Mark Elliott, a veteran voiceover actor who voiced Disney trailers and promotions for decades, died Saturday in Los Angeles after two heart attacks and fighting lung cancer, according to Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter. He was 81.
Born John Harrison Frick Jr. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sept. 24, 1939, Elliott worked at various radio stations before moving to Los Angeles in 1970. In 1977, he moved into the voiceover business, where one of his first gigs was voicing the original radio spots for Star Wars.
Later that year, he got his first job with Disney voicing the trailer for the re-release of the 1950 film Cinderella. From there, Elliott went on to become the definitive voice for Disney’s promos, voicing trailers and commercials from the late 1970s to the early 2000s for such films as The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King, and Tarzan, among many, many others. He also narrated The Magical World of Disney anthology series, as well as trailers for a number of Muppet movies. (Many readers of a certain age will also recognize his voice for those, “And Now ... Our FEATURE PRESENTATION!” announcements on VHS tapes.)
In a 2015 interview with VO Buzz Weekly, Elliott said that working for Disney was “the defining moment in my life, not just my career but in my life. Because [what] it did is give me this identity which … continues to this day.” He added that being the voice of Disney was “a wonderful touchstone for my career. If that’s the identity that I carry with me for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In 2013, Elliott appeared as himself in Lake Bell's In a World, a comedy centering around Hollywood voiceover artists, which also featured fellow voice actor Joe Cipriano.
“Mark was a true gentleMAN -- getting to share all of our scenes in Lake Bell’s In a World was icing on the cake,” wrote Cipriano in a tribute to Elliott posted on Facebook. “I’m so sad about Mark’s passing.”