10 Legendary Cartoon Voices (and where else you may have heard them)
Well, there goes more of my childhood. Lucille Bliss, better known as the voice of Smurfette, passed away last week at the age of 96. While she was probably known best for her role as the Smurf Village sweetheart, Bliss enjoyed a 60-year career in Hollywood. Her long list of famous parts includes Anastasia, Cinderella's wicked stepsister; the "Kanine Krunchies" commercial singer in 101 Dalmatians; and Mrs. Fitzgibbons in The Secret of NIHM.
My six-year-old mind would have been totally blown to learn that the lovely Smurfette was the same person as the horrible Anastasia. Here are a few others that would have boggled my brain — and might surprise you as well.
1. Nancy Cartwright
Nancy Cartwright, AKA Bart Simpson, has also been the voice of Rufus on Kim Possible, Kip Kangaroo on Shirt Tales and, for a few episodes, Chuckie on Rugrats. Plus, extreme fans of Who Framed Roger Rabbit might recognize her as the voice of the "dipped" shoe. OK, probably not.
2. Billy West
No doubt you've heard Billy West but perhaps you've never heard OF him (or maybe it's just me who is really oblivious). This guy is all over the place. For five shows, he gave Stimpy a voice on Nickelodeon's Ren and Stimpy; he's been Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Pepe Le Pew and Elmer Fudd on various projects since the 1996 movie Space Jam; and he was the voice of Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, Leo Wong and President Richard Nixon's Head on Futurama. Howard Stern fans will remember West as the voice of the Jackie Puppet and various other characters from 1989-1995. And he's also the current voice of Buzz, the Honey-Nut Cheerios Bee (Wikipedia claims Sterling Holloway was the original Honey-Nut Cheerios Bee, but we can't find anything to back that up.)
3. Eleanor Audley
I have to mention Eleanor Audley because she is the voice of the psychic whose head is floating in the crystal ball at the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion. In addition to being in my favorite theme park attraction ever, Eleanor Audley was also Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty and Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella. I guess she just had a perfectly sinister voice.
4. Verna Felton
Verna Felton is another voice actress the Disney company frequently employed. She was one of the fairy godmothers in Sleeping Beauty (Flora), Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp, the fairy godmother in Cinderella, and, my personal favorite, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.
5. Patrick Warburton
Seinfeld fans know Patrick Warburton as Elaine's on-again-off-again boyfriend David Putty. His voice is so distinctive, though, that it's easy to place it when you hear it coming through the screen. Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove? That's Patrick Warburton. Joe Swanson, the cop on Family Guy? Brock Samson from the Venture Brothers? Buzz Lightyear in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, the TV show that followed Toy Story? Patrick Warburton. High five.
6. Mae Questel
Although voluptuous Betty Boop and skinny-as-a-broomstick Olive Oyl couldn't be much different, they are actually the same person: Mae Questel. Interestingly, it looks like she didn't do Betty's voice from about 1939 until Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. Though she's not a cartoon character, it may also interest you to know that Questel played Aunt Bethany in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Is your house on fire, Clark?
7. Daws Butler
The Hanna Barbera world is just as entwined as Disney and Warner Brothers. Daws Butler is probably best known for being the voice of Yogi Bear, but he was also Elroy Jetson, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Peter Potamus and Wally Gator. He also earned a lifetime of free breakfast cereal (at least I like to think that) when he provided the voices for both Cap'n Crunch and Snap of elf trio Snap, Crackle and Pop. For a time he held an actor's studio out of his home, where one of his students was none other than Nancy Cartwright.
8. Scatman Crothers
My number one super guy used to be Hong Kong Phooey (sorry). His voice, Scatman Crothers, had a career that spanned many genres. One of his first voice-over jobs was with Disney as the appropriately-named Scat Cat in the Aristocats (not to be confused with The Aristocrats). He then jumped to Hanna-Barbera to provide the voice for Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters of Harlem Globetrotters and Scooby Doo fame. And although this is decidedly not a cartoon, I love the fact that Hong Kong Phooey was creepy Dick Hallorann in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
9. Tress MacNeille
Another favorite of mine was Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. It came as quite a shock that Chip and Gadget were both voiced by the same person - Tress MacNeille. I looked her up and it turns out she voices about a million Simpsons characters. OK, so it's more like 17 (plus some minor characters). Those include Mrs. Skinner, Dr. Hibbert's wife, Apu's wife, the crazy cat lady, Lunchlady Doris and Plopper, the pig from The Simpsons Movie. She also voices multiple characters on Futurama, was Babs the Bunny on Tiny Toon Adventures and Dot on Animaniacs.