I'm holding off on the Walter Wrenchall piece today because I just wanted to say farewell to Philip Kraus. Philip passed away on October 21, but I only learned of his death this morning.
Some of my friends may have heard me speak of Philip in the past...he was a gentleman of the old school: an elegant and hard living actor with style, poise and grace. They don't make 'em like that anymore. For many years he worked in New York City, doing big market voiceovers and "small" acting jobs on stage, movies and TV. At some point, if you watched TV at all during the last 25 years you would have seen or heard Philip Kraus.
I always looked forward to a day when a recording session with Philip was on the calendar. When he took the mike, we were guaranteed of putting out top notch-work, which always made our clients happy.
In our description of Philip's voice, we wrote "smooth warmth and sophistication" - that was him to a T. He once told me that a director said to him: "Phil, you got a voice that either says Darien, Connecticut or U-boats"...and it was true- Philip's voice could radiate either incredibly effete snob appeal, or the cold hearted aristocratic sneer of a crack submarine skipper. The only thing Philip couldn't do was normal.
Philip was a consummate professional, and took what ever he was doing seriously... it didn't matter if was a national voice-over for a major brand, or a spot for a local theater company.
More than that, a recording session with Philip meant the chance for a great visit with a friend. It was easy to sit, listening in wrapped attention, to Philip's fascinating stories of his days in New York as an actor and voice-over artist. As a younger actor and producer, I got insights into the business from Philip from which I will profit for the rest of my career.
We had fun discussing his passion for aviation and there was also usually a little time to talk about history, and engage in a round of Churchillian quotations.
And of course, there was always a little time left over to talk about our families. Philip knew my fiancee, Bobbi, because her job requires her to travel often. He took a great pleasure in squiring her through the Burlington airport and making sure she was well treated.
Anyway, I will really really miss hearing the sound of Philip's voice. He was a class act, and we won't see his like again.
Here's a collection of outtakes with Philip.