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These 22 People Voiced Over 200 Cartoon Characters

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The best voice actors pull long hours, often playing multiple characters for multiple shows, films, commercials, and videogames in the course of a single day. The pros—as per the 2013 documentary I Know That Voice (available streaming on Netflix)—often say that each character’s vocal qualities create a unique “musicality” that applies only to that particular character. Vocal trainer Bob Bergen says, “If you can do Shakespeare as Porky Pig or Sylvester the Cat and stay in character, then you can probably handle the script for a movie.”

You might not recognize many of these real-life folks in public (a few do show up in front of the camera from time to time), but many of your favorite cartoon characters have been voiced by just a handful of talented voice actors for years. Here’s a partial list.

1. The Voice: Christine Cavanaugh

The Faces: Dexter on Dexter’s Laboratory; Chuckie Finster on Rugrats; Gosalyn Mallard on Darkwing Duck; Oblina on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters; Marty Sherman on The Critic; and she was the original Babe the pig.

2. The Voice: Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily

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The Faces: Tommy Pickles on Rugrats; Louie of Huey, Dewey, and – on Quack Pack; Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls; Bamm-Bamm Flintstone on Cave Kids. She also took over as Babe in Babe: Pig in the City.

3. The Voice: Pamela Adlon

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The Faces: Bobby Hill from King of the Hill, Vidia the fairy in the Tinkerbell film franchise, and Spinelli on Recess.

4. The Voice: Charles Adler

The Faces: Starscream in the Transformers films; I.R. Baboon on I Am Weasel; Cow and Chicken on Cow and Chicken; Felix the Cat (1995); Ickis on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters; Ed and Bev Bighead and George and Grandma Wolfe on Rocko’s Modern Life; Buster Bunny on Tiny Toon Adventures; and Paddington Bear (1989).

5. The Voice: Tom Kenney

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The Faces: Spongebob Squarepants and his pet snail Gary; the Narrator and Mayor from The Powerpuff Girls; Mumbo from Teen Titans; Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh; Iron Man, Captain America, and Doctor Octopus from the Marvel Super Hero Squad franchise; Eduardo from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends; the Penguin on The Batman; Cupid from The Fairly Odd Parents; Dog from CatDog and Heffer Wolfe on Rocko’s Modern Life.

6. The Voice: Jeff Bennett

Disney Wikia

The Faces: Mr. Smee on Jake and the Neverland Pirates; Johnny Bravo; The Man with the Yellow Hat on Curious George; Kowalski from The Penguins of Madagascar and Petrie from several installments of the Land Before Time franchise.

7. The Voice: Jess Harnell

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The Faces: Wakko Warner from Animaniacs; Tim the Bear of The Cleveland Show; Sewer Urchin on The Tick; Chilly the snowman from Doc McStuffins.

8. The Voice: Frank Welker

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The Faces: Fred from Scooby Doo and later on, Scooby himself; Heckle and Jeckle from The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle; Droopy on The New Adventures of Tom and Jerry; Stripe in Gremlins; Mohawk in Gremlins 2; Catgut and Howler from The Pound Puppies; Dr. Claw and Brain on Inspector Gadget; Torch on G.I. Joe; a whole bunch of Transformers; Slimer and Dr. Raymond Stantz from The Real Ghostbusters; Hefty Smurf, Poet Smurf and Peewit from The Smurfs, then Azrael on the Smurfs movies; Joanna the Goanna from Rescuers Down Under; Kermit, Skeeter and Beaker on Muppet Babies; Abu, the Cave of Wonders, and Rajah from Disney’s Aladdin; Bo, Booker, and Sheldon from Garfield and Friends and Garfield on The Garfield Show; George on Curious George; Barney Rubble for several projects; Goddard the robot dog on Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and he’s made a strange array of animal noises on shows like Beavis and Butt-Head, South Park, and Johnny Bravo.

9. The Voice: Tress MacNeille

Wikimedia Commons

The Faces: Mom and Linda Van Schoonhoven on Futurama; Chip, Gadget and Zipper on Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers; Babs Bunny on Tiny Toon Adventures; Dot Warner and Hello Nurse on Animaniacs; Daisy Duck; Arnold’s Grandma on Hey Arnold!; Agnes Skinner, Dolph, Jimbo Jones, Lunchlady Doris, and the Crazy Cat Lady on The Simpsons.

10. The Voice: Jim Cummings

The Faces: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too; Goofy’s nemesis neighbor, Pete; Captain Caveman on Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated; Ray from The Princess and the Frog; the Tazmanian Devil; Cat from CatDog; Fuzzy Lumpkins from The Powerpuff Girls; Kaa and Colonel Hathi in Jungle Book 2; Ed the Hyena from The Lion King; Darkwing Duck; Bonkers D. Bobcat from Bonkers; Zummi Gummi from Adventures of the Gummy Bears; Monterey Jack and Fat Cat from Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers.

11. The Voice: Casey Kasem

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The Faces: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo; Robin in Super Friends; Teletraan I, Cliffjumper and Bluestreak in The Transformers.

12. The Voice: Seth Green

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The Faces: Chris Griffin and Neil in Family Guy; A-Bomb in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.; Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Jeff “Joker” Moreau of the Mass Effect video game franchise.

13. The Voice: Billy West

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The Faces: Philip J. Frye, Dr. Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan of Futurama; Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios honey bee; the red M & M; Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, and Pepe Le Pew; Woody Woodpecker; both Ren and Stimpy of Ren & Stimpy; Zim of Invader Zim (pilot only); Slimer in Extreme Ghostbusters; Roger Klotz and Doug Funnie of Doug.

14. The Voice: Carlos Alazraqui

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The Faces: Mr. Crocker on Fairly Odd Parents; Mr. Weed in Family Guy; Lazlo in Camp Lazlo!; Rocko and Spunky in Rocko’s Modern Life.

15. The Voice: Dan Castellaneta

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The Faces: Homer Simpson, Krusty the Klown, Grandpa Simpson, Kodos, Barney Gumble, Groundskeeper Willie, Moleman, Mayor Quimby and the Rich Texan on The Simpsons; the Robot Devil on Futurama; Arnold’s Grandpa on Hey Arnold!; Earthworm Jim; Aladdin’s Genie, post Robin Williams.

16. The Voice: Nancy Cartwright

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The Faces: Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, and Todd Flanders in The Simpsons; Rufus the naked mole rat in Kim Possible; Chuckie Finster in All Grown Up; Margo Sherman on The Critic; Pistol Pete from Goof Troop.

17. The Voice: Maurice LaMarche

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The Faces: Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham Origins the video game; Morbo, Kif Kroker and Calculon in Futurama; Big Bob Pitaki on Hey Arnold!; Brain of Pinky and the Brain; Dizzy Devil on Tiny Toon Adventures; Chief Quimby on Inspector Gadget; Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem on Captain Planet and the Planeteers; Pepe Le Pew, Yosemite Sam and the dorky detective himself, Inspector Gadget in various projects.

18. The Voice: John DiMaggio

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The Faces: Bender from Futurama; Jake in Adventure Time; Niblet, Mutt and Tiny in Pound Puppies; the Joker in Batman: Under the Red Hood.

19. The Voice: Gary Owens

The Faces: Space Ghost; Powdered Toast Man from Ren & Stimpy; the announcer/narrator from Space Quest VI & IV, Garfield and Friends, and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

20. The Voice: Tara Strong

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The Faces: Timmy Turner and baby Poof on The Fairly Odd Parents; Harley Quinn in several recent Batman video games; Raven in Teen Titans; Terrence in Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends; Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls; Dil Pickles from Rugrats; Ben Tennyson of Ben 10.

21. The Voice: Richard Horvitz

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The Faces: Billy and his dad on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy; Zim of Invader Zim; Grey Matter from Ben 10; Daggett on The Angry Beavers; Alphas 5 and 7 from The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

22. The Voice: Hank Azaria

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The Faces: Moe Szyslak, Comic Book Guy, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Cletus, Duffman, Chief Wiggum, Dr. Nick, Snake, Bumblebee Man, Kirk Van Houten, Lou, Professor Frink, Carl, Lenny, Disco Stu, and Superintendent Chalmers on The Simpsons; Harold Zoid on Futurama; Gargamel on the Smurfs movies; Venom on Spider-Man.

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The Star Trek Theme Song Has Lyrics
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Star Trek theme song is familiar to pretty much anyone who lived in the free world (and probably elsewhere, too) in the late 20th century. The tune is played during the show's opening credits; a slightly longer version is played, accompanied by stills from various episodes, during the closing credits. The opening song is preceded by William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) doing his now-legendary monologue recitation, which begins: "Space, the final frontier ..."

The show's familiar melody was written by respected film and TV composer Alexander Courage, who said the Star Trek theme's main inspiration was the Richard Whiting song "Beyond the Blue Horizon." In Courage's contract it was stipulated that, as the composer, he would receive royalties every time the show was aired and the theme song played. If, somehow, Star Trek made it into syndication—which, of course, it ultimately did—Courage stood to make a lot of money. And so did the person who wrote the lyrics.

WAIT... THERE WERE LYRICS?

Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, wrote lyrics to the theme song.

"Beyond the rim of the star-light,
my love is wand'ring in star-flight!"

Why would Roddenberry even bother?

The lyrics were never even meant to be heard on the show, but not because the network (NBC) nixed them. Roddenberry nixed them himself. Roddenberry wanted a piece of the composing profits, so he wrote the hokey lyrics solely to receive a "co-writer" credit.

"I know he'll find in star-clustered reaches
Love, strange love a star woman teaches."

As one of the composers, Roddenberry received 50 percent of the royalties ... cutting Alexander Courage's share in half. Not surprisingly, Courage was furious about the deal. Though it was legal, he admitted, it was unethical because Roddenberry had contributed nothing to why the music was successful.

Roddenberry was unapologetic. According to Snopes, he once declared, "I have to get some money somewhere. I'm sure not gonna get it out of the profits of Star Trek."

In 1969, after Star Trek officially got the ax, no one (Courage and Roddenberry included) could possibly have imagined the show's great popularity and staying power.

Courage, who only worked on two shows in Star Trek's opening season because he was busy working on the 1967 Dr. Doolittle movie, vowed he would never return to Star Trek.

He never did.

THE WORDS

If you're looking for an offbeat karaoke number, here are Roddenberry's lyrics, as provided by Snopes:

Beyond
The rim of the star-light
My love
Is wand'ring in star-flight
I know
He'll find in star-clustered reaches
Love,
Strange love a star woman teaches.
I know
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.

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Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC

At its best, San Diego Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’s Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of 2016 and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Just a few months later, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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