While our daily lives are filled with voices and information, we don’t always know where they come from. Here are eight voices behind famous lines that get stuck in your head.
Don Pardo: Saturday Night Live
One of the most iconic voices in North American television, Don Pardo, passed away August 19. You may be asking “Who?” and that’s understandable. But if you were ever a fan of late night TV, you would know Pardo as the voice of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. A 60-year veteran of commercials, news casts, and game shows, Pardo bellowed “It’s Saturday Night Live!” followed by announcing the cast and guest hosts on every episode of SNL from 1975 until May of this year. He was 96.
Don LaFontaine: “In a world…” movie trailers
Don LaFontaine’s contribution to the movie world is almost as important as movie stars themselves. If your movie’s trailer started with the iconic line “In a world…” chances are it was LaFontaine saying the words, and it was going to be a blockbuster. Known as “Thunder Throat,” Fontaine was the voice behind over 5,000 trailers, and hundreds of thousands of commercials. He passed away in 2008 at 68, and movie trailers haven’t been the same since.
Susan Bennett: Siri
If you have an iPhone, chances are you’ve tried to get Siri, the phone’s “intelligent personal assistant,” to help you out with something, like what the weather will be like, or what time a movie is playing. And chances are she’ll answer, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that at the moment.” Nevertheless, the voice you are hearing (if you’re using the default, American option) isn’t that of a computer, but voice talent Susan Bennet.
Jeff Bridges: Duracell and Hyundai commercials
Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges has been a mainstay in American cinema for decades. On the side, Bridges has also been the voice for Duracell (“trusted everywhere”), and Hyundai. In 2010, after being the exclusive voice for the car company for three years, he had to be replaced in their ads for that year’s Oscars, as he was up for an award himself. A last minute scramble resulted in the likes of Kim Basinger, Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, and Martin Sheen lending their voices.
Sam Elliott: Dodge Ram, Coors commercials
If you’re going to get someone to promote your Ram Heavy Duty truck, you’re going to want to get a heavy duty actor. Sam Elliott has made a career as a tough guy, most notably being one of the only actors to keep the Western genre on the big and small screens. He has been the calm, cold voice behind many ad campaigns, including Dodge Ram, Coors, and was the voice of Smokey the Bear.
Hank Azaria: More than 70 voices on The Simpsons
Even if you’ve only watched The Simpsons once in your life, you’ve heard Hank Azaria’s voice many times. The actor has voiced over 70 characters on the show, including regulars Moe Szylak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou and Carl, Cletus, Kirk van Houten, and many more.
James Earl Jones: Darth Vader, CNN, Mufasa
An accomplished actor in his own right by 1977, James Earl Jones became a superstar when he voiced the infamous Darth Vader in Star Wars, although few knew what he looked like at the time. In fact, Jones felt his contribution as the voice of the baddie was more special effects than acting, and refused to be credited for his performance. By the third film, he acquiesced, as it was clear his voice was a huge part of the story. Oh yeah, he was also the voice for many of CNN’s taglines, and voiced Mufasa in The Lion King.
Michael Cera: Brother Bear
You might know Michael Cera for his roles in movies such as Superbad, This is the End, and Youth in Revolt, along with playing the awkward George Michael on TV’s Arrested Development. If you have kids, however, you might be surprised to know that Cera got his start voicing Brother Bear on the show The Berenstain Bears.