Jim Cummings talks with The Catholic Review about attending Catholic schools during his childhood and his work as a voice actor. Here are some highlights:
– Jim was a “relentless mimic” from grade school through high school and was often reprimanded for it: “I’d be doing dolphin sounds in the background. Sister Mary Agnes would say, ‘We don’t allow dolphin sounds in the classroom, Mr. Cummings.”
Jim says he doesn’t hold being corrected (for what would eventually become his career) against his teachers or principals. “I have a scholarship at my old school in my dad’s name, so they don’t seem to mind me anymore.”
– While attending Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio, he turned his talents into “championships for Ursuline during state and regional speech and oratory contests.”
– Among Jim’s greatest voice-over challenges he’s had to date was recording “practically every conceivable child’s name for a talking Winnie the Pooh toy. Jim says, “Esquire magazine gave it a prize for ‘most interesting name’: My Interactive Pooh.” Cummings speculates that he recorded 25,000 names for this project, causing him to accidentally answer the phone in Pooh’s voice when he returned home from recording.
– If Jim has any regret in his life, he says that it was when he was too sick to audition for The Simpsons when casting first took place 20 years ago for actors who could perform multiple voices. “Other than that one, I’m a happy camper. I don’t look back in frustration and anger,” he said. “I hope for the best, expect the worst, and take what comes.”
– Jim got his first TV role playing a “cute little kid” in a TV special called The Catholic School Story when he was in the sixth grade. Also appearing in the special as Father O’Neill was Ed O’Neill, who played Al Bundy on the sitcom Married With Children.
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