The Faces Behind The Voices Of These Classic ’80s Cartoons

By Paula Tudoran 1 year ago

1. G.I. Joe's Taurus — Earl Boen

Image Source: Reddit

Earl Boen is one of those character performers you've seen a thousand times but probably won't remember his name for the rest of your life. The most well-known cartoon character that he voiced is Taurus, an acrobat in a circus who has "a few loose bats in his big top" in G.I. Joe. Taurus was never included in the TV show, most likely because the authors were unable to find a way to include a mentally unstable circus nerd in their plot.

2. Looney Tunes' Bugs Bunny — Mel Blanc

Image Source: Reddit

Nobody is cooler than Bugs Bunny; nobody can outsmart Bugs Bunny. More than any other Looney Tunes character, Bugs Bunny enjoys himself. Despite his self-centered character, Bugs is really charming, and that's the marvel of this character and the voice he was given by Mel Blanc, who portrayed him from the cartoon's official debut in 1940 until his passing in 1989.

3. Transformers' Trypticon — Brad Garrett

Image Source: Hollywood Outbreak

Garett portrayed the lumbering-huge-city that changes into an uncomfortable robot dinosaur Trypticon in Transformers, and Ray Romano's brother in Everybody Loves Raymond. Transformers was only Garrett's second TV job; he would go on to voice several cartoon characters, including Bibbo and Lobo in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League. His first? In Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling, Hulk Hogan.

4. G.I. Joe's Quick Kick — Francois Chau

Image Source: Reddit

Francois Chau played everyone's favorite shirtless kung fu soldier, Quick Kick, in G.I. Joe years before he portrayed amputee film star Pierre Chang on Lost. We gotta admit it; it's pretty difficult to recognize Chang when he's not using Quick Kick's peculiar California/Humphrey Bogart accent. It appears that Chang never recorded any further cartoon voices — perhaps he simply liked live-action better since his characters could wear shoes.

5. Jem's Jerrica & Jem — Samantha Newark

Image Source: Shout! Factory

In the 1980s, there were two main participants in the doll industry: one was Jem, a rock diva with pink hair and magical earrings who could change her identity by pressing a button, and the other was, of course, Barbie, who we all know. Compared to Barbie's, her accouterments seemed a little more stylish. Jem was voiced by actress Samantha Newark, and so was Jerrica.

6. Scooby-Doo's Shaggy Rogers — Casey Kasem

Image Source: Reddit

In the numerous TV shows and films that claim his name, Scooby-Doo may be the main attraction, but Shaggy's voice stands out from the crowd. The skinny slacker is ultimately always in two states: afraid or hungry. Casey Kasem, a well-known radio DJ, is credited with flawlessly capturing the two feelings in the voice of Norville "Shaggy" Rogers.

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's Leonardo — Brian Tochi

Image Source: Reddit

You might remember Brian Tochi as the Japanese geek from the Revenge of the Nerds movie, the Japanese exchange student from the Police Academy series, or even as Leonardo, who wasn't Japanese but still sort of fits the idea, in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films. As you can see, Brian Tochi was the go-to actor in the 1980s when Hollywood or television wanted a stereotypical Japanese character (we can't blame him — he wasn't penning those scripts!).

8. My Little Pony's Moochick — Tony Randall

Image Source: Hamilton Spectator

Tony Randall is perhaps the actor on this list who you'd think is too sophisticated to play a cartoon character. After all, he had been a movie star, the creator of one of the most-watched comedies ever, and the driving force behind the revival of voodoo music! (Fortunately, that did not work out.) However, Randall wasn't too big to play Moochick, a peculiar little gnome who occasionally gave My Little Ponies useful information.

9. The Simpsons' Lionel Lutz — Phil Hartman

Image Source: Reddit

It's no surprise that Phil Hartman voiced many other cartoons, given how fantastic he was on The Simpsons. The fact that he was forced to perform as an "additional voice" on episodes like The Dukes, Challenge of the GoBots, and 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo in the 1980s rather than being allowed to stand out as a prominent character is what's most startling. The sole exception was Hartman's portrayal of Mr. Wilson, the next-door neighbor and probable child murderer, in the 1986 Dennis The Menace cartoon.

10. Garfield and Friends' Garfield — Lorenzo Music

Image Source: YouTube

One of the most well-known characters in the 1980s overall was Jim Davis' comic strip character Garfield. He was the first GrumpyCat, after all, so it was only natural for the well-known feline to appear in a Saturday morning cartoon. Lorenzo Music provided the voice of the show's titular cat, who lives with his master, Jon, and an exuberant dog named Odie.

11. The Simpsons' Bart Simpson — Nancy Cartwright

Image Source: YouTube

Bart, the undisputed star of the adored animated series The Simpsons, is indeed voiced by a woman: Nancy Cartwright, a vocal powerhouse, is that woman. Just a few of her well-known characters are Todd Daring from The Replacements, Chuckie Finster from Rugrats, Mindy from Animaniacs, and Rufus from Kim Possible. You may have been a fan for a long time without ever realizing it.

12. The Simpsons' Orson Welles — Maurice LaMarche

Image Source: Reddit

Everyone knows The Simpsons, so the TV show needs no introduction. While Maurice LaMarche contributes his voice abilities to other The Simpsons characters, he also portrayed Orson Welles, an American director, writer, actor, and producer for film, stage, radio, and TV, who appeared in two episodes, "Treehouse of Horror XVII" and "Frink Gets Testy." Maurice LaMarche also lent his voice to characters in The Powerpuff Girls, Rick and Morty, The Looney Tunes Show, and Futurama.

13. DuckTales' Scrooge McDuck — Alan Young

Image Source: Variety

Scrooge McDuck was extremely despised by everyone. The grumpy bird and his grandnephews Huey, Louie, and Dewey appeared in Disney's DuckTales as they went on adventures, frequently looking for treasure and attempting to prevent enemies who sought to take Scrooge's money. Scrooge McDuck and other minor characters in the first DuckTales were voiced by Alan Young; he performed in 98 of the show's 100 episodes.

14. The Snorks' Corky — Rob Paulsen

Image Source: IMDb

The Snorks and The Smurfs shared a lot of similarities. In fact, Snorks' nature was identical to that of the Smurfs, except that Snorks were sea creatures. Rob Paulsen provided the voice of Corky the Snork Patrol Officer, who was shown in the television series as a bit of a workaholic. He was a devoted protector of Snorkland, a fair and just police officer, and was generally regarded favorably by all the other Snorks.

15. Scooby-Do's Fred — Frank Welker

Image Source: Reddit

American actor and voice actor Frank Welker is known for lending his voice to several well-known characters, including Megatron from Transformers and Fred from Scooby-Doo. He has made numerous film and television appearances and has won a lifetime achievement Emmy Award.

16. Richie Rich's Mr. Rich — Al Fann

Image Source: Marvel Animated Universe Wiki

From 1980 until 1984 and again in 1988 as a part of the weekend/weekday programming block The Funtastic World, ABC aired the animated series Richie Rich, which was created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The show's main character, Mr. Rich, is voiced by Al Finn. Richie Rich, his friends, and family are featured in this show as they go on various adventures.

17. The Flintstones' Barney Rubble & Dino — Mel Blanc

Image Source: The Movie Elite

Melvin Jerome Blanc's voice acting and radio personality career spanned over 60 years. The Flintstones' Barney Rubble and Dino, The Jetsons' Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy's titular character, Captain Caveman in Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and The Flintstone Kids' Captain Caveman are just a few of the characters he voiced for Hanna-Barbera's television cartoons.

18. Adventures of the Gummi Bears' Cubbi Gummi — Noelle North

Image Source: Smurfs Wiki

Adventures of the Gummi Bears may be one of the forgotten '80s cartoons, but it's still worth seeing again because it bounces around everywhere. Additionally, it is the only show on our list that was inspired by confectionery. In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Noelle North provided the voices of Cubbi Gummi and Calla. In addition, she provided the voices for Tammy and Bink in the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Adventures in Squirrelsitting" and appeared in the Geppetto television movie.

19. Voltron's Keith Kogane — Neil Ross

Image Source: Grand Rapids Comic Con

Voltron is one of those 1980s animated television series that is still relevant today. That is partly explained by the fact that the program continues to be cited whenever several smaller things combine to create something larger. Neil Ross has lent his voice to Keith Kogane, who was made a wanted man by the Galaxy Alliance after Voltron was decommissioned. The Black Paladin eventually put down his sword to wed Allura and became her king consort.

20. SuperFriends' Wonder Woman — Shannon Farnon

Image Source: SoulRide

We don't think there are any '80s kids who did not fist-bump and say, "Wonder Twin powers, activate!" SuperFriends had superheroes like Superman, Batman and Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and, yes, the Wonder Twins with their monkey friend Glee engaged in combat with bad guys like Lex Luthor and the Riddler. Shannon Farnon was the first actress to portray Wonder Woman in a Hanna-Barbera production, and she did so from 1973 through 1983 in the animated series SuperFriends.

21. Transformers' Optimus Prime — Peter Cullen

Image Source: Reddit

In the original Transformers animated series from the 1980s, Canadian voice actor Peter Cullen provided Optimus Prime's first and, in the opinion of many fans, the only voice that is worth hearing. His portrayal of the Autobot commander is not overly emotional, but it is authoritative while still managing to be just mild and compassionate enough to win over fans of Transformers as well as his fellow Autobots.

22. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' Chip — Jimmy MacDonald

Image Source: Disney Wiki

The cute talking chipmunks had us at hello. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers gave the iconic Disney heroes Chip and Dale something new to do: launch a detective agency. It was first broadcast as a syndicated weekday series in 1989. To handle problems that the police won't handle, the two chipmunks enlist the aid of their buddies, Gadget Hackwrench, Monterey Jack, and Zipper. The first voice actor for Chip, one half of the duo Chip and Dale, was Jimmy MacDonald.

23. He-Man: Masters of the Universe's He-Man & Prince Adam — Jon Erwin

Image Source: Fan Casting

One of the most well-liked animated programs of the 1980s was He-Man, which debuted on television in September 1983 and ran until 1985. As for the voice actors, John Erwin played the roles of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe's main character, He-Man/Prince Adam, as well as the secondary villain Beast Man. Erwin also provided the voices for several of the show's supporting characters.

24. The Real Ghostbusters' Egon Spengler — Harold Ramis

Image Source: TCM

It made perfect sense to adapt Ivan Reitman's hugely popular film Ghostbusters into a cartoon because it was a classic of the 1980s. ABC added it to its Saturday-morning schedule two years after The Real Ghostbusters' 1984 debut. Harold Ramis portrayed Egon Spengler in the movies Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), and Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981), cartoons that he also co-wrote.

25. ThunderCats' Lion-O — Larry Kenney

Image Source: Super Festivals

An animated program about feline-like aliens? Absolutely! The crazy group of ThunderCats who received their superpowers from the Eye of Thundera were featured in the 1985 television series. Lion-O, the ancestral "Lord of the ThunderCats" and the son of Claudus, received voice-acting assistance from Larry Kenney. Together with his companions and supporters, Lion-O goes on adventures on Third Earth and New Thundera.

26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Raphael — Rob Paulsen

Image Source: YouTube

Being the voice of one of the Four Heroes in a Half-Shell was a big feat since TMNT was one of, if not the most popular franchise of the 1980s. Many people favored Raphael's dry humor over Donatello's intelligence. Rob Paulsen not only provided the voice of Raphael for the animated series, but he additionally played the voice of the sai master in the arcade game Turtles in Time.

27. Heathcliff — Mel Blanc

Image Source: YouTube

While some youngsters in the 1980s supported Garfield, others favored the similar TV show Heathcliff, which has a rather impressive pedigree. Mel Blanc, who was renowned for his vocal work on the Looney Tunes cartoons, provided the voice for the title character (or catacter?).

28. The Simpsons' Homer — Dan Castellaneta

Image Source: Reddit

The Simpsons began as a collection of humorous cartoons created for The Tracey Ullman Show, but it has since grown to be one of the most enduring and well-known animated shows of all time. Homer Simpson, who was the program's main character, has only ever been portrayed by Dan Castellaneta. It's difficult to picture Homer sounding anything other than the dopey, dimwitted fool that he is.

29. Thimble Theater's Popeye — William Costello

Image Source: Popeye the Saildorpedia - Fandom

Although William Costello undoubtedly set the foundation for Popeye in 1933, unlike many other renowned cartoon characters, no single voice actor can genuinely claim to have voiced the sailor better. Other notable actors who lent their voices to the grumpy sailor include Mae Questel and Jack Mercer, who intermittently played the role from 1935 through 1984.

30. Mickey Mouse's Mickey — Wayne Allwine

Image Source: MJJCommunity

Mickey, arguably the most famous animated figure in the world, was created and voiced by Walt Disney in those early talkies. Former voice Jimmy MacDonald allegedly informed one of the actors, Wayne Allwine, who provided the character's voice throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, "You're only filling in for the boss," i.e., Disney. All the performers, including current voice Bret Iwan, who assumed the role in 2009, seem to follow that as their motto.

31. How about these celebs you didn't know voiced Disney characters? Oprah as Eudora in The Princess and the Frog

image source:
Oprah Winfrey has a hugely successful career, and a pretty iconic voice, so there's not much she can do that would surprise anyone these days. That being said, it doesn't mean we instantly recognized - or instantly remember - her being the voice in this particular Disney movie. Oprah actually lent her voice to the character of Eudora in The Princess and the Frog, who was Tiana's mother. It was so easy to miss because she didn't have many lines, let's be honest, but it was Oprah's Disney debut and it's worth mentioning!

32. Donny Osmond as Shang in Mulan

image source:
It's very easy not to put these two together when you watch the huge muscly warrior compared to... well, one of the Osmond brothers. But what's iconic about Donny Osmond is his voice, of course - he made a career out of it, after all - and how many of us sing 'I'll Make A Man Out Of You' on a daily basis? Donny Osmond was actually discovered by Walt Disney himself, so it's no surprise he was going to appear in at least one Disney movie. It's easy to miss his role because Shang's spoken voice is provided by a different actor, BD Wong, but it's Osmond hitting those high notes!

33. Demi Moore as Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

image source:
We all loved Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but you'd be forgiven for just thinking her lovely voice that so entranced Quasimodo was just a relatively unknown actress of the time. In fact, it was a very famous actress, Demi Moore - and it's such a shame that Esmeralda compared to other Disney women is often forgotten about, or at the very least the bottom of the list when she's not technically a princess. This could be the reason most people forget - or don't even know - that it was Demi who voiced her.

34. Joaquin Phoenix as Kenai in Brother Bear

image source:
Joaquin Phoenix is a huge actor who has starred in many a blockbuster movie, like the emperor in Gladiator, and not to mention his most recent performance as the Joker. What you might not have expected was to hear his voice in an animated Disney movie, and Brother Bear at that. It seems very random when you think about it, which is probably why you might not have noticed it was him when you last watched it. Not only is Brother Bear the only Disney film he's voiced, it's also often a forgotten gem of Disney movies!

35. Bette Midler as Georgette in Oliver and Company

image source:
Bette Midler is pretty much royalty when it comes to Hollywood success in both acting and singing, so it should actually come as no surprise she's been in a Disney movie - the trouble is, she's so big a star that you'd expect her to actually have a frontline role in a huge movie, rather than the often forgotten about Oliver and Company as a side character. One of her best known roles is as Winifred in Hocus Pocus, which is why most people might forget she once played an animated poodle! But yep, that's Bette Midler.

36. George Takei as First Ancestor in Mulan

image source:
There are a lot of background roles in Disney movies that you may never have even questioned who voiced them, because it's just a minor character with a minor voice. You never really think a well known actor is going to be playing 'extra number one' or something like that. While 'First Ancestor' from Mulan was a little more than extra - enough to speak, anyway - he was still a side character. Nonetheless, he was voiced by none other than George Takei, best known for his role in Star Trek as Sulu!

37. Joey Lawrence as Oliver in Oliver and Company

image source:
Joey Lawrence is well known these days for being an actor and a musician, and although many people know he started out as a child star with Disney, you might not have known that's actually his voice for the adorable Oliver, the lead character in the animated movie Oliver and Company. He appeared in a fair few Disney released, both movies and TV shows, but you might not have questioned the voice behind the cute orange kitten in this particular Disney movie. Joey's very first role with Disney was when he was only 12 years old.

38. Chloe Grace Moretz as Young Penny in Bolt

image source:
Bolt is another often forgotten Disney movie, but it's a great one for all the family - especially if you love animals. All the best Disney movies have animals, right? Actress Chloe Grace Moretz, who's best known for a growing resume of Hollywood hits including Carrie and Kick-A**, actually provided the voice for young Penny in voice. It's something you'd easily miss because Miley Cyrus took the reins as the full character of Penny, and Moretz was only the voice of the younger version. This is because Chloe got the role first before they eventually changed to Miley, but they kept in Chloe's voice for younger Penny!

39. Zach Braff as Chicken Little in Chicken Little

image source:
Zach Braff is an actor best known for his role as JD in Scrubs - and his famous relationship with actress Florence Pugh - but he's also had his fair share of movies outside of the popular TV show. What you might not expect though is for Braff's voice to be used as a chicken for a Disney movie - and maybe you were too distracted at the time at how cute the animated little chicken is to think too much about whose voice it was! But yep, that's Zach Braff. He also continued to voice the character for the video game series which was released for Chicken Little, too!

40. Nicole Scherzinger as Sina in Moana

image source:
If there's one person you might not have expected to be in a Disney movie, it might be the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls and talent show judge, Nicole Sherzinger. It makes sense when you think she has some pipes on her, perfect for Disney musical numbers, but we just didn't even twig it was her when we were distracted by The Rock's hit 'You're Welcome' in Moana, let's be honest! If you didn't know she was also a voice actor - and for a hit Disney movie at that - you do now! She provided both the speaking voice for the character, and the singing voice for 'Where You Are'.

41. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jim Hopkins in Treasure Planet

image source:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gone from strength to strength when it comes to his acting roles - TV fans will remember him from 3rd Rock From the Sun, while he then went on to star in huge movies like Batman, Looper and Inception. What you might not have known was that he provided the voice for one of Disney's most underrated movies, and characters - Jim Hopkins from Treasure Planet! You might also be surprised how many serious acting talents there were in that movie, including Emma Thompson and Martin Short!

42. Danny DeVito as Phil in Hercules

image source:
Hercules was such a great Disney movie, and even more so for the memorable sidekicks like Phil the small centaur! It's easy to just dismiss Phil as a quirky character with a gruff voice who could be any actor, really, when in fact it was the legend Danny DeVito himself - and now you know that, it's so obvious why when you go back and watch Phil. The funny thing is, this awesome pairing almost didn't happen because DeVito originally didn't want he role, and decided not to do the audition for the voice part of Phil the Centaur. We're glad he changed his mind!

43. Tate Donovan as Hercules in Hercules

image source:
Speaking of Hercules - the voice isn't actually that recognisable when you first watch it, you're just too busy sat back with your popcorn when you're enjoying the movie. But if you've happened to watch a Friends re-run recently, the voice of Hercules is none other than Tate Donovan, Joshua on Friends and also ex of Jennifer Aniston herself. Tate has had a lot of successful acting roles, it's just that his voice is hard to recognise without his face! So you could be forgiven for thinking that the voice of Hercules was just some random - albeit talented - actor.

44. Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan in Tarzan

image source:
Tony Goldwyn is an actor best known for playing a pretty huge deal in the even more of a pretty huge deal, Scandal! You might never have linked the actor of the president in this kind of show with one of the most iconic Disney movies. And although Tony Goldwyn did provide the speaking voice for Tarzan in the 1999 animated movie, it was actually a different actor altogether who did the iconic Tarzan yell: Brian Blessed! And although a sequel, Tarzan 2, was made, Tony didn't actually return to do the voice of the jungle man for that one!

45. Linda Hunt as Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas

image source:
Grandmother Willow was another side character in the Disney movie, Pocahontas - and by side character, we don't mean any less iconic, especially for her sound advice and that amazing 'Listen to Your Heart' track we all know and love (and sing on repeat). What you might not have known is that Grandmother Willow was voiced by a well-known acting legend, who has had a wealth of movies under her belt. Linda Hunt was the voice behind our favorite animated grandmother. The American actress has appeared in Dune, The Kindergarten Cop and Popeye, to name only a few!

46. Christian Bale as Thomas in Pocahontas

image source:
So with our attention being on the main love interest in Pocahontas, and of course Pocahontas herself being the only Disney princess we cared about, it's no surprise that we didn't really expect any other big Hollywood actors to be playing background parts in this particular movie. But acting legend Christian Bale was actually the voice of Thomas in the movie, which was actually his second Disney movie at this point. It was such a small role you could easily have missed his voice - and seems like a waste of a good voice, to be honest.

47. Mel Gibson as John Smith in Pocahontas

image source:
While we're on the topic of Pocahontas and why we weren't paying much attention to the voice of Thomas, Mel Gibson was actually the voice of the main man, John Smith. You might not have really put Mel Gibson's face with the young, blonde man Pocahontas falls for, which is why you might not have fully processed it was this older Hollywood actor! Mel Gibson was a pretty big deal at this point (though he seems to have fallen out of favor these days) so it's no surprise he was cast in a Disney movie. It was a pretty small role though for such a big actor.

48. John Goodman as Pacha in The Emperor's New Groove

image source:
How many times have you used that chef's kiss meme without giving much thought to the actor behind the voice... behind the animated character... behind the meme? The spotlight of the iconic animated movie The Emperor's New Groove is completely taken by the top three spots of memorable line delivery: Kuzco himself, played by David Spade, and of course the pairing of Kronk and Yzma, played by the incredible Patrick Warburton and Eartha Kitt. That's why it's so easy to miss the humble offering of acting legend John Goodman in the role of Pacha!

49. Billy Joel as Dodger in Oliver and Company

image source:
It's always fun to learn famous faces behind Disney characters, but even more so when they're people you don't expect, like legendary musicians instead of Hollywood actors. You might have been watching Oliver and Company and thinking that Dodger the dog has got some serious pipes on him, without realizing it's actually music legend Billy Joel himself! Billy Joel's unique voice definitely matched the cool street vibes of the only dog to wear sunglasses, and Joel provided both the speaking voice and singing voice - because why wouldn't he!

50. Tom Hiddleston as James in The Pirate Fairy

image source:
So in case you'd never seen The Pirate Fairy, have no idea who James is and are now freaking out about the fact that heartthrob Tom Hiddleston has been in a Disney movie you didn't even know about, let us explain - 'James' is none other than a young Captain Hook from Peter Pan, and not only does Tom Hiddleston voice the character, he also sings a song! That means Tom Hiddleston has a Disney track under his belt - as though he couldn't get better than playing Loki in the Marvel universe. So yeah, you need to go watch that right now.

What To Read Next

Load More