Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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112 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 ARTS The Vox of Fox This man's voice is in a speaker near you. You have probably heard Jack Fox's voice. It's seemingly everywhere. At the Louisville airport, for example, when you're on the moving sidewalk and hear, "Please stand to the right to allow those wishing to walk to pass safely on the left" — that's the voice! That's Fox! His vox: deep, clear, pleasing. His "May I have your attention, please…" is like a background hum, or a thought that comes from your own head. "It's an interesting phenomenon. People will meet you and say, 'Oh, that's what you look like!'" says the 75-year-old voiceover artist. The woman at the golf course will recognize Fox's voice from a gas station, giving instructions on how to use your credit card at the pump (when credit cards were new). The car-rental guy at an airport will look at Fox and say, "You sound just like that guy I hear all day." Fox's voice announces in 100-something airports worldwide. One time, he was seeing members of his church off on a mission trip to Brazil. Someone said, "Brother Fox, lead us in a prayer." When he opened his mouth to speak, his voice came from the speaker overhead. You can hear Fox at the Louisville Slugger Museum. Or in some 1,500 books he has recorded at the American Printing House for the Blind on Frankfort Avenue, where he has worked since 1978. "I've read everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to Hannibal Lecter to Dr. Phil and Billy Graham," he says. Oh, and Fox's voice — "Security is at a high alert" — is also in a news clip of Kanye West at a New York airport after he slammed Taylor Swift. "Where Kanye goes, I go," Fox says. How did Fox grow his voice? Was it the cowboy radio hours he listened to in the '50s as a boy growing up in Illinois, or the way comedian Jack Benny resonated on- air? Maybe it was in the way Fox's father, a minister, preached. Or how his mother so expressively read bedtime stories to the kids. The speech class his mother made him take freshman year of high school definitely helped. In it, Fox, a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, wrote a sportscast for a radio program he had to create. He sat behind a microphone for the first time and, when he was done, the teacher said, "You should consider a career in radio." As a senior at Harvard High School, he started poking around a 500-watt radio station. He was on- air in college in Evansville, Indiana. There, he says he was a "19-year-old hotshot with a good voice" who wanted the primetime slot from a 40-year-old with an OK voice. "My manager was a wise guy, said: 'You sound good, but this guy is worth listening to.'" Fox took this knowledge — that radio is more than a big voice; it's a genuine voice, a voice that talks about important issues in the community — with him to Denver, Kansas City, and, eventually, Louisville's 840 WHAS radio, where he worked for about 20 years. Fox was recently in the Academy Award-winning movie The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, who'd heard Fox's voice in the Los Angeles airport and, for the film, knew Fox had to voice the intercom in the laboratory. "From Harvard to Hollywood," Fox says. He recorded everything for the movie over a 45-minute phone call. They read through lines, like, "Security in Zone Five." Del Toro gave directions, like, "A little more energy here. Slow down here." On Oscar night, Fox texted somebody who worked in post-production, who sent a picture back of the crew onstage. Fox chuckles. "My daughter says they wouldn't have won it without me." — AC STUDIO SHOT Fox at the American Printing House for the Blind. Photo by Mickie Winters

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