surgery called a Media Stenoscopy, which was performed At Cedars Sinai Hospital in late November of ’07. The biopsy ultimately proved negative for any tumor, but there was a spot on the lung that still needed to be checked. Unfortunately, sometime during the operation, one of my lungs was nicked, and I developed Pneumothorax, which basically means that the lung collapsed, releasing all the air into my upper body, causing a condition called Subcutaneous Emphysema –
Which blew me up like a balloon from the ribs up to my eyebrows