You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Joseph Sirola, ‘King of the Voice-Overs,’ Dies at 89

Joseph A. Sirola, who was dubbed the “King of Voice-Overs” for his extensive work in commercials, died Sunday in New York. He was 89 years old.

His rep confirmed that he died from complications of respiratory failure.

He was best known for his deep, resonant voice that appeared in advertisements for companies like Ford, GE, Wendy’s, Mobil, Nyquil, and more. Sirola’s voice also highlighted the “I Love New York” campaign and, for over 20 years, the Empire State Building tour. His voice-over work won him 25 Clio Awards, which recognizes creative excellence in advertising, and the Wall Street Journal even dubbed Sirola the “King of the Voice-Overs” in a front-page story in 1970.

Besides stage and TV, Sirola acted in film as well, opposite stars like Rock Hudson in “Strange Bedfellows,” Clint Eastwood in “Hang ‘Em High,” and Max von Sydow in 1965’s “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

Sirola also made over 600 TV appearances, from his own series “The Montefuscos, “The Magician,” and co-starring with Jack Scalia in “Wolf,” to his guest spots in shows like “Quincy,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Hawaii Five-O.” He also had guest roles on numerous other shows including “Mission Impossible,” “Andy Griffith,” “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “Get Smart.”

Born in Carteret, N.J., in 1929, Sirola attended Columbia University and then served in the Korean War. His first role was in an off-Broadway play, and then he balanced appearing on Broadway in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” with his regular role on CBS’ “The Brighter Day.” Sirola continued on Broadway with roles in “The Golden Rainbow,” “Pal Joey,” and his favorite part, Alfie Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.”

In the last few years, Sirola was a Tony Award-winning producer whose credits included “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love And Murder,” “The Trip To Bountiful,” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

Sirola is survived by his partner Claire Gozzo, his daughter, three granddaughters, and his goddaughter. A performer through and through, the week before he he died he told his rep, “Hey kid, when I get outta here, we have to find me a new agent.”

More TV

  • Netflix and Vogue hold BAFTA Breakthrough

    Netflix Teams With Vogue to Fete BAFTA's New Breakthrough Brits

    Netflix was in fashion this week as it wined and dined the cream of the U.K.’s rising talent, including BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits. The streaming giant teamed with Vogue for a dinner at Soho nightspot Kettners, hosted by its London-based VP of originals, Anne Mensah, and Edward Ennuinful, editor-in-chief of the British edition of the fashion [...]

  • Keke Palmer, Joel Kim Booster to

    Keke Palmer, Joel Kim Booster to Host 'Singled Out' Remake at Quibi

    Quibi has tapped actor Keke Palmer and comedian Joel Kim Booster to host its remake of the MTV dating show “Singled Out.” “Singled Out” originally aired on MTV from 1995 to 1998, and was recently revamped for MTV’s YouTube channel. The reimagined version will seek to show that “anyone and everyone can find love no [...]

  • Anna Marsh

    Intl. TV Newswire: Europe's Glass Ceiling, DAZN Gets UCL in Germany, HBO’s ‘The Thaw’

    In this week’s International TV Newswire Variety catches you up on Canal Plus Group’s appointment of Anna Marsh as CEO of Studiocanal, DAZN’s champion’s league coup in Germany, HBO’s new Polish original “The Thaw,” new London factual production company Big Little Fish and Starzplay’s Middle Eastern partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Anna Marsh Named [...]

  • Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels

    Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels and Originals for 2020 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rakuten TV has garnered 10 million views on its free on-demand service since its launch in October. The streamer’s CEO, Jacinto Roca, told Variety that, buoyed by the early AVOD success, it will launch a suite of new channels and original shows on the ad-supported service in 2020. He added that he hopes the free [...]

  • disney-logo

    K Madhavan Becomes India Manager at Disney

    K Madhavan has been promoted to country manager of all of Disney’s conventional TV businesses in the key Indian market. Madhavan was previously head of Disney’s regional language TV businesses in South India since 2016. Madhavan’s promotion was announced internally within Disney in India on Friday. He takes over from Sanjay Gupta, who has resigned [...]

  • _DSF7736.RAF

    How 'The Expanse' 'Died and Went to Heaven' at Amazon

    In the content space race currently being fought out in the entertainment industry, shows getting picked up by one platform after being dumped by another is becoming a more frequent phenomenon. Some moves feel more like a marriage of convenience, while others feel like a more obvious fit. Take “The Expanse” moving to Amazon Prime [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content