Mark Elliott, Legendary Voiceover Artist Behind Disney Movie Trailers, Dead at 81
Mark Elliott, the legendary voiceover artist for Disney movie trailers and promotional material from the 1970s to the 2000s, has died. He was 81.
Fellow voiceover artist Charlie Van Dyke confirmed Elliott's death to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday night. According to Van Dyke, Elliott died on April 3 in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering two heart attacks. He was also battling lung cancer.
"He was one of a kind … and kind is a great word to describe him," Van Dyke told THR.
A rep for Elliott could not be reached by PEOPLE.
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Born on September 23, 1939 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Elliott (real name John Harrison Frick Jr.) began his career as a radio disc jockey at several local stations, including KPIG and KCRG. As a deejay, he used pseudonyms Sandy Shore, Buddy Harrison and Ed Mitchell.
Elliott's voiceover work began in 1977 with the trailer for Smokey and the Bandit. From there, he scored voiceover roles in George Lucas' Star Wars and The Goodbye Girl. All three films became huge blockbuster hits and catapulted Elliott to behind-the-scenes stardom.
"While we're working on [Smokey and the Bandit, the voiceover studio] came to me and they said, 'We got this director who's making us nuts, just driving us crazy,'" Elliott told VO Buzz Weekly back in 2015 of landing the Star Wars job. "'He can't decide how he wants to promote [his movie], if you'll work with us on spec when he makes his mind up on what he wants, we'll see that you get a big piece of the action.' "
"I said 'OK,'" Elliott added, "so we started working literally seven days a week trying to do it, and he couldn't decide whether he wanted a comedy, whether he wanted an adventure, whether he wanted it dark, whether he wanted it light, whether he wanted romance. He just couldn't decide."
After getting his start in the business in 1997, Elliott was then hired for his first Disney gig, doing voiceover work for the theatrical re-release of Cinderella. For the next three decades, he lent his voice to theatrical trailers, previews, bumpers and narration for The Magical World of Disney.
"[Being the voice of Disney] is a wonderful touchstone for my career," Elliott told VO Buzz Weekly. "If that's the identity that I carry with me for the rest of my life, I wouldn't have it any other way."
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Outside of Disney, Elliott did voiceovers for films in The Muppets franchise, the 1981 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, as well as promos for the series finale of M*A*S*H in 1983.
Elliott also briefly transitioned to working in front of the camera, playing himself in the 2013 Lake Bell comedy film In a World, which focused on the world of Hollywood voiceover artists. Fellow voice artists Marc Graue and Joe Cipriano also appeared in the film as themselves.