Happy Birthday, Michael Bell!

Michael Bell (Photo credit: Lynnanne Zager)

Michael Bell (Photo credit: Lynnanne Zager)

Wishing a very happy 71st birthday to voice actor Michael Bell, born today in 1938.

Michael has had a long and storied career as a cartoon voice actor, starting in the early 1970’s with such notable roles as Mark on Hanna-Barbera’s Speed Buggy, Plastic Man on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, Lance on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Prowl / Sideswipe / Scrapper / Swoop on Transformers, Handy/Grouchy/Lazy Smurf on The Smurfs, Wonder Twin Zan and Gleek on Super Friends, Duke and Xamot and other characters on G.I. Joe, Quackerjack on Darkwing Duck, Drew Pickles and Charles “Chaz” Finster Sr. on Rugrats, and I literally could go on and on and on.

And if you’ve been an active gamer in the last two decades, chances are you’ve played a video game that features Michael’s voice talents. For a lengthy, comprehensive list of Michael’s video game voice credits, visit GiantBomb.com.

Michael also has a considerable amount of on-camera work to his credit, with guest starring roles on such popular vintage TV shows as Gomer Pyle, USMC, Get Smart, The Monkees, Mission Impossible, Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company, CHiPs, M*A*S*H*, and Dallas. He also has a great deal of history with the Star Trek franchise, having provided character voices for four Trek video game titles to date, and he guest-starred on Star Trek: Deep Space 9 as Drofo Awa in “The Maquis: Part II” and as Borum in “The Homecoming.” Also, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot episode, “Encounter at Farpoint,” he appeared as Groppler Zorn.

Most recently, Michael had the opportunity to serve both as voice talent *and* voice director for the Catastrophic Comics’ digital motion comic series Sparks which is now available on iTunes. Sparks is co-produced and published by William Katt (aka The Greatest American Hero), and features the voices of Michael Bell, Michael Paré (Eddie and the Cruisers), Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings, Port Charles), Courtenay Taylor (video games Justice League Heroes, Destroy All Humans series), Ashley Bell (The United States of Tara), and Kevin Sherwood (Gamers).

I’ll have more details on Sparks in a separate post, but Michael says that he is “excited” about the series.

Michael was also featured on the voice cast reunion video documentaries included on the recent Shout! Factory box set releases for Transformers and G.I. Joe (previously reported here).

And finally, here are a few videos featuring Michael for your enjoyment:

– Michael shares a Mel Blanc anecdote at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con:

– Transformers script reading at TFCon 2007, Part 1:

– TFCon 2007 script reading, Part 2:

– Michael on not being involved with Michael Bay’s Transformers movie:

And if that’s not enough for you, watch the making-of and outtakes clips from the video games Legacy of Kain: Defiance and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 from YouTube users LauraOrganaSolo, NosgothFr, and nejneko.

[Additional sources: IMDb.com, Wikipedia.org, Voicechasers.com]

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