The Don La Fontaine Voice-Over Lab Fundraiser Event

by | Community, Personal

The drive from San Diego to Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon was relatively smooth, but very hot and humid, even with my car’s air conditioner going full-blast. I was listening to the news radio station’s coverage of the area’s wildfires. The “Station” fire burning in the northeastern hills, and the largest in the city’s history, cast a smokey layer to the already hazy sky. I’m glad Mt. Wilson was spared, home to a gazillion radio-tv  satellite and cell towers.

Finally I arrived at my hotel for the night with a little over an hour to get situated and ready for one big occasion; A garden party and fundraiser for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Don LaFontaine Voice Lab, hosted at the Bel Air home of Joe and Ann Cipriano.

When I arrived a little before 6:30, I walked in and was greeted at the door by SAG Foundation personnel, and set off to join the party, which already had a number of attendees.  The first thing I saw was a large photo of Don, smiling and welcoming me. Everyone was invited to sign the photo. Joe and Ann welcomed me as well. I was feeling quite comfortable indeed.

I then made my way to one of the hosted bars, and had a “Voice-tini”, a concoction that somebody said was in honor of Don. After that I checked out Joe’s studio housed in the building to the left side of the above picture. The evening was warm with an almost full-moon on the rise.

Studio guru and fellow friend at the vo-bb and Facebook, George Whittam assisted Joe with his set up. Another angle is below.


I then decided to go out and mingle. I met Suzanne Angel Pape. Paul, her husband and Don were best friends. We enjoyed a cocktail and some laughs. Paul was running around, making sure everything was rolling perfectly. And it was.
Suzanne Angel Pape and yours truly

I noticed a young guy that looked somewhat familiar. I introduced myself to him. It turns out he is Don’s nephew, Heath, who is just getting into Voiceover. We chatted a good long while, about the business, and how Don helped him move back to Minnesota, so he could be near his autistic son. I could feel Don’s good vibes everywhere. The first anniversary of Don’s passing was the day before, and it seemed like no time had gone by at all.  I just believed that Don was smiling on us all from VO heaven!

Here are a few more pics;

David Alden, CBS voice, and promo coach & director for Don, Joe Cip and others. He’s holding on to me and a Voice-tini.

And the gorgeous author and Voice actresss extraordinare- Joan Baker.(She’s very funny, friendly and extremely animated)

 VO Coach Nancy Wolfson, me, and Stephanie Ciccarelli of share grins

Zurek of Voiceover Universe and our host, Joe Cipriano

Sure,  I could go on and on about all the nice folks I chatted it up with, like Shotgun Tom Kelly, Beau Weaver, Steve Tisherman, John Taylor, Jeff McNeal, James Alburger, Penny Abshire, and Marice Tobias, but the evening was  really about a cause. To make the DLF Voice-Over Lab a reality .

The Voice-Over Lab at the SAG Foundation will feature a fully-equipped sound studio, two recording booths, and classroom, allowing aspiring voice actors to work on their craft, record auditions or work on demos, all at no cost.

There were a number of amazing silent auction items, like this sign:

And the most unique items: “Don’s Doodles” on assorted promo and trailer scripts:

I’ve zoomed to the most detailed drawing below. Joe Cipriano told me this one for 20th Century Fox’s “Dr. Doolittle” was most probably from a VERY-long session. HA!

I forgot to mention, there was a very good band, and Nita, Don’s wife got up on stage at the end of the evening and sang.

It was a very memorable, enjoyable (successful evening for SAG Foundation), and a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, Don LaFontaine.




  1. Bobbin:
    You told a great story in your blog. I felt like I was there. Keep up the good work.

    Pete “the Sign Guy”

  2. Great pictures, Bobbin! I envy you! You know how to work the room. I’m a bit of a wall flower at these things. Wished I had run into you.

    We heard Nita from the valet as we wanted to get ahead of the car crush! Beautiful voice.

  3. What a VO star studded evening it was!
    I am thrilled I got to meet you. There were so many I didn’t get to meet…

  4. This is absolutely brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Bobbin. I could feel the warmth, love and good energy flowing from your photos.

    Glad you had a good time and the event was a big success!


  5. Thank you Pete & Stefania! DC- I’m sorry I didn’t run into you too. George, you are the man! (The studio is fabby)  Mea culpa to my friends, Jeff McNeal, James Alburger and Penny Abshire, who I also had the opportunity to spend some time conversing with, but overlooked mentioning in the initial post. I’ve corrected that now. It really was a lovely , positively jouous evening.

  6. Bobbin: Thanks for giving my wife some face time. She deserves it! It was nice meeting you and thank you for coming out to support the Lab.

  7. Hey, Bobbin –

    Wish I could have been there too. Miss you, girl. Thanks for the inside view of a wonderful event and worthy cause. Btw, you look maahhvelous, darling. 🙂

  8. Hi Linda,
    Been a long time, girlfriend! Thanks for swinging by and your kind words. You would’ve loved it.

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