Long gone are the days when unknown actors were the voice behind animated characters. These days, big budget productions routinely recruit the most prominent names in the industry—and boy do they command big bucks! Tom Hanks earned a whopping $15 million for voicing Woody in Toy Story 3 and the rumor mill says Owen Wilson earned $2.5 million for voicing Lightning McQueen in Cars 2. Though Woody and McQueen were certainly some cool characters, or ahem, cars, they aren’t the only cool animated characters voiced by superstars.
These unforgettable characters can be found in TV series, films (live action and animated), commercials, video games, and more. There’s The Iron Giant, The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and that funny little Yellow Peanut M&M, to name a few. Who are the voices behind these characters? Keep reading to find out because some might surprise you!
Vin Diesel was the voice behind The Iron Giant. Diesel is best known for his work with the wildly successful The Fast and the Furious franchise.
James Avery was the voice behind The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The late actor is best known for his role as Philip Banks (Uncle Phil) from the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
John Ritter voiced PBS’ Clifford the Big Red Dog. Per Mental Floss, the late actor was nominated for four straight Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Cliff between 2001 and 2004. Ritter was best known for his role as Jack Tripper on the hit sitcom Three’s Company, and parts in Sling Blade, Bad Santa, and Problem Child, among others.
J.K. Simmons has been the voice of the Yellow Peanut M&M for decades. As you may have heard, Simmons won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash (2014). The prolific actor is also known for Spider-Man, Juno, Zootopia, The Accountant, Terminator Genisys, and those Farmers Insurance commercials you just can’t get out of your head.
Brittany Murphy was the voice behind Luanne Platter on King of the Hill. The late actress was best known for her roles in Clueless, 8 Mile, Just Married, Uptown Girl, Sin City, and Girl Interrupted.
Phil Hartman voiced Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace. The late actor was best known for his time as an SNL cast member. Hartman also had roles in Jingle All The Way and News Radio, and he voiced various characters on The Simpsons from (1991-1998).
Michael Cera is the voice behind Brother Bear on The Berenstain Bears. The Canadian actor is best known for his roles in Juno, Superbad, and Nick & Noah’s Infinite Playlist. Cera also voiced Barry in the animated film Sausage Party.
Orson Welles voiced Unicron in Transformers: The Movie. This was Welles’ last role before his death in 1985. Welles is best known for being the one of the greatest filmmakers of all times. His film, Citizen Kane, is now hailed as one of the greatest films ever made.
Fergie, yes, that Fergie, voiced Sally Brown from the Peanuts franchise. Fergie became famous as a member of the Black Eyed Peas.
Jaleel White (did I do thaaaatt??) voiced Sonic the Hedgehog. Best known for his character Steve Urkel on Family Matters, White voiced Sonic when he was just 16 years old. Later, he also voiced the character for the animated series Sonic Underground.
Meg Ryan was the voice behind Dr. Blight from Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Do you really need to ask what she’s famous for? Didn’t think so.
Earle Hyman voiced Panthro from Thundercats. Hyman is best known for playing Russell Huxtable—the father of Cliff Huxtable, played by Bill Cosby, on The Cosby Show. Hyman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series for his role.
Surprise! Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell are The Ambiguously Gay Duo from SNL. Colbert is best known for his show The Colbert Report and now, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Carrell is known for his role in the comedy series The Office, and films such as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Carrell is also known for Foxcatcher, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, and he is the voice behind Gru from the blockbuster animated films Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and the recently completed Despicable Me 3.
Jeff Goldblum voiced Verminous Skumm from Captain Planet. Goldblum is best known for Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Independence Day: Resurgence, Mortdecai, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and earlier in his career, The Big Chill and The Right Stuff. Goldblum has also lent his voice to video games such as Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland and he has also made voice appearances on The Simpsons.
Flea, yes that Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, voiced Donnie from the Nickelodeon animated series The Wild Thornberrys.
LeVar Burton is the voice behind Kwame from Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Burton is best known for his role in the mini-series Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Ali. Burton has also lent his voice to animated TV series such as Transformers: Rescue Bots, Miles from Tomorrowland, Adventure Time, Family Guy and numerous video games. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff are just a few.
Arsenio Hall voiced Winston Zeddmore from The Real Ghostbusters (TV Series). Hall is best known for The Arsenio Hall Show and the film Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy.
Brad Garrett is the voice behind Hulk Hogan in Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling. Garret is best known for his role as Ray’s older brother Robert in Everybody Loves Raymond, This is Us, and guest appearances on Law & Order: SVU. Garret also voiced characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Finding Nemo, Night at the Museum, Finding Dory, and many others.
Keith David voiced Goliath from Disney’s Gargoyles. David is best known for his work on Clockers, Requiem for Dream, The Thing, Platoon, and Marked for Death. David has voiced dozens of characters throughout his career from Sal Commander from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series to Adventure Time.
Jessica Walter is the voice behind Fran Sinclair from Dinosaurs. Walter is best known for Play Misty For Me starring opposite Clint Eastwood, and TV series such as Marcus Welby, M.D., Love, American Style, Arrested Development, and Archer.
"Movies, TV and Celebrities." IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc., an Amazon Company, 1990-2017. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
"Random, Interesting, Amazing Facts - Fun Quizzes and Trivia." Mental Floss. Mental Floss, Inc., 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.