Voice Actors are a big yet underappreciated group. Some actors are jack of all trades, disappearing into roles. Some though are hired specifically for what they sound like. These voices you hear and point at the TV, their other roles flooding back to you. This doesn’t make them lesser than the vocal chameleons (That I talked about here). The talent they display is still second to none. However for those that play “Who’s that voice actor” like I do these are fun treats to find. So here’s five Voice Actor’s who you hear and immediately say “I know that voice”.
Number 5: Nolan North, voice actings most recognisable screamer
Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Nolan North is a legend, he’s in like every video game ever made!” That dear reader, is why it’s so noticeable when he shows up. Because Nolan North is in everything, and more recent years have allowed North to perform more naturally, he’s all the easier to spot. His resume and his performances are untouchable. Adventurer Nathan Drake (Uncharted), crazed German scientist Richtofen (Call of Duty Zombies), and multiple DC and Marvel superheros. The man clearly has range (And a bankable german accent) but I find him everytime withe one trick.
This trick can be used with any and all voice actors and it’s quite simple, screaming. Because North has played some famously shouty characters we’ve heard it a lot, and it’s very distinct. His more subtle performances can be tricky to connect but when the volume goes up the… Northiness comes out. His performances and resume are near untoppable. This man is the voice of Deadpool to many, to the point that Deadpool called him to have him be the VA for… himself in the Deadpool game.
No amount of metaness beats out Saints Row IV though, which has multiple voice options, typically with a gag choice. For SR4 among the “Male 1,2,3 and Female 1,2,3” there was also simply “Nolan North”. This is especially funny as fellow voice actor legend Troy Baker is “Male Voice 1”. It’s quite clear when a game makes a reference like that, we’re on to a pretty recongisable voice.
Number 4: Kate Micucci, one voice, many characters
You may know Kate Micucci better for some for her live action or comedy work. She’s been in great sitcoms going back to Scrubs and has been releasing music as one half of Garfunkel and Oates for years. However, we of course care about her work in the VO booth. Micucci is one of the easier voices to pick out. The distinctive nasal tone could only ever belong to one voice actor. Despite this, the roles are still varied. If you look into her roles she’s been the range is considerable. Overly excitable, determined young girls (Webby, DuckTales) to nerdy big sister (Sara Murphy, Milo Murphy’s Law).
Of course being the kind of nerd I am whenever I hear her voice my mind immediately goes “Velma” as she has voiced Velma in Scooby-Doo since 2015. And once you’re in that franchise, I can’t hear anything else. She was actually one of the first examples of “It know that voice” I had. As I watched Steven Universe and her character Sadie appeared, it was as if my ears turned into radio receivers. The sound went directly into my brain and then it made the connection. Neither character are remotely alike either. Which goes to show how being a great performer and having many different voices aren’t completely connected.
Number 3: Travis Willingham, the Big Guy Voice Actor
This one is a bit simpler, it’s even visual. If you take a look at any photos or gifs of Travis Willingham you can hear the voice immediately. For example:
Instantly, you know this man was born to be the big guy. He’s nearly always voices deep, commanding characters. The most famous and recognisable of these of course being The Mighty Thor in Marvel media for years now. Everywhere from the ill-fated Avengers game to the lighter LEGO Marvel games and shorts. To anime fans he’s of course known as the dub voice of choice for Roy Mustang in both versions of Full Metal Alchemist. That continues to make use of his strong, imposing vocal talents. However I would wager most who know who Travis Willingham is know him as one of the main cast members of the hugely popular Critical Role series. This allows him to show off his range in accents and tones.
One place I think Willingham makes himself particualrly noticable however, and where he becomes one of my personal favourites. Is when he has to be funny. This also comes incredibly naturally to him. His turn as Knuckles the Echidna, particularly in Sonic Boom was hilarious and had him perform at a higher register than normal. He’s even doubled on both DC and Marvel like North. Not only is he “the” voice of Thor he’s also regularly called upon to be the voice of a particularly heroic, if silly, LEGO Superman. Still though, a voice that strong is just hard to lose.
Number 2: John DiMaggio, Huge Range From a One Voice Voice Actor
That above image instantly fills any voice acting fans ears with several iconic lines. While each does have it’s own spice there’s always something unmistakably DiMaggio about all of them. The only way to describe it is New Jersey, even when he’s using a different accent his heritage still somehow comes through. This of course has only helped him become one of the most famous names in the game. Each role he plays is iconic for different reasons yet without the core that is his voice a vital piece would be missing. His performance as Bender in Futurama is so perfect that the idea that he may not return to voice him in the Hulu series was huge news before the confirmation.
DiMaggio also has complete passion for being a Voice Actor. None of his roles are half hearted, but his work to give the craft the respect it deserves is equally impressive. He helped produce I Know That Voice, a documentary that gives faces to all of the actors you love. He’s one of the more recognisable “voice of a childhood” actors, being major parts of several generations cartoons and video games. He sticks out which only serves to make his performances even more memorable.
Number 1: Patrick Warburton, Oh Yeah, it’s all coming together
This is both the most obvious and yet also the one I’m cheating on. Warburton is known as much for his live action performances as he is his voiced performances. However, despite this it still feels right to have him at the top, even on a list without much order. You read that title in his voice didn’t you? Even in his live performances his one of a kind deeper than deep boom of a voice is what we all remember. Is it mainly for memes? Possibly, but it’s not really up for debate how naturally funny Patrick Warburton is, especially as a voice actor.
He naturally has a voice of the stereotypical super hero, to the point of parody (Such as his turn as the titular Buzz Lightyear of Star Command). He can be the tough guy jock or a plain badass (Brock Samson of Venture Bros springs to mind). This is an actor who you hire because you want a character that sounds like Patrick Warburton. It’s always a joy to be watching something and have your ears twitch as soon as his character starts talking. I could even argue that he is why all of his characters memes became recognisable, not the other way around.
Do you have a voice actor you always recognise?
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April 22, 2022 at 7:42 pm
James Arnold Taylor
So many iconic VO actors, so little time
April 24, 2022 at 9:36 pm
Mark Hamill didn’t make the list. I can pick out his voice anywhere