Celebrities as voice actors in animation is a topic fans and professionals have been debating probably since Transformers: The Movie was released in 1986. It was genuinely the first animated feature film to cast several celebrities (Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson, Eric Idle, Robert Stack, and even John Moschitta Jr. who had become a celeb at the time due to his fast-talking talent) who got top billing as a marketing tool, while veteran cartoon voice actors such as Peter Cullen and Frank Welker received only standard voice credit.
It’s not my intention to start yet another debate on this topic, but to highlight New York Times blogger Steven D. Levitt’s commentary on Why Do Animated Films Use Such Famous Voices?
Levitt’s four theories on why celebs are cast for animated films offer an interesting “outsider” perspective as neither an animation/voice actor fan nor voiceover pro. Also interesting are many of the nearly 200 reader comments.