You don’t need to be a critic or even a lover of movies to be able to recognise talent when you see it. Even before technology reached where it is today, there are some voice actors that are truly exceptional when it comes to talent and the mark that they’ve left on people’s lives.
This blog post is going to cover some of the most epic voice overs of the 20th century (yes, the 1900’s!) and some of their most iconic performances that helped them really make their mark.
A lot of the time a voice over role can get lost in translation and we may start to associate them with mainly character voices, or advertorial voice talents.
Morgan Freeman however, has been an iconic voice over in the purest possible form, known for the narration of the documentaries, such as the academy award winning “The long way home” in 1997, about Jewish liberation post world war 2 and the establishment of Israel.
As well as his performance in documentary narration, he too is known for his voice over performance in various movies, most notably as the character of Ellis Boyd Redding, from Shawshank Redemption (1994).
A name whom we’ve covered in previous posts, Nancy Cartwright is going to once again get a shout out, for her exceptional presence in cartoons, voicing various male characters and making them her own.
As well as various side characters, Nancy Cartwright has voiced Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz and Todd Flanders! She’s been voicing Bart Simpson ever since the early conception of The Simpsons, back in the 80s.
To this day she still voices these characters, and one of the most celebrated characters on television no less!
Now here’s a real step back in time, back in 1931 and the inception of the Betty Boop character. Now Betty Boop has got to be one of the most iconic characters of the 1990’s.
Mae Questel was the voice behind her, as well as Olive Oyl, a supporting character of the Popeye series (from 1933), and what a voice indeed!
James Earl Jones was a very busy voice talent in the 20th century, starring in various movies throughout the years.
Some of his most note-worthy performances included the likes of Kibosh from Casper: A spirited beginning (1997), the voice of Mufasa from Lion King cartoon movies (1994 onward), as well as supporting characters from Sesame Street and Garfield and Friends!
His most notorious role has been in the Star Wars saga, where he was the iconic voice of Darth Vader. One would say his “god-like voice” is one to remember, there may never be another James Earl Jones in the voice over world.
What kind of sounds like a newspaper name, Elizabeth Daily is a voice actress with quite the career under her belt.
Famous for her roles in voicing 90s cartoon characters such as Tommy Pickles (from Rugrats) and Buttercup (from the Powerpuff girls), she’s proven she’s not only a talented voice actress, but also versatile to do both male and female character voices.
She also starred as the main Character “Babe” from Babe: Pig in the city.
Otherwise known as the voice behind Looney Tunes, Mel Blanc is truly a legend of voice overs, and that’s an understatement!
Some of his most recognised voices include the likes of Porky Pig, but also Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester, The Tasmanian Devil, and many more.
Being born in 1908 and deceased in 1989, he truly set a mark to remember for years to come, with replacement voices still being hired to this day based on his original concepts.
Notoriously known for her work in South Park, Mary Kay Bergman was the original voice of Timmy Turner when it was still in cartoon shorts form! Her honourable mentions include the spiderman animated series and even supporting characters in Toy Story (as Wendy) and Hercules!
The late Mary Kay Bergman had a bitter sweet career cut short due to her committing suicide in 1999. May she rest in peace.
Comparable to Mel Blanc, the voice over work done by the late Robin Williams is truly remarkable. Best known for his work as the Genie from Aladdin, as well as Popeye, and a wide range of celebrity impressions.
There isn’t a voice out there that can dim the shine that Robin Williams exudes. And there may never be in the future…
None other than the “movie trailer voice”, or better known as the movie trailer guy. Because Don LaFontaine literally is the reason why a “trailer voice” exists.
In his career, he’s recorded voice overs for over 5,000 film trailers and hundreds of thousands of tv ads, network promotions and video game trailers. All in the space of 4 decades!
What a career, a true legend of the 90s, and an unforgettable voice, a true standard set for centuries.
Also Read Best Voiceovers in Animated Films