Favorite Voice Actors

  1. Mel Blanc
  2. Billy West
  3. Dan Castallaneta
  4. Daws Butler
  5. Harry Shearer
  6. Mark Hammil
  7. Kevin Conroy
  8. Hal Smith
  9. Hank Azaria
  10. Phil Hartman
  11. Mike Judge
  12. Will Ryan
  13. Sterling Holloway

Phil Hartman-

You may remember him from such roles as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure.

...as well as from such musicals as "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!" Such self-help videos as "Smoke Yourself Thin" and "Get Confident, Stupid!" Such show business funerals as "Andre The Giant, We Hardly Knew Ye" and "Shemp Howard, Today We Mourn A Stooge." Such automated information kiosks as "Welcome to Springfield Airport" and "Where's Nordstrom?" Such Drivers' Ed films as "Alice's Adventures through the Windshield Glass" and "The Decapitation of Larry Leadfoot." Such nature films as "Earwigs: Ewwww" and "Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory." Such educational films as "Fuzzy Bunny's Guide To You-Know-What" and "Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly." Such public service videos as "Designated Drivers: The Lifesaving Nerds" and "Phony Tornado Alarms Reduce Readiness." Such TV spinoffs as "Son of Sanford and Son" and "AfterMannix." Such Bible epics as "David Vs. Super-Goliath" and "Suddenly Last Supper." Such instructional videos as "Mothballing Your Battleship" and "Dig Your Own Grave and Save." Such medical films as "Alice Doesn't Live Anymore" and "Mommy, What's Wrong With That Man's Face?" Such cartoons as "Christmas Ape" and "Christmas Ape Goes To Summer Camp." Such telethons as "Out With Gout '88" and "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House." Such Fox network specials as "Alien Nose Job" and "Five Fabulous Weeks of the Chevy Chase Show." And such films as "Dial M for Murderousness," "The Muppets Go Medieval," "The Greatest Story Ever Hulaed," "Leper in the Backfield," "The President's Neck is Missing!" "Look Who's Still Oinking" and "Good-Time Slim, Uncle Doobie, and the Great 'Frisco Freak-Out."

Thx to The Troy McClure Pretty-Much-Everything Site for the nostalgic review.

"Say Hello to Miguel Sanchez!"


argh! How could I could forget the late great Hartman!?!?!?!

Oh my goodness! This has totally burrowed into my brain.

If you'll permit: I think the reason that you forgot Phil Hartman is that great voice actors create characters that are complete. All great actors make you forget that they are playing a character and they become the character. Therefore it's unlikely that people will be aware that it is Phil Hartman playing Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, Lyle Lanley, Moses and more.

The beyond category Mel Blanc managed to invent distinct voices for the Warner Bros. stable of animated actors that included Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester, Tweety, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin Martian, Pepe Le Pew and Bugs Bunny. Because of Blanc's iconic status audiences are sometimes able to remember that the same guy performed all of those characters but they forget that Blanc also performed Woody Woodpecker, Mr. Spacely, Captain Caveman and Barney Rubble.

Of course some actors are one character and one character only in our minds: Casey Kasem-Shaggy, Lorenzo Music-Garfield, Bill Scott-Bullwinkle and the transcendent Yeardley Smith-Lisa Simpson.

I love June Foray's work as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale, Nell and inumerable princesses. I feel like an idiot that I had forgotten that she also did Witch Hazel (Warner Bros.) and I never knew that she also did Granny (Warner Bros.) and Jane Kangaroo (Horton Hears a Who.)

I'd also like to mention Mike Judge who doesn't get enough credit for Beavis, Butt-head, Principal McVicker, Hank Hill and the immortal Boomhauer. (Stephen Root crushes as Bill Dauterive on King of the Hill.)

Jason Alexander, Gregg Berger and Dweezil Zappa carried Duckman for three (or four?) seasons. I am eagerly awaiting Wallace Shawn's performance in The Incredibles because he was so great as Rex in Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

I must get this topic out of my brain. It's like crack without the petty crime.

Lol, thanks for all the suggestions.

I also love Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson, but I'd want to sample a variety of work before considering her for this list. I haven't heard much of June Foray, Jason Alexander, Gregg Berger, Dweezil Zappa, or Wallace Shawn's work to know if I think they're great :-)

No, don't get this topic off your brain! Keep making excellent suggestions!

Yeardley Smith has only done Lisa Simpson, her voice is just too distinctive. When she was on Herman's head all I could do was think, "Why is that woman channeling the voice of Lisa Simpson?" But her Lisa is perfect and is the voice on The Simpsons that least relies on gimmicks. "When I get married I'm keeping my OWN name! Uh, shouldn't that be IF I get married."

Speaking of cereal (see below), Thurl Ravenscroft did Tony the Tiger. He also sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Daws Butler did Hanna-Barbara's Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick-Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Jinks the cat, Dixie the mouse, Augie Doggie, Peter Potamus, Wally Gator, Hokey Wolf, Super Snooper, Blabber Mouse, Cogswell Cogs, Elroy Jetson and many others. He also provided the voice of Cap'n Crunch.

Well, I have to give it to him just for Cap'n Crunch alone, then! :-)

Yes, I know I'll get some flak for Sterling Halloway :-)

I saw Billy West at Dragon*Con 2004. He was very funny in person, self-effacing, charming, and his natural voice didn't sound at all like any of his characters. I think he's a genius.

Really? I heard his voice on the Futurama DVD commentaries, and I thought it sounded just like Fry. Was he altering his voice for some reason, or have you not seen Futurama?

But anwyay, I'm jealous. Billy West is one of the funniest voice actors of all-time.

I've seen Futurama, but the voice I heard in person was pitched lower and sounded more relaxed. He was part of a panel discussing Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

More relaxed? Maybe that's because Fry is constantly encountering / fighting / fleeing grotesque monsters in the show. Which often leads to screaming at a high pitch. :-)

Or maybe it was his "personal appearance" voice.

A friend hooked me up with a feed of Ken Burns' latest documentary Unforgivable Blackness and it is wonderful in any number of ways. The visual style is (as always) masterful, stunning, elegiac. What with all of the publicity and promotion that froth about and shroud Ken Burns it is so easy to forget why the tide runs so strong through his works. I closed my eyes as the piece began. I'd like to think that I did it because I was trying to listen to the soundtrack but people tell me it was because I was tired. What brought me out of my contemplative state was the first voice that I heard. It was the fiery garden gnome from Wynton Marsalis' lawn, Stanley Crouch.

Stanley Crouch's combative vocal and verbal style is distinctive even without seeing the pocket handkerchief hand movements that accompany his words. My eyes stayed closed as I had an epiphany: Ken Burns and his repertory of narrative actors have completely transformed the art of voice-overs. Matching actor's voices to long dead (or silent) personages is now an art form and Burns has assembled a clique of performers who act like a great jazz orchestra. I can still hear George Plimpton delivering the diary words of George Templeton Strong in The Civil War and Plimpton reappears as himself in Unforgivable Blackness .

Ken Burns must edit (if in fact he does edit) with his eyes closed because Unforgivable Blackness would work as a radio documentary. (This actually hurts the piece when silent films of boxing matches are "punched up" with the sounds of fists and the crowds.) Keith David, of course, is the narrator while Samuel L. Jackson devotes his talent and the emotional resonance of his voice to the role of Jack Johnson. The other two voices to round out the opening quartet are Stanley Crouch and James Earl Jones. They are followed by the inimitable boxing writer/raconteur Bert Sugar, historian Gerald Early and Puerto Rican Light Heavyweight Champion Jose Torres with Eli Wallach, Joe Morton, Billy Bob Thornton and Alan Rickman playing different characters. That's one fine starting eleven with Adam Arkin, Ed Harris, Derek Jacobi, Amy Madigan, Courtney B. Vance and the true undefeated heavyweight champion, Studs Terkel, still to come. (I haven't seen the second half/night yet.)

Unforgivable Blackness is a delight to hear. I hope to see it someday soon.

Man, I discovered your post totally by luck. I almost never look at my long list of archived content, but I noticed one of them had a new post, so I checked and found your post here. I'll add this one to my 'to see' list, it looks pretty cool. Thanks!