Happy Birthday, Frank Welker!

welkerbdayWishing a very happy birthday to voice actor extraordinare, Frank Welker, born today in 1946.

What he’s known for? Gosh, everything from iconic cartoon characters as Freddy Jones on Scooby Doo, Megatron on Transformers, Dr. Claw on Inspector Gadget, Nibbler on Futurama, to screaming imitations of Michael Jackson and Leonard Nimoy, and all manner of animal sounds and vocal SFX for various and sundry films and TV series.

And before Frank became one of the busiest talents in the voiceover industry, he briefly had an on-camera acting career. He co-starred with Don Knotts in How To Frame A Figg (1971), and had supporting roles in the Elvis Presley flick The Trouble With Girls (1969) and Disney’s The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) with Kurt Russell.

The Trouble With Girls, incidentally, also features Nicole Jaffe (Frank’s Scooby-Doo co-star who voiced Velma Dinkley) who plays a loquacious hotel receptionist. And Frank, appropriately, talks like a duck when he first appears in the film.

Frank also had featured roles in various TV shows, such as The Partridge Family and Love, American Style, and was a series regular on The Don Knotts Show (1971) and The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour (1973).

The on-camera acting bug has apparently bitten Frank again as he has a supporting role as ‘Mr. Whitacre’ in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh thriller The Informant with Matt Damon and Scott Bakula which is scheduled for release 10.09.09. I originally spotted this on Frank’s IMDb.com page and thought it was either a prank or an error, but was very pleased to see it confirmed in the second half of Frank’s TFW2005.com interview which was published Wednesday.

Frank may also be reprising his role as the voice of Soundwave for the upcoming Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen feature film (previously reported here).

Visit The Official Frank Welker Homepage for more on Frank’s life and work. And there are also unofficial fan groups on MySpace and Facebook (keyword search: “Frank Welker”).

Special thanks to my fellow voice actor fan Doreen for the Frank birthday graphic.

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