Had it not been for the wizardry of voice actors, animation would never have risen from just a form of silent entertainment into the juggernaut it is today.
With animated shows and movies taking the center stage, the significance of voice actors has escalated enormously. Our favourite characters from Winnie the Pooh to Peter Griffin have a distinct voice and it’s something that adds a ton of magic to viewers’ overall experience.
We’ve heard and compared tons of animated characters from shows and movies to bring to you our list of best voice actors of all time. As a quick heads up, the emphasis here is on US male actors!
As usual, we would love to hear your think about our picks, so do mention your thoughts in the comments below.
One word can describe Mark Hamill – versatile. Hamill is a voice experimenter who has left an indelible mark in both films and shows. Mark Hamill has voiced a multitude of characters – most of whom differ in tone and pitch by miles.
He voiced Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In addition to playing Joker multiple times in Batman since 1992, he has provided his voice for Spider-Man: The Animated Series, American Dad!, and Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
What’s more, Hamill is an important member of the exclusive club of voice actors who have proved their mettle as live-movie actors.
A voice-acting vet, Dan Castellaneta is best known for his long uninterrupted association with The Simpsons. Dan voices the head of the family, Homer Simpson – besides a smattering of others including Grampa, Krusty the Clown, and Mayor Quimby. In addition, he has also lent his voice to programs such as Futurama, Back to the Future: The Animated Series, and Hey Arnold! among others.
Castellaneta is highly revered in the industry for his ability to play with the core of his gripping voice.
Jim Cummings is the champion of voices. Active since the 80s, Jim has been one of Warner Bros. and The Walt Disney Company’s most prolific voice actors. He has been the head voice of several popular animation series – having been voicing iconic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Pete, Tasmanian Devil, and Tigger for over two decades.
In addition to acting in countless animated series and movies, Jim has also graced live-action movies and video games with his voice. As a result, the voice-master has voiced over 400 roles to his credit.
For over three decades, Tom Kenny has been one of the most productive voice actors in the industry.
Kenny took himself from drawing and stand-up comedy to such a standard in voice art that even a highly trained singer would be envious of his versatility and range of voices he can pull off.
He is the voice behind illustrious characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Heffer Wolfe, Ice King, and Doctor Octopus. Not only in animation series, but Kenny’s incredible art can also be seen in live-action movies and even video games.
An inspiration for both voice acting vets and newbs, Mel Blanc discovered and honed up a voicing technique that many voice actors use even today. In a career spanning over 60 years, Mel starred in a number of comedy radio programs and early animation shows. Afterwards, Mel went on to define the golden age of American animation with his roles as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, and many more.
Besides voicing characters, Mel Blanc was a dab hand at producing vocal sound effects in his shows. Among fans, he is known as The Man of a Thousand Voices.
Frank Welker has taken voice acting to a whole another level. He has worked with almost all major animation production companies since he kickstarted his career in the late 60s – with roles in the very first Scooby-Doo movie and TV series.
The voice acting legend has kept busy through the last five decades with regular roles in shows, movies, and video games. He has been voicing Fred Jones since 1969 and Scooby-Doo since 2002. Other notable characters Frank has played include Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Megatron, Curious George, and Shao Kahn.
With over 800 roles under his belt, Frank is the third highest-grossing actor of all time. And he continues to add more with his moneymaking voice.
Peter Cullen shouts in a crowd of tons of people, and you would know it’s him – such is his unique voice. He has provided his voice for Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh and Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated series.
It’s interesting to note that Eeyore and Optimus Prime are two very different voices – as far apart as anything can be. And, it’s something that speaks volumes about the voice range Peter is capable of covering.
Seth MacFarlane is the owner of a very special skill. He can juggle different voices at a given moment – so as to create a scenery of interaction between different characters – with his voice alone. Best known for voicing important characters of Family Guy and American Dad! Seth also gained widespread acclaim for his performance as the charismatic, foul-mouthed teddy bear, Ted in the Ted movies.
Though not as popular as Frank Sinatra, Seth, through his shows, has often highlighted his solid singing skills.
Given his voicing capabilities, we guess as a child Billy West was a tongue-twister champion. Billy West is everywhere his voice could possibly take him – radio, music, tv, movies, games, and even commercials. He has played such popular characters as Popeye, Bugs Bunny, and Shaggy.
He is the lead voice actor in the animated sci-fi sitcom, Futurama – playing Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, and a couple more.
West is also famous for being a very detailed impressionist having showcased his skills on The Howard Stern Show.
Do you know him? Probably not. Have you heard him? In all probability, yes. Daws Butler has given his voice to some of the most adored early cartoon characters from Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear to Elroy Jetson in The Jetsons. Butler was capable of dipping his voice into any kind of emotional flavour he wanted – be it joyful, angry, or sad.
Butler had a unique style of approaching his work. He would take inspiration from the voice of popular actors of the time to give a special texture to his character’s voice. Interesting, isn’t it?
There we have it, the list of our favourite voice actors of all time. What do you think about our picks? Who is your favourite on our list? Let us know in the comments below.
So there we have it, our 10 picks for favourite voice actors in the US and Canada.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!