Maybe you do not like getting up in front of an audience but still like the idea of acting. Maybe you are camera shy but still like to give life to an array of different characters. Or maybe people have always commented on how lovely your voice is. Still, others may enjoy imitating other people, accents, or coming up with some outlandish character voice. If that sounds like you, you may have wondered how to use those interests and talents to your advantage. This is what makes famous voice actors successful, even though you don’t see them everywhere.
One way you may have come across is the possibility of becoming a voice actor. Have there been voice actors that have made an actual lucrative career out of voice overs? This article will list a few famous voice actors names you may or may not know. They have found extreme success in the industry without having to actually show their faces on screen.
9 famous Voice Actors to Inspire Your Own Career
9. Julie Kavner
Known as the longest running animated television show in the United States, The Simpsons, also boasts some of the highest paid voice actors. Julie Kavner does the voice of Marge Simpson, the mother of the family. She is known for her raspy tone that is easily recognizable. When Kavner first started out with the Simpsons she already had some traditional roles on television involving comedies.
However, she has found her greatest success doing voice overs for the show. In fact, to start, she was pulling in a modest 30 thousand dollars per episode. As the popularity of the series grew, she started raking in a whopping 300 thousand per episode. Not bad for an famous voice actors success story.
8. Yeardly Smith
Yeardley Smith is another of the famous voice actors who is a long time running associate to the show, The Simpsons. Yeardley is known for her nasally and diminutive vocal talent. She had enjoyed some success before becoming the voice of Lisa doing parts on Broadway and in theater. Moreover, she has experience on the big screen. This is even though a handful of her first roles were in films that were not received popularly by the box office.
She has been the voice of Lisa since 1987 and still pulls in good money doing so. Yeardley rarely lends her voice to other characters and never even thought she would ever do voice over acting. This proves that you never really know what opportunities may pop up for you during your career.
7. Dan Castellaneta
Dan Castellaneta is not famous in the voice acting arena yet he still earns a spot on our famous voice actors list. He is a comedian, actor, screenwriter, as well as voice actor. Early on in his career Castellaneta learned traditional acting. He also had a back-up plan, if his career did not work out, he would expand his skills. Thus, he began to take improve classes. During that time he got involved with voice acting, and it would turn out to be a great venture for him.
Of course, Castellaneta is most well known for being the voice of Homer Simpson. However, he has enjoyed parts in many other shows such as Sibs, Back to the future: the animated series, Aladdin, Rugrats, Futurama, and Dark Wing Duck. He has also done a few stints in other cartoon specials. In fact, Castellanetta has such a versatile voice that he also supplies many secondary characters on the show The Simpsons, including Mayor Quimby, Barney, Krusty, and several others. This is one of the famous voice actors that can almost be a one man show.
6. Nancy Cartwright
Yet another of our famous voice actors found incredible success with, The Simpsons. Cartwright, similar to Castellaneta, voices several different characters on the show. You can hear her talent giving life to Nelson, Mr. Flanders, and Ralph. However, you likely will more-so recognize her voice for Bart. Yes, he is playing the menace of a boy who is always causing trouble.
Cartwright has also provided other voices for other animated television series including ones for Rugrats, Kim Possible, and Animaniacs.
5. Mike Judge
You may not immediately know the name of this famous voice actors but then again, you might. Mike Judge first hit popularity with his MTV animated show, Beavis and Butthead during the early nineties. Judge himself provided most of the character voices including the two main characters. Later that decade, judge created a spin-off using one of the characters, Hank Hill, from the show to create King of the Hill. Once again, Judge was responsible for Hank Hill as well as many other secondary and minor characters.
You can also hear his voice occasionally gracing other animated shows including South Park and Family Guy. Judge also writes for traditional shows including Office Space. He has also since launched his fourth television series called Silicon Valley which is critically acclaimed since premiering. Judge can even claim an Emmy, a couple of Annie Awards, a few Critic’s Choice awards, and Satellite awards. Judge shows you versatility in the industry can be very lucrative and give your creativity many paths.
4. Seth MacFarlane
You may notice that some of the most successful famous voice actors become one of the wealthiest through ownership of their creations. Similarly to Judge, Seth MacFarlane has taken pages from his playbook. MacFarlane, like Judge, not only created and produced his television hit, Family Guy, but he is responsible for many of the character voices. You can hear his talent through the voices of Stewie, Peter, and Brian. He then created a second series, American Dad, continuing his voice over career through the characters Stan, Roger, and Greg Corbin.
He however does not limit himself to animation, though it is his main focus. MacFarlane has also written, directed, and starred in traditional film such as Ted, Ted 2, and A Million Ways to Die in the West. Don’t forget his writing career with Hanna-Barbera where he wrote for several animated series. These include Johnny Bravo and Cow and Chicken and the many guest appearances he has made on television shows. Add a bunch of coveted awards, and you have the makings of an incredibly successful man.
3. Matt Stone
You likely do not know the face of Matt Stone. You may not even really know the name of many famous voice actors. More than likely you are more familiar with his work. Matt Stone is one of two individuals that created South Park. Stone voices many of the shows main characters including Kyle, Kenny, and Butters. He also lends his voice talent to other minor characters as well.
The incredible success of his animated show has allowed him to produce other films such as Team America: World Police and The Book of Mormon for Broadway. His ventures have earned him five Prime Time Emmy’s, three Tony’s, as well as a Grammy. He is also a song writer and singer. Those talents can also be seen being utilized in his creations.
2. Trey Parker
Trey Parker is Matt Stone’s South Park counterpart. This is one of the top paid famous voice actors next to his partner, Stone. Parker and Stone have shared many projects besides South Park. They also enjoyed much success together.
It is almost magical when you can find someone that compliments you to the point all of your collaborations come to successful fruition. Parker lends his voice to many of the South Park characters as well. This includes Stan, Cartman, Satan, and Mr. Garrison. Not to mention all of the minor characters he also breathes life into.
1. Mel Blanc
Mel Blanc was a voice actor legend. He was known as, The Man of a Thousand Voices. Warner Brothers used him to help create many iconic characters including Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Yosemite Sam, and Porky Pig, as well as a plethora of other well-known favorites. He would go on to do the same thing for many of Hanna-Barbera’s well-known characters voicing the likes of Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely from the Jetsons, and Woody Woodpecker for Universal Pictures. He would also provide vocal effects for MGM’s Tom and Jerry cartoons.
During the years radio was star, he also did many famous voice performances for famous comedians including Abbot and Costello and Jack Benny. With a moniker like, The Man of a Thousand Voices Mel surely claims the role as the most influential voice actor of all time.
Traditional acting may not be your thing. Yet, acting and film encompasses many roles and can give even a single person the ability to wear many hats. Voice acting is a great way to be able to create and own your masterpiece. It is also a great way to enter into other avenues of film and screen such as producing, writing, or directing. Do not limit yourself to one aspect. Let your creativity expand. As you can see, many of these famous voice actors did just that and found wonderfully successful and lucrative careers behind camera.
What other examples of successful voice actors can you give? Do you have tips for those breaking into the voice acting industry? Leave any helpful comments here.