Happy Birthday, Casey Kasem!


Wishing a very happy 77th birthday to Casey Kasem, born today in 1932.

Casey’s beginnings as a radio DJ in the 1960’s led to him establishing a long career in voice-overs — most notably as the voice of the iconic cartoon character Norville “Shaggy” Rogers on Scooby-Doo (which he continues to voice in recent productions), as well as characters on Transformers, Battle of the Planets, Super Friends, and other shows. He also founded and hosted the popular radio show “American Top 40” for more than 30 years, and recorded a steady stream of commercial voice-overs over the decades.

Learn more about Casey’s life and career on Wikipedia.org.

Celebrity Voice Acting Round-Up (yee-hah.)


Forgive me for lumping all these celebrity voice acting news bits together. It was more for the sake of convenience, and not because I have any personal bias against celebrity voice acting (as I previously discussed here).

– Rapper Kanye West will have a recurring role as Kenny West on FOX’s upcoming Family Guy spinoff, The Cleveland Show (as previously reported here). Producers for the new series, Mike Henry and Richard Appel, spoke with People Magazine about Kanye’s involvement in the show:

“It was surprising to us that [he] was so into it that he came to the table [read], and wonderfully surprising how cool he was, how funny he was and how unassuming he was,” says Henry, who voices Cleveland Brown and other characters on the show. “He’s just a great presence.”

“We knew Kanye was a big Family Guy fan because he invited [creator] Seth [MacFarlane] to his house a year or two ago,” adds Henry. “And there was a mention on his blog when the spin-off was announced that he was excited about it. We knew he was a big fan and a lot of us are fans of his.”

“We just recorded him in the booth and he was fantastic,” says Appel. “Once he read it a couple times through, he just owned the character, which I guess isn’t hard since he was named Kenny West. He said he’d be glad to [be back.]. I said we could write him in to the next 21 episodes!”

ScreenDaily.com reports that Johnny Depp is recording new narration for When You’re Strange, Tom DiCillo’s documentary about rock legends The Doors which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

– The educational CGI/3D feature film Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey boasts a lengthy and impressive celebrity voice cast: Chris Pine (Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek XI” feature film), Samuel L. Jackson (“The Spirit,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Star Wars”), Hayden Christensen (“Jumper,” “Star Wars”), Amanda Peet (“X-Files Movie 2”), Robert Picardo (“Stargate Atlantis”), Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld”), Casey Kasem (“Transformers,” “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”), Tom Kenny (voice of “Sponge Bob Squarepants,” “Transformers”), Sandra Oh (“Sideways,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Brent Spiner (“Independence Day,” “Star Trek: Next Generation”), James Earl Jones (“Star Wars”), William Shatner (“Boston Legal,” “Star Trek”), Mark Hamill (“Star Wars”), astronaut Neil Armstrong, Doug Jones (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Abe Sabien – Hell Boy”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”), and Janina Gavankar (“The L Word”).

The film is scheduled for release in September 2009. Character profiles and a preview of the character designs and animation are available at the official movie site: QQTheMovie.com.

Life & Style Magazine reports that Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries, Get Smart) will have a cameo in an upcoming episode of Family Guy. “Anne is a longtime fan of the show. She hadn’t considered guest-starring until series creator Seth MacFarlane approached her,” an insider told the magazine. “He pitched Anne an episode idea that completely cracked her up. She didn’t even have to think it over — she wanted in!” Hathaway also recorded for an episode of The Simpsons earlier this year.

James Earl Jones is narrating the U.S. release of Earth, a feature-length spinoff of the BBC TV series, Planet Earth. The UK version released in 2007 was narrated by Patrick Stewart. The film makes its US debut April 22, appropriately, on “Earth Day.”

Mike Tyson is narrating Tyson, a feature film documentary on his life opening in NY and LA on April 24th, 2009. When asked by the UK’s Daily Mirror what was most difficult about making the documentary, Tyson responded, “Doing retakes and voiceovers. I was in rehab and sometimes I couldn’t go as it was against my curfew.”

And it’s only because Tyson doesn’t know where I live that I’m saying this, but I would imagine just trying to read one word at a time out loud for the narration was the most difficult for him. (Now watch him find this in a random Google search, hunt me down, and bite off my ear. But on second thought, no worries: he doesn’t know how to spell “Google.”)

Robert Downey Jr., Tina Fey and Ben Stiller will be lending their voice talents to DreamWorks’ Master Mind CGI feature scheduled for 2010. IMDb.com describes the film’s plot as a “satirical take on superhero movies, in which a notorious villain loses his oomph after he accidentally kills his nemesis.”

MovieJungle.com reports that Ellen Degeneres will be voicing a character in the Warner Bros animated film Dog Show, currently in early development and tentatively scheduled for release in 2011. More on this from MovieJungle.com:

“Dog Show” [is] a pitch for an animated [film] from Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons who also wrote DreamWorks Animation’s’ “Master Mind.” “Eagle Eye” writer John Glenn and producer David Manpearl developed the idea with Schoolcraft and Simons before approaching DeGeneres [about producing and performing in the film]. The team took the project around town and Warners topped others competing for the title. Not much on the plot now, but apparently the story tells of a stray dog and her misfit friends who shake things up a bit for a posh dog show.

– Rapper/actor Tone Loc, who has recorded voice-overs for several animated projects (Chowder, King of the Hill, Static Shock, C-Bear and Jamal), says in an interview with Macon.com that voice-overs are “easier” than anything else he’s involved with: “I don’t need to get up early. I don’t need makeup. You just get in there and say what you’ve got to say.”

ETOnline.com reports that Liam Neeson has joined the cast for Disney’s English dub of acclaimed anime film director Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, which is scheduled to make its US theatrical debut August 14th, 2009. Other members of the US voice cast include Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, Noah Cyrus, Madison Davenport, Frankie Jonas, and Cloris Leachman. ETOnline says the animated film is “inspired by The Little Mermaid fairy tale and follows an overeager goldfish named Ponyo that is determined to become a human.”

And speaking of Cloris Leachman… just for the heck of it, here’s a pic of her literally dressed in lettuce as the spokesperson for Peta’s new vegetarian campaign:

Peta.org: "Let Vegetarianism grow on you."

Peta.org: "Let Vegetarianism grow on you."