Life.com has a photo feature on the individuals they have determined to be “Epic” voice actors.
The 17 names who made their list:
– Mel Blanc: most of the iconic Looney Tunes characters.
– Dan Castellaneta: The Simpsons, Earthworm Jim.
– Alan Reed: voice of Fred Flintstone.
– Seth MacFarlane: creator/producer/writer/voice actor on Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show.
– Frank Oz: voice of Jedi Master Yoda, Sesame Street characters Grover and Bert.
– Matt Stone and Trey Parker: creators of South Park.
– Tom Kenny: voice of SpongeBob SquarePants
– Billy West: Futurama, Ren & Stimpy
– Hank Azaria: The Simpsons
– Nancy Cartright: The Simpsons
– Russi Taylor and the late Wayne Allwine: respective voices of Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
– Tony Anselmo: voice of Donald Duck
– Harry Shearer: The Simpsons
– Jorge Arvizu: considered to be the Hispanic equivalent of Mel Blanc.
– Mark Hamill: voice of The Joker.
I had reservations about linking to this because the nitpicker in me believes this list has been mislabeled as “epic” when “iconic” would be more fitting. Also, some major talents have been omitted — no Frank Welker, Daws Butler, June Foray, Jim Cummings, or plenty of others I could mention — all very worthy of the title of “epic” when it comes to voice acting talent.
And there there are some like Parker and Stone who just don’t feel at all like they belong on such a list. They may have created iconic characters and a cult hit show, but they are so not “epic” in terms of voice talent. One reason I stopped watching the show is that they do their own voices as celebrity impressions for every stinking celebrity they spoof… and they all sound the same. It may be one of the show’s running gags, but it just grates on my ears. I’ll grant that some of their character voices like Cartman, Mr. Garrison, Butters, and Kenny are amusing, but I just don’t believe they qualify as “epic.”
Furthermore, in the photo profiles there’s a typo on Tweety’s name (“Tweet Bird”) and Mark Hamill’s last name is misspelled as “Hammill.” (That qualifies as “epic” FAIL in my book.)
And I would like to have seen more females mentioned other than just Nancy Cartright. It blows my mind that Life would neglect to include “The First Lady of Cartoon Voice Acting,” June Foray. And there are other females who would have been welcome additions to such a list: Mae Questel (Olive Oyl, Betty Boop), Janet Waldo (The Jetsons, Penelope Pitstop), Tress MacNeille (Animaniacs, Futurama), and Mary Kay Bergman (South Park, Captain Planet, Scooby Doo movie series). (And that’s just to name a few).
Now, with that off my chest, I will say that it’s nice to see the majority of these individuals featured by a publication as renowned as Life Magazine. (And photos of voice actors are always welcome.) Frankly, Mark Hamill still gets unfair media criticisms for being a so-called “has-been since Star Wars” so any time he’s recognized in the media for his incredible voice acting is okay by me (although you’d think they would’ve tried spelling his name correctly). And as far as I’m concerned, Tony Anselmo, Russi Taylor, and the late Wayne Allwine will never receive enough recognition for their work.
Finally, I was rather surprised and pleased to see Jorge Arvizu included, someone I’d been planning to feature here in the future. He really is a great character voice actor who needs to be introduced to a wider U.S. audience. Here’s a clip of him performing some of his characters in a promo for Súper Agente 86 (the Spanish version of Get Smart):
[Link credit: Voice Chasers]