Kent County

'Chrysler Guy' Kevin Yon, voice actor, dies at 67

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Even if you didn't know Kevin Yon, you likely knew his voice.

The Rockford man — who did voice-over work for companies across the United States — died in his sleep Sunday morning. He was 67 years old.

Stuart Poltrock first got to know Yon decades ago, well before he became a big success.

"He was a voice-over talent, so he would come in and we would work together on different projects. But over time, I think our friendship grew organically," Poltrock said Monday from Sound Post Studios, where he and Yon would work. 

Back then, Yon was in smaller spots, including a promotional video for 24 Hour News 8 from 1998

But in 2011, Yon hit it big as the voice of Chrysler's 2-minute "Imported from Detroit" ad. It ran during the Super Bowl. 

"His words: he became a '30-year overnight success.' That's how Kevin described himself," Poltrock said. "Cause he was there the whole time, everybody knew his voice. They didn't know who he was. And pretty soon we were getting auditions that would say, 'We want someone that sounds like Morgan Freeman or Jeff Bridges, or the 'Chrysler Guy.' It's his own brand."

That brand led to voice-work for Jim Beam, Major League Baseball and broadcasts for the National Football League. 

But make no mistake: Kevin Yon was more than just a distinct voice. He was a writer and an actor in both film and on the theater stage. And most of all, to those who knew him well, he was a mentor and a good man.

"I loved the man, he's been so good to work with, he's a joy to work with," Poltrock said. "And he'll be missed by me and everyone. Everyone in the community."

Yon's visitation will be held Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pederson Funeral Home in Rockford.

A celebration of life will be Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Eve at The B.O.B. in Grand Rapids.


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