Happy Birthday, Tom Kane!


Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor Tom Kane, born today in 1962.

Tom has been in the voice-over biz since he was 15 years old, and has voiced over “20,000 National TV Commercials, Movie Trailers, Network Promos, Cartoons, Documentaries, etc.” (according to his profile on Voice123.com). He’s become so prolific that just trying to list highlights of his voice-over career is difficult because he’s performed on so many popular animated series: The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Kim Possible (just to name a few). He’s also voiced characters in more than 60 video games, and he’s doing so much movie trailer and TV promo work recently that you can hardly watch TV for 30 minutes on any given channel without hearing his voice.

For further reading about Tom, check out these interviews with Animation Magazine, Star Wars.com, Newsarama.com, and Ovi.com (a 27-minute phone interview).

And of course you’ll want to visit Tom’s official site: TomKane.com.

Happy Birthday, Brad Garrett!


Wishing a very happy 49th birthday to actor/comedian Brad Garrett, born today in 1960.

The three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner has a lot of visibility these days, following the successful 9-season run of Everybody Loves Raymond, and more recently from his lead role on the FOX sitcom ‘Til Death currently in its fourth season. Brad also regularly does appearances on TV Poker tournaments and is still touring as a stand-up comedian (previously covered here).

Brad also has been doing cartoon voice-overs since the 80’s, and will provide the voice of “Giant” in the 2010 animated sequel Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs Evil.

Season 2 of ‘Til Death was released on DVD in January 2009, and Brad is interviewed on the bonus features of The Odd Couple: The Centennial Collection which released on Blu-Ray and DVD in March (presumably from Brad’s involvement with the Broadway play).

Brad was also interviewed recently in NY’s Daily Gazette and Casino City Times about his love for playing poker, his stand-up comedy act, stage and TV work, and background.

Previous news: 4.07.2009 — Brad Garrett is Musical.

Happy Birthday, Maurice LaMarche!


Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor and impressionist Maurice LaMarche, born today in 1958.

The Canadian-born actor spent his early years in entertainment as a stand-up comedian and got his “big break” in animation voice-overs as the voice of Chief Quimby on Inspector Gadget. He has since voiced many popular animated characters in The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures, The Critic, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain, and Futurama.

If you’re a Facebook.com member, join the group “The Genius of Moe: Fans of Maurice LaMarche” to wish Maurice birthday greetings.

Previous news: Maurice LaMarche Declares 3.22.09 “International Talk Like William Shatner Day”

Also celebrating birthdays today: John Astin, Ian Zeiring, Juliet Landau, Megumi Hayashibara, Ayako Kawasumi, and Marlowe Gardiner-Heslin.

Celebrate ‘International Talk Like William Shatner Day’


Originally posted March 21, 2009:

In honor of William Shatner’s birthday, voice actor and impressionist extraordinaire Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky and The Brain) has declared March 22nd, 2009 the first-ever “International Talk Like William Shatner Day.” To celebrate this event, Maurice has recorded a video tutorial explaining how to do a proper Shatner impression. Originally posted as an exclusive to Maurice’s officially-endorsed Facebook group The Genius of Moe: Fans of Maurice LaMarche, Moe has now made the video available via YouTube:

Update: 3.22.2010: Maurice has posted a video for the second annual “International Talk Like William Shatner Day,” performing with “premiere” Shatner impressionist Kevin Pollak:

[Caution: Adult language.]

You’re also invited to join the original “International Talk Like William Shatner Day” group on Facebook, for which Moe serves as a group admin.

And of course there would be no “International Talk Like William Shatner Day” without the man (or “The Shat”) himself.

And so, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to actor William Shatner, born March 22nd, 1933, and famous the world over as Star Trek Captain James Tiberius Kirk… and also known for his trademark style of dramatic pause-acting.

In addition to his long career in film and television, Shatner has also been performing voice-overs since Star Trek: The Animated Series aired in 1973 (which also gave us Shatner’s infamous “sabotage” outtakes). He has gone on to lend his distinctive voice to many other animated projects: Futurama, Eek! The Cat, Osmosis Jones, Over The Hedge, Atomic Betty, and video games from the Star Trek franchise.

Shatner’s 1968 recording The Transformed Man is my favorite spoken-word/Shakespearean/pop music/disco album. Years ago, when I finally tracked down a copy at the now-defunct Warehouse Music, the cashier tried to prevent me from purchasing the album — informed me that it was “absolutely not for sale.” When I asked why, he said, “Because it’s the last copy we have. And if we sell it, we won’t have anything else to play to chase customers out of the store at closing time.”

And of course, here’s the obligatory link to Shatner’s official site: WilliamShatner.com.

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.

Happy Birthday, Rob Paulsen!


Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor Rob Paulsen, known to animation fans as the voice of Pinky on Pinky and The Brain, Yakko Warner/Dr. Scratchensniff on Animaniacs!, Raphael in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, and so many other cartoon characters that it’s difficult to keep up with them all.

Rob has recent roles as Mr. Vanderbosh on The Replacements, Carl Wheezer on Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Peck the Rooster on Back at the Barnyard, and upcoming roles in Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil (coming to theaters in 2010) and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (an adult animated comedy scheduled for release in 2009).

Drop by Rob’s official site — RobPaulsenFans.com — or his official Myspace page to send him a birthday note.

Happy Birthday, Neil Kaplan!


Wishing a very happy birthday to voice actor Neil Kaplan, known to Transformers fans as the voice of the iconic character Optimus Prime in the 2001-02 animated TV series Robots in Disguise…and he’s done some other film and TV work too if you care about that sort of non-Transformers stuff. [Is it too obvious I’m a Transformers fan? -Ed] Stop by Neil’s official site at NEKAP.net to send him a birthday note.

Neil is also the author of the graphic novel I, Of The Wolf, the creator of the upcoming Transformers webtoon/comic spoof All Hail Optimoose!, teaches voiceover at the Braille Institute of Los Angeles, is developing an educational kids show, is working to launch a company to provide entertainment for the U.S. military, and at night masquerades as crime fighter Captain Kaplan.

[Ack! Sorry to spoil your secret identity, Neil! -Ed.]

Neil also has upcoming convention appearances planned for Las Vegas, NV (April 17-19) and Phoenix, AZ (May 29-30).