September 2 – Happy Birthday, Len Carlson

Posted on September 2, 2015

What does Professor Coldheart from the Care Bears and the Supreme Intelligence in the Marvel universe have in common?

They were both voiced by voice actor Len Carlson.

Voice actors are used to help bring to life many different kinds of entertainment, including animated movies and television shows, commercials, radio dramas, video games, amusement park rides, documentaries, audiobooks, and even puppet shows.

Voice actors often provide voices to fictional characters. Most of these characters are animated, but of course Darth Vader was acted by David Prowse but famously voiced by James Earl Jones!

Voice actors also provide narration, translation, and announcements.

A lot of voice actors are also live actors or other sorts of famous entertainers / celebrities. Here is a short list of famous actors / comedians / musicians / entertainers who have done voices for animated movies, commercials, or documentaries.

Ellen DeGeneres – Finding Nemo

Robin Williams – Aladdin

Angelina Jolie – Shark Tale

George Clooney – AT&T commercials

Queen Latifah – Pizza Hut commercials

Morgan Freeman – March of the Penguins

Beatle Ringo Starr – Thomas the Tank Engine

“Weird Al” Yankovic – Transformers

But a lot of voice actors are not live actors. I once worked with a man who could do hundreds of – maybe even a thousand – different voices. He easily and quickly read a script using five different (and fun!) voices, always remembering which fictional animal character had which fictional voice. I was so impressed!

Unfortunately, professional voice actors who aren't otherwise celebrities – people whose names and faces we DON'T know – are used less and less often by big-time entertainment giants like Disney and Pixar. I think that's too bad – it just takes one more way of “making it” out of the mix, and it loads into the baskets of the rich-and-famous more plums than they could ever possibly want (because they already have so many plums!).

So today I salute dearly departed Len Carlson in the hope that the trend reverses a bit!

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the cancelation of Star Trek

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