Norman Rose

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Norman Rose

Norman Rose (June 23, 1917 – November 12, 2004) was an American actor, film narrator and radio announcer whose velvety baritone was often called "the Voice of God" by colleagues. He was best known as the voice of fictitious coffee grower Juan Valdez in the Colombian coffee television commercials and the announcer-narrator of NBC's Dimension X.[1]

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rose started acting while a student at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Rose honed his craft at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York, then landed parts in plays on and off-Broadway.


During World War II, he was recruited by the United States Office of War Information to work as a radio newscaster. After the war, Rose lent his distinctive voice to radio programs such as Dimension X and CBS Radio Mystery Theater. He narrated the short film Harold and the Purple Crayon in 1959, and provided several of the voices on the 1963 CBS cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.

In 1948, Rose co-founded New Stages, an off-Broadway repertory company, with producer David Heilweil. New Stages presented the American debut of Jean-Paul Sartre's best-known play, The Respectful Prostitute, prior to its Broadway run. Rose was an accomplished stage actor appearing in Broadway productions of Richard III and St. Joan and off-Broadway in The Brothers Karamazov.

From 1969 to 1974, Rose stepped in front of the camera to portray the same character—psychiatrist Dr. Marcus Polk—on two ABC soap operas (One Life to Live and All My Children). He also appeared in the soap operas The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow.


Nicknamed “The Voice of God” by colleagues because of his deep, recognizable voice, Rose was cast as something akin, actually the voice of "Death" in Woody Allen’s 1975 comedy Love and Death. Rose’s other film work includes Woody Allen's Radio Days and the opening narration for director Kinji Fukasaku’s Message from Space (1978), narrating the English dub of the 1968 Soviet Union production of War and Peace and as a newsreel announcer in Mike Nichols’ Biloxi Blues (1988). On screen he was seen in The Joe Louis Story (1953),The Violators (1957), Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes (1971), Who Killed Mary What’s Her Name? (1971) and Martin Ritt's The Front (1976) (also starring Woody Allen). He also narrated the 1989 film documentary, How Hitler Lost the War , produced by David Hoffman.[2]

Rose was also the offscreen narrator for the telecast of Mikhail Baryshnikov's production of the ballet The Nutcracker (1977),[3] a production that has been repeated many times on television and is available on DVD. He narrated the satirical "Deteriorata" for the National Lampoon album Radio Dinner. Rose recorded numerous books for the blind and narrated the 70th anniversary broadcast of the Academy Awards. He also was a drama instructor at the Juilliard School.


Norman Rose died November 12, 2004 at his home in Upper Nyack, New York.


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