Mark Elliott, a DJ and voiceover artist known for his prolific work in Disney trailers and promotional material from 1977 to 2008, has passed away at the age of 81. The news of his passing was confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday by fellow voiceover artist Charlie Van Dyke. According to Van Dyke, Elliott died on Saturday, April 3rd in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering two heart attacks.
"He was one of a kind … and kind is a great word to describe him," Van Dyke said in a statement.
Born John Harrison Frick Jr. on September 24, 1939 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Elliott started his career as a disc jockey and deejay for multiple stations, both under his own name and under the pseudonyms of Sandy Shore, Buddy Harrison, and Ed Mitchell. He would go on to guest-host American Top 40 and Casey's Top 40 in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Elliott began to work in the world of voiceover in 1977, with his first paid work on the trailer for Smokey and the Bandit. He went on to do voiceover for radio spots for Star Wars: A New Hope, as well as The Goodbye Girl.
"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 in 2015. "'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, 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."
Elliott was first hired by Disney in 1977, with him providing the voiceover for the theatrical re-release of Cinderella. Elliott would then go on to provide voiceovers for Disney for over three decades, ranging from theatrical trailers, previews, bumpers, and narration for The Magical World of Disney. He would go on to be associated with some of the quintessential bumpers on Disney home video, including "and now our feature presentation" and "experience the magic."
In terms of work outside of Disney, Elliott provided the voiceover for multiple installments of the Muppets franchise, promos for the series finale of M*A*S*H, and the iconic Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. He would even go on to play himself in the 2013 comedy In a World..., which was set in the world of voice acting.
"[Being the voice of Disney] is a wonderful touchstone for my career," Elliott revealed. "If that's the identity that I carry with me for the rest of my life, I wouldn't have it any other way."
Our thoughts are with Elliott's family, friends, and fans at this time.