Voice actors are some of the most amazing types of performers. Using just the power of their voice, they bring to life characters that do not exist in a believable way that makes audiences care for their struggles. Many animated characters have become some of the most beloved of all time, thanks in no small part to their actors.
It’s common practice for a single voice actor to voice multiple characters in one show to save time and money. If their range is good enough, the best of these actors can make up a good majority of the cast.
10 Rob Paulson — ‘Animaniacs’ (1993-1998, 2020-2023)
Though his original plan was to be a professional hockey player, Rob Paulson has seen amazing success in his fallback career as a voice actor. He has worked in dozens of animated shows, including The Fairly OddParents, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Danny Phantom. Yet some of his biggest laughs came from his work on Animaniacs.
Alongside numerous background and one-off characters, Paulson played three prominent characters in this beloved sketch-comedy series. For the Warner sibling sections, he voiced both the eldest sibling, Yakko, and their psychiatrist caretaker, Dr. Scratchansniff. Meanwhile, the lab mouse Pinky would go on to co-star in the spin-off series, Pinky and the Brain.
9 Tabitha St. Germain — ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ (2010-2019)
Born in Boston Massachusets, Tabitha St. Germain moved to Canada and began a career in theatre work. She soon transitioned to voice acting, which picked up when she moved to Vancouver and joined The Ocean Group. Her work has included dubbing animes like Black Lagoon and straight-to-DVD films like The Scary Godmother.
In 2010, Germain joined the cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magicas the fashionista unicorn, Rarity. She voiced numerous other characters in the show’s run, including Princess Luna, Granny Smith, Mrs. Cake, and Muffins. These characters became fan favorites thanks to Germain’s signature over-the-top line deliveries.
8 Scott McNeil — ‘Beast Wars: Transformers’ (1996-1999)
Since getting into voice acting in the 1990s, Scott McNeil has created a phenomenal career in voice acting. From Western cartoons, animated movies, and anime dubbing, his amazing vocal range has brought to life characters including Piccolo from Dragon Ball, Duo Maxwell in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and the Evil Masked Figure in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. He’s also a huge goofball who loves to joke around with his fans at conventions.
McNeil has forever cemented himself as a legend among Transformers fans for his work in Beast Wars. He played four major characters in Waspinator, Rattrap, Dinobot, and Silverbolt, giving each of them a distinct mannerism and voice. Dinobot and Waspinator were fan nominations for the Transformers Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
7 Dee Bradley Baker — ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (2008-2014, 2020)
From as young an age as nine, Dee Bradley Baker had a history in performance. After some work with local theatre groups, he got his first major role as the voice of Olmec in Legends of the Hidden Temple. From there, his career has spanned dozens of games and shows, usually as nerdy characters or monster sounds.
Baker really got to test the extent of his acting prowess in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He was given the role of every single clone trooper, yet somehow manages to make each one feel distinct. Many have become beloved fan-favorite characters.
6 Hank Azaria — ‘The Simpsons’ (1989-)
Encouraged by his parent’s love of show business, Hank Azaria trained to become an actor. Today, he has an illustrious career, including shows and films like Herman’s Head, Anastasia, The Bird Cage, and the live-action Smurfs movies. Yet none of this compares to his massive body of work on The Simpsons.
Azaria joined the show in 1990, during its second season. Despite having little voice acting experience at the time, he went on to voice dozens of beloved and recognizable characters. These include sleazy barkeep Moe, Police Chief Wiggums, mad scientist Professor Frink, and Kwik-E-Mart clerk Apu, among many others.
5 Charlie Adler — ‘Cow and Chicken’ (1997-199)
Growing up on classic cartoons, Charlie Adler appeared on the radar when he lent his voice to a number of ’80s cartoons, including The Transformers and Jem. Since then, he’s appeared in everything from cartoons like Tiny Toon Aventures to Michael Bay’s Transformers films. He has even branched into voice directing for shows like Rugrats and Kulipari.
To get the best sense of Adler’s voice talent, look no further than Cow and Chicken. He voices three characters who sound nothing alike: the sweet and innocent Cow, her older and cynical brother Chicken, and the loud and wild Red Guy. This trend would continue in its spin-off, I Am Weasel, where he reprises his role as the Red Guy and I.R. Baboon.
4 Tom Kenny — ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ (1999-)
One of the most recognizable and beloved voice actors, Tom Kenny has appeared in dozens of acclaimed children’s shows. These include Rocco’s Modern Life, The PowerPuff Girls, and Adventure Time. Yet he will always be remembered for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants.
Kenny is instantly recognizable as the voice of SpongeBob himself, which has been his longest-running role. He also voices SpongeBob’s pet snail, Gary, the French narrator who opens many episodes, and dozens of background characters. On special occasions, he even appears in live-action as SpongeBob’s biggest fan, Patchy the Pirate.
3 Billy West — ‘Futurama’
One of the best voice actors of this generation, Billy West didn’t hit the scenes until the ’90s, when he contributed to Doug and The Ren and Stimpy Show. Called a man of a thousand voices, West frequently records conversations between multiple characters in one take. He is also quite critical of big studios for hiring big named celebrities over professional voice actors, which is why you hardly see him in major animated films.
His most recognizable work comes from Matt Groening’scomedy of the future, Futurama. West voices no less than five major characters, including the main character Fry, his elderly descendant Professor Farnsworth, the lovable Doctor Zoidberg, the hilariously inept Zapp Brannigan, and the head of Richard Nixon. West enjoyed playing the former president in particular, as it allowed him a bit of revenge for the Vietnam draft.
2 Frank Welker — ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ (1983-1985)
Getting his start with voice acting at Hannah Barbara, Frank Welker is currently the highest-grossing voice actor in the world. He has voiced nearly nine hundred characters and specializes in animal sound effects. Among his most recognizable roles are Megatron from Transformers and Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo!
A less talked about example of Welker’s versatility is the 1983 Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. Using his talent for animal sounds, he voices the baby unicorn, Uni, and the recurring five-headed dragon antagonist, Tiamat. Each episode also has Welker voice at least one character, particularly if they are important to the plot.
1 Mel Blanc — ‘Looney Tunes’ (1930-)
The original man of a thousand voices, Mel Blanc, began his radio career 19. During the Golden Age of Animation, he lent his voice to a number of cartoons and became the first voice actor to receive on-screen credit. Though he worked for many companies, his work with Warner Bros. remains his most recognized.
Blanc provided the voice of the majority of the Looney Tunes characters in the Merry Melodies shorts. A true master of his craft, Blanc famously refused to make impressions since he saw this as stealing another person’s voice. He voiced his characters until his death in 1989, and since then, Warner Bros. has had to hire a full cast of actors to replace one man’s talent.
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