Peter Thomas (announcer)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
June 28, 1924 |
|Known for||Documentary and advertisement voice-over work.|
|Spouse(s)||Stella (Barrineau) Thomas (1946–2014, her death)|
Dr. John D. Thomas
Peter Thomas (born June 28, 1924) is an American announcer narrator of television programs, including shows such as Nova and more recently Forensic Files and Mystery Detectives. He has been a narrator for over fifty years.
Peter Thomas was born in Pensacola, Florida to Dr. John D. Thomas and Sibyl Addenbrooke. He had two younger brothers, John and David. 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 left The Stony Brook School and volunteered for 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 of 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. Thomas was the narrator for the two-hour Nova episode entitled D-Day's Sunken Secrets, broadcast May 28, 2014, just before the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings; he participated in the original D-Day landing on Omaha Beach.
Thomas was married to Stella Thomas (m. 1946–2014 her death), 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.
Other notable work
- Thomas has 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 hit song "19," which Hardcastle composed after being inspired by a 1984 ABC documentary on the Vietnam War, titled Vietnam Requiem, which Thomas narrated. Thomas was paid royalties for the use of his voice in the song.
- His voice is 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 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
- Thomas narrated the orientation video for the National World War I Museum at The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Thomas narrates the TruTV true-crime documentary series Forensic Files, also known as Mystery Detectives.
- As of March 2013, Thomas could be heard voicing a national television spot for "Cool Whip."
- "NOVA: Case of the Flying Dinosaur (1991)". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "Local 'Forensic File' A TV crew for the show interviewed a prosecutor and expert witnesses from the trial of Brian David Hummert.". York Daily Record. December 5, 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "NOVA: D-Day's Sunken Secrets". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "How we made the pop song 19 by Paul Hardcastle and Ken Grunbaum". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- Peter Thomas at the Internet Movie Database
- Peter Thomas Tribute - from truTV's Forensic Files.
- We owe our freedom to GIs who fought by Peter Thomas, veteran of Hurtgen Forest and Battle of the bulge