×

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

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Leaders Warn Members About Contact With Fired Agents

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are warning members about being contacted by their former agents — asserting that such efforts are an attempt to undermine the WGA and its members. The missive, sent Tuesday from the WGA negotiating committee, came with the guild in a bitter three-month standoff with talent agents that appears [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    ‘The Bachelor’ Creator Mike Fleiss Accused of Attacking Wife

    “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” creator Mike Fleiss has been accused of attacking his wife Laura Fleiss at their home in Hawaii on July 4, according to documents obtained by Variety. The documents show that Laura Fleiss, who is currently pregnant, filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order against her husband after he allegedly [...]

  • James Cordon Drag Race Handmaids Tale

    Emmys Trivia: 20 Surprising Facts From 2019's Nominations

    For a show that technically wasn’t eligible at the Emmy Awards in 2019, “The Handmaid’s Tale” did quite well this year. The Hulu drama picked up 11 nominations, including major ones like outstanding directing, writing, guest actress and guest actor, thanks to a quirk in the TV Academy’s Emmy rules. As previously noted, most of [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost

    'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost to Pop's Profile

    The core executive team at Pop TV expected to be disappointed, but they still gathered at the CBS-owned cable channel’s Playa Vista offices early Tuesday morning for the reveal of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. They were not disappointed. “Schitt’s Creek,” the quirky comedy series that has punched above its weight for Pop since [...]

  • Beyonce-HOMECOMING-Netflix

    Beyoncé, Sara Bareilles Vie for First Emmys as Ramin Djawadi Looks to Reclaim Throne

    Beyoncé and Sara Bareilles could add Emmy trophies to their awards shelves this year, having been nominated in key music categories Tuesday by the Television Academy. Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” special on Netflix was nominated in six categories, and four of those include a nod for the pop superstar herself. Only one of those is in a [...]

  • Disney Content Sales President Janice Marinelli

    Disney Content Sales President Janice Marinelli to Depart

    Janice Marinelli, president of global sales and marketing at Walt Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment, said Tuesday that she would step down from her role after a 34-year career at the company. “It has been an honor to work for this company and a privilege to work with so many outstanding professionals,” said Marinelli in [...]

  • Dusty Slay

    Late-Night Bookers Take to the Internet in Search of Emerging Comics

    With Netflix releasing a comedy special every week and YouTube offering a portal into both cutting-edge performance and the best comedy sets in history, it’s never been easier for audiences to access an endless stream of standup. But for fledgling comics, there’s still no more game-changing showcase than a five-minute slot on a late-night talk [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content