getty images
getty images

These 22 People Voiced Over 200 Cartoon Characters

getty images
getty images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

12. The Voice: Seth Green

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
How Accurate are Hollywood Medical Dramas? A Doctor Breaks It Down
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy get a lot of things wrong when it comes to the procedures shown on the screen, but unless you're a doctor, you'd probably never notice.

For its latest installment, WIRED's Technique Critique video series—which previously blessed us with a dialect coach's critique of actors' onscreen accents—tackled the accuracy of medical scenes in movies and TV, bringing in Annie Onishi, a general surgery resident at Columbia University, to comment on emergency room and operating scenes from Pulp Fiction, House, Scrubs, and more.

While Onishi breaks down just how inaccurate these shows and movies can be, she makes it clear that Hollywood doesn't always get it wrong. Some shows, including Showtime's historical drama The Knick, garner praise from Onishi for being true-to-life with their medical jargon and operations. And when doctors discuss what music to play during surgery on Scrubs? That's "a tale as old as time in the O.R.," according to Onishi.

Other tropes are very obviously ridiculous, like slapping a patient during CPR and telling them to fight, which we see in a scene from The Abyss. "Rule number one of CPR is: never stop effective chest compressions in order to slap or yell words of encouragement at the patient," Onishi says. "Yelling at a patient or cheering them on has never brought them back to life." And obviously, taking selfies in the operating room in the middle of a grisly operation like the doctors on Grey's Anatomy do would get you fired in real life.

There are plenty of cliché words and phrases we hear over and over on doctor shows, and some are more accurate than others. Asking about a patient's vitals is authentic, according to Onishi, who says it's something doctors are always concerned with. However, yelling "We're losing him!" is simply for added TV drama. "I have never once heard that in my real life," Onishi says.

[h/t WIRED]

When The Day After Terrorized 100 Million Viewers With a Vision of Nuclear War

Before Nicholas Meyer's made-for-television film The Day After had its official airing on November 20, 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan and his Joint Chiefs of Staff were given screening copies. In his diary, Reagan recorded his reaction to seeing Meyer's graphic depiction of a nuclear holocaust that devastates a small Kansas town, writing:

"It's very effective and left me greatly depressed. So far they [ABC] haven't sold any of the 25 spot ads scheduled and I can see why. Whether it will be of help to the 'anti-nukes' or not, I can't say. My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent and to see there is never a nuclear war."

Just a few days later, the rest of America would see what had shaken their president. Preempting Hardcastle and McCormick on ABC, the 8 p.m. telefilm drew a staggering 100 million viewers, an audience that at the time was second only in non-sports programming to the series finale of M*A*S*H. According to Nielsen, 62 percent of all televisions in use that night were tuned in.

What they watched didn't really qualify as entertainment; Meyer stated he had no desire to make a "good" movie with stirring performances or rousing music, but a deeply affecting public service announcement on the horrors of a nuclear fallout. He succeeded … perhaps a little too well.


The idea for The Day After came from ABC executive Brandon Stoddard, who had helped popularize the miniseries format with Roots. After seeing The China Syndrome, a film about a nuclear accident starring Jane Fonda, Stoddard began pursuing an "event" series about what would happen to a small town in middle America if tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States escalated to catastrophic levels. Films like Dr. Strangelove had depicted moments between politicians debating whether to use powerful weapons of mass destruction, but few had examined what the consequences would be for the everyday population.


Reagan had dubbed the Soviet Union "the evil empire" in 1982, so the time seemed right to bring such a project to TV viewers. Stoddard hired Barnaby Jones writer Edward Hume to craft a script: Hume drew from research conducted into the effects of nuclear war and radiation fallout, including a 1978 government report, The Effects of Nuclear War, that contained a fictionalized examination of how a strike would play out in a densely populated area. Stoddard also enlisted Meyer, who had proven his directorial chops with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but considered the assignment a "civic responsibility" more than a creative endeavor.

Meyer and the film's producers selected Lawrence, Kansas (pop. 50,000) as the setting for the movie and got permission from city officials to turn their town into a post-apocalyptic landscape. Throughout the summer of 1982, tons of ash, dirt, and rubble were trucked in and spread over the ground; food coloring blackened farming crops. Thousands of locals were enlisted to portray victims of a nuclear attack, agreeing to roll in dirt and have their hair shaved off to simulate a miserable death via radiation poisoning.

Meyer believed that setting the film in a small town would make it more impactful and relatable to audiences. "Other movies that had attempted to deal with the subject of nuclear holocaust had always been set in big cities," he recalled in 2003. "But a great number of people in the United States do not live in big cities, so they were witnessing an event that seemed to bear scant relation to them."

That pursuit of realism wasn't always to the network's benefit. ABC originally planned a four-hour film to run on two consecutive nights, but filling up that much commercial time proved to be a challenge. Fearing a graphic and partisan display of anti-nuclear propaganda, many loyal advertisers refused to let their spots air during The Day After. (Meyer later joked that all the "generals" pulled out, including General Mills and General Foods.) They were ultimately able to sell a little over 10 minutes of commercial time, which prompted executives to condense the movie to a two-hour presentation. Meyer, who thought the script was padded to begin with, agreed with the decision.

ABC sensed that the film would be provocative and took unprecedented steps to handle the inevitable viewer response. A 1-800 number was set up to field calls from people concerned about an actual nuclear disaster; the network also issued pamphlets that acted as viewing guides, with fact sheets on nuclear weapons. Psychologists warned audiences would experience "feelings of depression and helplessness." Meyer was, in effect, making a disaster movie with the characters being offered no help of rescue. The film had been openly endorsed by anti-nuclear organizations as being a $7 million advertisement for their stance, and some TV industry observers wondered whether ABC would even air it at all.


Prior to The Day After's November 20 debut, actor John Cullum appeared onscreen and delivered a warning. Calling the film "unusually disturbing," he advised young children to be led away from the television and for parents to be prepared to field questions older kids might have.

A still from 'The Day After' (1983)

With that, The Day After commenced. It was every bit as terrifying as viewers had been told it would be. For the first 50 minutes or so, actors like Jason Robards, John Lithgow, and Steve Guttenberg established their characters in Lawrence, largely oblivious to an incident on the border of East Germany that triggered an armed response from both Russia and the U.S. As missiles fell, a mushroom cloud vaporized the community; those who survived were doomed to brief and miserable lives as radiation destroyed their bodies.

Dramatizing what had previously been a sterile discussion about nuclear defenses had its intended effect. Viewers shuffled away from their televisions in a daze, struck by the bleak consequences of an attack. The people of Lawrence, who had a private screening, were particularly affected—it was their town that appeared destroyed. Residents exited the theater crying.

What ABC lacked in ad revenue it more than made up for in ratings. The mammoth audience was comparable to Super Bowl viewership; the network even presented a post-"game" show of sorts, with Ted Koppel hosting a roundtable discussion of the nuclear threat featuring Carl Sagan and William F. Buckley. Sagan is believed to have coined the term "nuclear winter" on the program, while Secretary of State George Shultz argued the necessity of harboring nuclear weapons to make sure the nation could protect itself.

The experience stuck with Reagan, who signed a nuclear arms treaty—the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty—with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, leading to longstanding speculation that The Day After may have helped sober political attitudes toward mutually assured destruction.


More from mental floss studios