50 Famous Voice Actors You May Not Recognize
We all have our favorite cartoon characters and sometimes we can relate to them more than real-life characters. The issue is, we tend to fall in love with the characters themselves and begin to think about them as actual people. However, behind our favorite characters are the people who voice these characters and make them come to life. Most of these voice actors tend to live a low-profile life and prefer it that way. However, if you've ever wondered who voices the character you see on TV all the time, scroll through this list and find out just who these people are.
Tara Strong isn’t a super famous name or face in the entertainment industry but the odds are you’ve heard her voice a couple of times if you’re a big fan of cartoons. Thanks to voice-over roles like Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls, and Timmy Turner in Fairly Odd Parents, she’s become a notable force in the voice-over realm.
In addition to the voice-over work she’s done in these famous cartoons, Strong has also been featured in film and TV, and her voice has also been lent to video games like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid.
In the voice acting world, Jim Cummings is a certified legend whose voice has been featured in about 400 films. His most famous voice acting role is Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, roles he began voicing in 1988, and he continues to lend his voice to these roles to date.
In addition to being a terrific and difficult-to-replace voice actor, Cummings is also quite a talented singer. After actor Jeremy Irons developed some vocal issues, he was replaced by Cummings for the role of Scar in The Lion King II.
Known to many as the man of a thousand voices, Mel Blanc is another voice acting legend, and a big shot in the community that is regarded as one of the most exemplary voice actors ever. Mel began his career as a radio actor but then he landed the role of Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes and his career picked up from there.
That role became his most famous as he voiced the rabbit character for nearly three decades but he wasn’t a one-act star. Blanc also got to voice other fan-favorite characters like Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, and more.
Bart Simpson is the most famous ten-year-old on TV so being the voice-over actor behind the character, Nancy Cartwright is quite a big deal herself. Cartwright has been the voice of the character since the show kicked off in 1989, and she’s also voiced a couple of the other characters like Ralph and Nelson.
In addition to her frontline role on The Simpsons, the voice-over star is also known for voicing Rufus in Kim Impossible and Chuckie Finster in the Rugrats.
Thanks to his role as everyone’s favorite dog character, Scooby-Doo, Frank Welker has become something of voice-over royalty. Once the cartoons sprang up in 2002, Welker was handed the voice-over role of the dog’s friend, Fred but then he took up the role of Scooby himself soon enough.
While Scooby-Doo is by far his most famous voice-over role, it’s far from the only role he’s known for as Welker has also been featured on the big screen as the voice of the Dragon in Shrek.
Billy West is known for his role as the voice of Fry, the space-hopping postal delivery guy in Futurama. In addition to that role, West has also voiced famous cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, which he also voiced in Space Jam.
In addition to cartoon characters, and voice-over work for movies, Billy West is also known for his role in a couple of TV ads, including the one in which he starred as the huge red M&M in a confectionary TV ad.
E.G. Daily is a force to be reckoned with in the voice-over community as she’s the force that made the most iconic baby on the 90s cartoon Rugrats. She voiced the character of Tommy Pickles on Rugrats from 1991-2004, and she also did the character’s voice-over in the three movies made about the show.
In addition to her work on Rugrats, Daily also voiced Buttercup, the kindergarten crimefighter in The Powerpuff Girls. The iconic voice actress has lent her voice to numerous TV productions, and she also voiced Babe for a while.
Cree Summer became quite famous thanks to her voice-over work as Penny on the fan-favorite cartoon Inspector Gadget. She was the character’s voice in the 80s and 90s, and she also voiced Susie Carmichael in Rugrats from 1993-2004.
Despite the fact that she rose to fame decades ago, Summer continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the voice acting community, and she recently voiced the character of Catwoman in DC Super Hero Girls, proving that she’s still got it.
Kevin Michael Richardson
Kevin Michael Richardson voices villainous characters so well that he’s become something like the go-to actor for such roles. Known for his patented deep and dark voice, Richardson is known for voicing the Joker in the animated series The Batman.
As a result of that role and his unique voice, Richardson is quite the big name in the superhero world and he’s also voiced other characters like the highly likable Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series, Wolverine in the Black Panther animated series, and more.
Pinky and the Brain is great but it wouldn’t be anywhere as good if not for the role of Rob Paulsen as the voice behind the smartest mouse in the world. For his role as the character, Rob Paulsen won a Daytime Emmy Award, and he also made a contribution to the iconic fan-favorite theme tune from the cartoon.
In addition to his headlining role in Pinky and the Brain, Paulsen is also known for voicing other cartoon characters like Donatello and Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Phil LaMarr is a renowned voice actor and superhero portrayer that is best known for his voice-over role as The Green Lantern in the animated series Justice League.
Far from a one-act wonder, LaMarr has portrayed a host of other cartoon characters as well, including Gambit in Wolverine and the X-men, and Flash in DC Super Hero Girls. Besides these roles we’ve highlighted so far, Phil LaMarr is also known for portraying the character of Hermes Conrad, the Planet Express manager in Futurama.
Tress MacNeille is a successful voice-over actor that has been the voice behind many successful cartoon characters like Daisy Duck, her most famous character, which she’s managed to reprise to date.
MacNeille also voiced Dot in Animaniacs, the Warner Brother series, and she’s known for voicing a couple of characters on The Simpsons. Some of the characters she’s played in that cartoon series include the famous Dolph and Agnes Skinner, so her voice-over pedigree is of the legendary kind.
Tom Kenny is the man and the voice that made Spongebob so great. In addition to voicing the Krusty Krab’s most valuable employee and making it a great cartoon character, Tom Kenny has also worked on other animated projects like Adventure Time which he starred in, and lent his voice to the Ice King character.
Kenny is known for being the narrator in The Powerpuff Girls, and he’s also ventured into the world of video games, where he voiced the character Spyro in Spyro The Dragon.
James Earl Jones
Darth Vader is one of the most famous characters in recent memory, and it’s hard to find a movie fan that doesn’t know the character. The character was portrayed by British bodybuilder David Prowse but voiced by Jones, and we have both of them to thank for bringing to life one of the scariest characters in the world.
Thanks to his booming, bass-rich voice, even simple commands from Vader come out with considerable, thunderous force. The curious thing is Jones didn’t even want credit for the character at first as he thought it was nothing more than special effects.
In recent times, video games have provided a nice background with intriguing stories, and are therefore a nice medium for storytelling. It is in light of this that Nolan North emerged as the voice of video games in the 2000s and 2010s.
North is quite the versatile performer, evidenced by his portrayal of varying characters like Prince of Persia and Oswald Cobblepot. Yet, none of those earned him attention like his voicing of the character of Nathan Drake in Uncharted. For that voice-over role, he’s won numerous, well-deserved accolades and has become incredibly famous.
Mark Hamill has done so much in the voice-over community, and as a result, he’s enjoyed a tremendous career that proves how everything falls into place once you do everything right.
He’s best known for playing Luke Skywalker but he’s an even better voice-over actor that had a terrific run as the Joker in the Batman Animated series. Thanks to Hamill’s work as the voice of the character, a lot about how the character is perceived and portrayed has been altered significantly.
Seth McFarlane began his career as a voice-over actor before making his way to movies. McFarlane’s unique humor is well-known, as are his incredible gifts as a voice-over actor; the actor has won a couple of Emmy Awards for voice acting, winning all but one award he was nominated for.
Seth can sing, dance, act, and portray everything from a talking dog to a Hannibal-Lecter infant, switching between contrasting characters with ease. Safe to say he has earned a place among the voice-over greats despite the many criticisms that Family Guy gets.
Laura Bailey is a superstar extraordinaire voice-over actor that is a household name in the voice-over community. Bailey is essentially the female voice of the English-language versions of famous video games and anime.
She began by playing Trunks in Dragon Ball Z before landing roles in several Western animation features like Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The Powerpuff Girls. Her fans cut across many genres, and she’s lent her voice to a host of incredible video games over the years.
Hank Azaria is a terrific actor and an even better voice-over actor best known for portraying familiar characters on The Simpsons such as Cletus, Snake Jailbird, Professor Frink, and Chief Wiggum, and at one point he portrayed others like Carl, Apu, and Bumblebee Man.
Voicing even one or a couple of the characters Hank Azaria has played is enough to make anyone royalty in the world of voice-over acting so the fact that he’s played so many of them over the years is evidence of his unique combination of talent, luck, and skill.
Justin Roiland is the co-creator of Rick and Morty, which is one of the most famous shows in the world of animation. Besides being such a huge creative force on that show, Roiland is also a terrific voice actor that has lent his voice to several intriguing characters both on the show and off it.
Over the run of Rick and Morty, Roiland has voiced a number of characters including the titular Rick and Morty to great effect. After delivering such a remarkable performance, the world got to know his incredible voice-acting talent and he’s since landed other gigs.
Tom Petty was a terrific singer and actor known for being affiliated with the Traveling Wilburys, the Heartbreakers, and the Mudcrutch. When he passed away, fans shared their favorite moments but only a few know that he was also a decent voice-over actor.
Petty voiced a character on King of the Hill, the long-running Mike Judge sitcom. After coming up with a character inspired by Tom Petty called Lucky, the creators of King of the Hill approached him about voicing the role and were surprised when he agreed to voice the character.
Carlos Alazraqui got his start by lending his voice to some of the most remarkable cartoons produced in the 90s, including Rocko’s Modern Life. Carlos voiced the titular character and his dog Spunky in the show and was therefore a fan favorite thanks to the adult humor incorporated into his characters’ utterances.
Since then, Alazraqui has voiced over 100 different characters on shows over the years, and he once again featured in the Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling movie special reunion released in 2018.
Michael Cera’s uncanny ability to portray awkward, anti-social teenage characters in movies has made him revered but not everyone knows he’s also a terrific voice-over actor. He was featured as the voice of Brother Bear in The Berenstain Bears, which was a PBS animated show inspired by the children’s books.
For about 62 episodes from 2003 to 2004, Cera voiced the character, and he also lent his voice to other cartoon characters like Josh Spitz in Braceface and Uncle Gizmo’s younger self in Rolie Polie Olie.
James Avery was best known for his role as Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but it would be an injustice to not talk about how much work he put into the recording studio over the years. He lent his voice to a host of cartoon characters over the years, including James Rhodes in Iron Man or Mr. Clapper in Pepper Ann.
He also voiced the character of Oroku, the antagonist in The Shredder Saki. For the first seven seasons of the famous show, Avery voiced the character and starred in a total of 106 episodes.
John Ritter is best known for his roles in It and Three’s Company but those aren’t the only projects that have been graced by his talents. For a lot of 90s kids, Ritter’s role as the voice of the titular character on Clifford the Big Red Dog has made him an icon, as he voiced the gigantic and likable red dog in 64 episodes of the show.
Before passing away in 2003, Ritter had already recorded his voicework for what was his first feature film, Clifford’s Really Big Movie. The movie was released in 2004 and is dedicated to Ritter.
LeVar Burton portrayed Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge so well in Star Trek: The Next Generation that some fans struggle to remember his other performances, but the truth is his body of work is far more expansive than one good project.
He was the host of Reading Rainbow, a famous PBS children’s series, and he’s also voiced a number of characters in animated shows over the years. In a 2009 episode of The Super Hero Squad Show, Burton voiced the character of War Machine.
George Clooney’s legacy is incomplete without his roles in Ocean’s Eleven and ER but some of his best work has come in voice-acting. The Academy Award-winning actor lent his voice to the titular character in Fantastic Mr. Fox, and he has also been featured in South Park a couple of times.
He was enlisted to lend his voice to Sparky, the canine companion of Stan Marsh; he was then called back to play the doctor that replaced a heart with a baked potato. He also does a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the projects he’s featured in are successful.
Roughly thirty years ago, Katey Sagal became incredibly famous thanks to her role as Peggy Bundy, on Married…with Children. She’s also played the role of Gemma Teller Morrow on Sons of Anarchy but a lot of her fans don’t know that she also does some voice acting work as well.
Sagal has lent her voice to Planet Express captain Turanga Leela, a leading character in Futurama, starring as the character in about 124 episodes. Even when that show ended as a result of being canceled, memories of her remarkable work remain to this day.
Even though he’s not as well-known for his voice-acting talents, Tim Curry is a terrific voice actor that has lent his voice to a number of video games and movies. He typically performs in a nasal and distinctive English accent that can be difficult to comprehend sometimes.
Curry voiced the character of Nigel Thornberry, the naturalist and expert zoologist, voicing the character in about 90 episodes of The Wild Thornberrys from 1998 to 2004. A lot of memes sprang from his characterization of Nigel, and he continues to lend his voice to characters to this day.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster is best known for playing the role of Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones, and for playing Newt in Maze Runner. The rising star is also a prolific voice performer that has been featured in a number of famous cartoons recently.
His English accent made the intelligent character of Ferb Fletcher such a hit in more than 120 episodes of Phineas and Ferb. He also recently lent his voice to the character of John Tracy in Thunderbirds Are Go.
The two characters that were in the 90s MTV show, Beavis and Butt-Head, were voiced by Mike Judge, the creator of the show. Even though the two are distinct characters, they were presented as a package on the show, and they quickly attained iconic status thanks to their cranky teenage humor, burnouts, and unusual humor.
Despite being a package on the show, and even though they were voiced by the same person, the characters have different voices as Judge used a higher pitch for Beavis, and a deeper voice for Butt-Head.
Winnie the Pooh is a likable and wholesome cartoon character that comes off as too good to be true sometimes. Sterling Holloway, who’s a legend in the voice-acting community, voiced the character.
Holloway is also known for voicing other famous characters like the snake, Kaa, in The Jungle Book, and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, and he’s also lent his voice to a couple of commercials. Holloway voiced Winnie the Pooh until 1977 when Jim Cummings and Hal Smith took up the character’s voicing and deviated from its original tone.
Daria was an MTV show, a Beavis and Butt-Head spinoff that ran for five seasons in the late 90s to early 2000s. The show tells the story of Daria Morgendorffer, a high-school girl that was as misanthropic as every other chuckling classmate of hers.
She was portrayed as being highly intelligent with a sharp wit, and the character was brought to life by Tracy Grandstaff who doubled as a writer on the series. Tracy’s droning monotone emphasized the fact that she wasn’t impressed with what was happening around her.
Bet you didn’t know that the original Transformers animated series aired in the 1980s. For many fans that saw the original series, the voice of Optimus Prime in the original is the only one worth tuning in to.
The character was voiced by Peter Cullen, a Canadian voice actor that became the first voice of Optimus Prime. Cullen didn’t lace his voicing of the character with a lot of emotion, opting instead to go with an authoritative tone that was only sympathetic and gentle enough to earn the adoration of fellow bots.
Marty Moose and the universe of the National Lampoon’s Vacation have lit up many holidays for their biggest fans, yet Moose isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite cartoon moose. That title belongs to Bullwinkle J. Moose from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
The creator of the show, Bill Scott, voiced the character, and in the process, he created one of the most iconic cartoon voices ever. Scott enjoyed a terrific career voicing the character from 1959 until he passed away in 1985.
Anyone who’s seen the Fox TV series Futurama will know that Bender is arguably the most vividly cranky cartoon robot ever. With the exception of the two people on his Do Not Kill list, there’s basically no one that Bender truly likes, and even though he was created to bend metal, the character derives lots of joy from human voices.
The disgruntled, raunchy personality goes perfectly with the voice-over provided by John DiMaggio, who is himself a skilled voice-over actor. Bender’s voice was portrayed with a surly native New Yorker accent complete with a wheezy laugh.
Lots of legendary animation characters were brought to the fore by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna, whose remarkable collaboration produced the likes of Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and Fred Flintstone.
However, their first character to become a household name was Yogi Bear, who had a knack for stealing the baskets of those that visited the forest he lived in. The character was voiced by Daws Butler who lent his voice to it until he died in 1988, and a couple of other voice actors have since voiced the character.
South Park wouldn’t be as puzzling without the incredible cruelty perpetrated by Eric Cartman over the course of several seasons. The character was voiced by Trey Parker, the show's co-creator, whose voice evokes feelings of a despicable person.
The whiny, high-pitched voice has a super-sharp edge that only gets worse when the character is upset. The voice was also artificially amended for a higher pitch so it really approaches ear-piercing territory in spurts. It is therefore quite surprising that the other characters hang out with Cartman.
Back in 1930, the Betty Boop character was born, and it quickly became an icon to the 1920s women that wore bobbed hair and short skirts.
With her gigantic eyes, huge head, and baby face, this was one of the first sexy animated characters on TV, but America became more conservative in the 30s, and the character became a controversial one. Although Margie Hines voiced the character at first, Mae Questel ended up being the one that made the character pop, giving Betty her iconic voice.
The Simpsons started out as a couple of comedic shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show but then it emerged as a show itself and is now one of the most famous and longest-running animated shows ever.
For more than 30 years, the show has been aired, and Dan Castellaneta has been the only voice of Homer Simpson, the feature character. Castellaneta’s slow-paced speech works tremendously for the character, so much so that Homer just wouldn’t be the same without Dan.
Popeye the Sailor was first featured in Thimble Theater, a 1929 comic strip, and after that run, he was unveiled as a major cartoon character in a couple of Max Fleischer productions. While the character has been voiced by a number of actors over the years, William Costello deserves some credit for getting it all started in 1933.
Jack Mercer also voiced the character from 1935 to 1984 but his time with the character was far from stable. Mae Questel also voiced the character from 1945 to 1961.
DJ Casey Kasem
In many Scooby-Doo movies and TV series, Scooby-Doo himself is the star of the show, and Shaggy, his human companion, is known for his iconic voice. Shaggy is typically either hungry or scared and thanks to DJ Casey Kasem, those contrasting emotions can always be detected in Shaggy’s voice.
Thanks to Kasem’s high-pitched voice, you get the vibe that the character is constantly in a state of high emotion from enthusiasm or fright as his speech always has some quiver to it.
Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic animated characters ever. Created back in 1928 by Walt Disney himself, the character was voiced by Disney for the first couple of talkie appearances.
A total of fifteen different people have lent their voices to the character with inspiration from Disney’s unique and shy falsetto. Wayne Allwine however, enjoyed a spell longer than most as he voiced the character in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. He basically filled in for Walt Disney like all the others.
The Dennis the Menace cartoon series was one of the most remarkable in the 80s, and as a result, many kids from that era were drawn to it. Inspired by a live-action series of the same name, this was based on Hank Ketcham’s comic strip with Phil Hartman voicing the character of Mr. Wilson in the pioneer season.
However, for some reason, Hartman opted to not return for the show’s second season but his charisma and voice lit up the character while it lasted.
Stacy Ann Ferguson
Ever since she emerged as a child star to look out for, Stacy Ann Ferguson has put in the work for her performances. As a child, she was featured on the TV show Kids Incorporated from 1983 to 1989, and she also lent her voice to the character of Sally Brown, creating an iconic voice in the process.
She voiced the character in many Peanut specials, and she also played the role in The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Others like Jodie Sweetin have also played the role.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Simba is a standout character in the fan-favorite animated movie, The Lion King. The character was voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who got his big break on The Bradys.
For the Simba character, Thomas's youthful energy and boyish voice were in perfect sync with the character's inquisitive nature as Simba had to deal with the loss of his father, Mufasa, and betrayal from his uncle, Scar. Besides The Lion King and The Bradys, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is also known for his role in the show Home Improvement.
Disney's live-action animations are a terrific spin on several classic cartoons, with some standout ones like Tangled earning high ratings. Tangled tells the story of Rapunzel, who was voiced by Mandy Moore, a terrific singer, and even better voice-over actress.
Before lending her voice to the memorable Disney character, Moore had churned out hit songs like, "I Wanna Be With You" and "Candy" in the 90s and 2000s. Moore has also starred in hit shows such as The Princess Diaries and A Walk to Remember.
The 2009 animated movie Caroline features Dakota Fanning as the voice of the titular Coraline Jones character. Fanning was one of the biggest child stars of her generation so the character got some nice twists from their similar train of thought.
The entire themes of dark humor, horror, and fantasy were all captured in Fanning's standout voice-over acting for the character. The child star was only ten years old when she began to lend her voice to the resourceful and courageous Caroline character.
Ghostbusters became incredibly popular after it was released in the 1980s. The animated series was really just a sequel to the well-received Ghostbusters movie.
Comedic actor Arsenio Hall lent his voice to the character of Winston Zeddemore for the first three seasons of the show before he got too busy for the character. Once Hall took a step back from the show and the character, Buster Jones took his place and portrayed the character for the final four seasons.