Best Celebrity Voice Acting Roles
Voice acting is a much more lucrative business than one might imagine, with the actors in question providing their voice for animated movies, video games, television shows, voice overs, and anything else that requires a voice but no face. Some actors do only that kind of work, giving themselves a certain amount of fame in that industry, such as “The Simpsons” cast.
Everything changed when voice acting became a business not only for unknowns, but also an attractive fad for celebrities who wanted to broaden their horizons … or make a movie “for the kids.” Now it seems that no animated movie can come out without some big name celeb being attached, and animated shows trumpet their guest starring celebs to catch the interest of the viewer.
Here’s a look at some of the best celebrity voice acting roles, and by all means, add your own favorites in the comments!
“Aladdin” was the first time marketing surrounded the use of a certain actor in an animated role. The fast talking comedian was not exactly fit for kids in his own stand up, but as the break-out character Genie he cemented his position in any Disney lover’s memory. Funny, sharp, and often breaking the 4th wall, Genie is a fan favorite and earned such loving regard that this was the start of celebs coming over to the voice work side. Williams also did some voice acting in Ferngully, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and Robots.
Ellen is known for causing waves, although usually they are full of positive energy and laughter. As a unique and prominent female comedian, she startled audiences by coming out as homosexual on Oprah Winfrey, and then on her show “Ellen.” Years later she starred as Dory, a sweet hearted fish with short-term memory loss, in Pixar’s hit “Finding Nemo.” The movie was a smash hit and Ellen’s character in particular received glowing reviews and several award nominations. Since then she has shot to stardom with her highly successful daytime television show. Ellen said herself that she keeps waiting for “Finding Nemo 2,” and who wouldn’t want to see Dory back on the big screen? We certainly wouldn’t forget about it ten seconds later!
It is still difficult to look at Mark Hamill and not think LUKE SKYWALKER OMG, even after all the years and the prequel Star Wars movies. Fans who might wonder why Hamill never seemed to get a good career afterward just do not realize how successful the actor is in the voice acting world. This all began with his memorable role as the Joker in “Batman: The Animated Series.” His Joker was hilarious, maniacal, smarmy, and impossible to forget. He played the Joker in the show, the animated films afterward, and any other series related to the character (“The New Batman Adventures”, “Justice League,” and “Superman: The Animated Series” for example). Hamill has voiced several other comic villains for the DC Animated Universe, but it hasn’t stopped there. You’ll be shocked at how busy the actor really is. His voice is made of gold, and soon you might not think of him as Luke Skywalker … but as the Joker instead!
Eddie Murphy is considered one of the most successful former “Saturday Night Live” cast members there is, but for awhile in the 1990s he was having trouble getting his career on track. Murphy decided to change his image somewhat into a family-friendly comedian, and a perfect way to do this would be to star in the very first winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. “Shrek” helped Dreamworks fight back against its rival Disney, and starred the voices of several big names: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, and Eddie Murphy. Murphy’s character Donkey was endearing, annoying as hell, and the perfect sidekick foil to the grumpy ogre Shrek. While Murphy may have made a clean transition into children’s movies without it, there is no doubt that “Shrek” is a huge part of his current reputation … and a positive one at that!
Ron Perlman in Many Many Video Games
You might know him as the smart mouthed Hellboy or even as Vincent on “Beauty and the Beast,” but video game fans know Perlman as Lord Terrence Hood in Halo and Halo 3, Batman in Justice League Heroes, Slade in Turok, and Mayor Hoodoo Brown in “Gun,” although those are just a few examples. He’s also done television voice acting for “Afro Samurai,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Teen Titans,” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” He’s basically a one-man acting machine and will be for years to come. I say bring it on Perlman!
Jack Black in Kung Fu Panda Sure “Kung Fu Panda” was crawling with big named celebs like Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, and David Cross … but it was really one man’s movie: Jack Black. He played the main character Po, an enthusiastic panda who idolizes the kung fu masters. He accidentally is targeted as the legendary Dragon Warrior, and everyone learns an important lesson about not judging books by their covers and how everyone has a hero inside of them. Jack Black is a comedian who isn’t always kid friendly and more than a little goofy, but this movie role really suited him in all his big hearted exuberance. Black has previously done voice acting for Ice Age, Shark Tale, and will be playing Po again in the upcoming film
Some time ago people may never have expected an Academy Award-winning actress would happily star in an animated film, but if you want to do an animated film, what better way than for Pixar? “The Incredibles” was about a family of superheroes who aren’t allowed to be heroes anymore, leading the father Mr. Incredible/Bob (Craig T. Nelson) to have a mid-life crisis, and his long suffering wife Elastigirl/Helen (Hunter herself) to try and keep the family together. Sexy, smart, and a super mom on top of it, Hunter provided the voice of a strong female character for the animated world that doesn’t just sit back and let her husband save the day. She’s right there next to him! “The Incredibles” received high critical acclaim and is universally beloved. Not bad, Ms. Hunter, now how about a sequel?