Mark Elliott, Iconic Movie Trailer Voiceover Performer, Dead at 81

Mark Elliott, who served as the voiceover performer on dozens of Disney television promos, movie trailers, and home video introductions from the late 1970s to the 2000s, died Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 81. Elliott suffered two heart attacks, his friend and fellow voiceover artist Charlie Van Dyke told The Hollywood Reporter.

Elliott, who was born John Harrison Frick Jr. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began his career in radio and gained his professional name while working in San Francisco. He moved to Los Angeles in 1970, working at KHJ and KISS. In 1977, he began doing voiceover work for Hollywood. His voice could be heard on commercials and trailers for Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Goodbye Girl, three of the biggest movies of 1977, making him instantly in demand.

His association with Disney also started in 1977, when he was hired to voiceover a trailer for the re-release of Cinderella (1950). His work with Disney continued for decades. He narrated the anthology series The Magical World of Disney and his voice is forever linked to the words "and now our feature presentation" and "experience the magic." Elliott also did voiceover work for The Muppets movies' trailers.

One of the trailers Elliott was most proud of wasn't for Disney though. In 1981, he worked on the trailer for Chariots of Fire, which won the Best Picture Oscar. He also recorded the promo for the final episode of M*A*S*H. "Chariots of Fire, it was totally out of character for me," he said. "And the promo that I did that I am most proud of was for the last episode of M*A*S*H, which was a heart-tugging but still comedic sort of read."

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In a 2015 interview with VO Buzz Weekly, Elliott said his work in radio was invaluable for his career. "Radio is a great background because it gave you a sense of time," he said. "If you had seven seconds at the beginning of a song to talk it up, you learned to know what seven seconds were."

In 2015, Elliott was among the voiceover actors who appeared in Lake Bell's comedy In A World... as themselves. Joe Cipriano also appeared in the film, and he shared a loving tribute to Elliott on Sunday. The two became close friends after he met Elliott in 1980. "Mark was a true gentleMAN - Getting to share all of our scenes in Lake Bell’s In a World was [the] icing on the cake. I’m so sad about Mark’s passing," Cipriano wrote. "He was one of a kind … and kind is a great word to describe him," Van Dyke told THR.