Peter Thomas (television narrator)
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|Born||June 28, 1924 |
|Known for||Documentary and advertisement voice-over work.|
|Spouse(s)||Stella Thomas (??-present)|
|Parents||Dr. John D. Thomas|
Sibyl (Addenbrooke) Thomas
Peter Thomas (born June 28, 1924) is a well-known American narrator of television programs, including shows such as Nova and more recently Forensic Files. Thomas is known for his crystal clear voice and precise diction, and his unique narrative tone of urgency, concern, and empathy. He has been a narrator for over fifty years.
Thomas was born in Pensacola, Florida to Dr. John D. Thomas and Sibyl Addenbrooke. His Welsh father, a Presbyterian minister, and his English mother, a schoolteacher from Salisbury, stressed the importance of reading, education and memorization to their son. Thomas says that his father always stressed mental images as an important speaking tool. For example, he told his son if he were talking about horses he had to picture horses in his mind.
Thomas began his career at fourteen as an announcer on a local radio show. Since the station could not pay him, due to his age, they arranged for the sponsor, Piper Aircraft, to give him flying lessons in a Piper Cub. Within just a few years, Thomas would be hosting Big Band remotes.
With the onset of World War II he volunteered into the United States Army in 1943, after being offered an Armed Forces Radio deferment, and served with the First Infantry Division in five major campaigns, including the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He was issued a Battle star for each of the five campaigns. He was also awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Unit French Croix de guerre, and Belgian Fourragère.
Thomas has received many awards for his work but cites, as one of his best, the Oscar won by a documentary he narrated, One Survivor Remembers. The film, produced by HBO, chronicles the personal experience of Gerda Weissman Klein, who was interned at the Nordhausen Concentration Camp when she was a teenager. Thomas' unit participated in the haunting liberation of Nordhausen. Klein and Thomas met during the post-production of the documentary, and again at its premiere. Thomas also participated in an HBO film on the battle for the Hürtgen Forest, in which he fought with the 1st Infantry Division (United States). Thomas was also the narrator for a miniseries that ran on The Discovery Channel in 1993 entitled How The West Was Lost.
Mr. Thomas is married to Stella Thomas, formerly Stella Ford Barrineau, and lives in Naples, Florida. He is involved in work with veterans, having served on the board of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation and in other similar roles.
He works out of his home and, through ISDN, at recording studios all across the country. Also using ISDN, he continues narrating at recording studios in New York City, where he worked for the bulk of his narration career. Prior to pursuing narration full-time, he was a New York anchor for CBS News. He still keeps an apartment in midtown Manhattan for recordings which require his actual presence there. He has recorded in many European capitals and in various cities across the United States, as well.
He is the father of Peter Thomas Jr. who is also a professional narrator.
Other notable work
Peter Thomas has also performed voice-overs for hundreds of television commercials, including Coca-Cola, IBM, Valvoline, NBC, United Technologies, Burger King, William Beaumont Hospital and ESPN Monday Night Football Commercials.
His was the voice heard in Paul Hardcastle's controversial 1985 song "19," which Hardcastle composed after being inspired by a 1984 ABC documentary on the Vietnam War, entitled Vietnam Requiem which was narrated by Thomas.
His voice is also heard as the digitized voice for Philips' HeartStart series of automated external defibrillator (AED) units used by emergency services nationwide. Thomas' voice prompts instruct emergency personnel on when to perform such tasks as starting and stopping CPR, when to press the button to deliver a shock and when the AED is analyzing the patient.
He is also in high demand for political advertisements, and has done several films for the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Thomas narrated the Readers Digest video series The Crucial Turning Points of World War 2
Recently, Thomas has been narrating the Burger King "Whopper Freakout" and "Whopper Virgins" commercials, as well as the ESPN Monday Night Football previews.