Bill Belichick is set to be the narrator for a new World War II documentary film, produced by journalist and University of Rhode Island ‘89 alumni Tim Gray.
A University of Rhode Island graduate will have a New England favorite narrate his next World War II documentary.
Gray, graduated from URI in 1989 from the school’s journalism program. His film “D-Day: Over Normandy” will feature Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, as the narrator. According to Gray, Belichick has been a supporter of his work since 2006 when Gray sent him documentaries that he had previously produced. Since then, Belichick has been involved in Gray’s work and has attended events put on by his companies, Tim Gray Media and World War II Foundation. He has also been a reviewer for all of Gray’s recent documentaries.
“It’s a tradition to send [the documentaries] to him before they air,” Gray said. “He watches them and sends back his notes and comments on them.” Gray said he has always wanted to ask Belichick to narrate a film. When he did, it was an instant yes.
This upcoming documentary was shot in Normandy, France, and differs stylistically from other World War II documentaries that are already out there. “D-Day: Over Normandy” was shot entirely with drones.
Belichick’s passionate support for the World War II Foundation is rooted in his father’s service in WWII. Belichick grew up at the Naval Academy in Maryland. Because of this relationship growing up with the military he has been a visible supporter of both the foundation and of Gray’s work.
“He asked us to wait until after the season was complete to announce it,” Gray said. Now that Belichick has another Super Bowl under his belt, he is ready take on narrating the documentary.
According to Gray, Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, are big supporters of veterans. He added that 10 or 12 veterans have met Belichick and Kraft after the pair invited them to Gillette Stadium for private meetings. The veterans were excited by these meetings and the documentaries, Gray added.
“They appreciate people honoring them and what they did,” Gray said. He has interviewed more than 300 veterans over the course of all his documentaries.
Belichick joins the list of other celebrities who have narrated for Gray’s documentaries which includes Tom Selleck and Matthew Broderick, both of whom acted in war films and have a genuine interest in the subject, according to Gray.
“You have issues when dealing with celebrities because of their schedules,” he said. “So, we always make sure to ask those who have an interest in the subject matter.” He added that the celebrities he has been fortunate enough to work with have grown in their understanding of World War II, as well as the mission of the foundation.
“It’s all about not losing the message,” Gray said regarding using celebrities as narrators. “It’s nice to have them, but we can’t let them overshadow what the message is about.”
Gray currently serves as the chairman of the World War II Foundation. He has produced and directed 17 documentaries. He has traveled all over the world while chronicling the stories of World War II and its survivors. All the documentaries have been aired nationally on PBS, and internationally as well.
Gray grew up in Kingston and comes from a long line of URI graduates. He holds season tickets for the basketball team and says that URI did a great job preparing him for his career, first as a TV sportscaster, and then later when he decided to become a filmmaker.
“URI is a great place to learn,” he said. “It’s a great college.”
You can learn more about the documentary, the foundation and what Gray does at wwiifoundation.org