You know when you’re watching a show and one of the actor’s voices just sounds so familiar but you can’t place it? Their face isn’t necessarily that familiar but that voice just keeps poking at the recesses of your mind? Then suddenly you have your ‘Eureka!’ moment and everything becomes clear: their voice is so familiar because they’re one of your favorite cartoon characters! Or, conversely, you’re watching a cartoon from your childhood and suddenly realize that character is voiced by a famous actor. And your world explodes. Let me make your world explode by letting you in on a few surprising celebs behind cartoon characters:
Patti Mayonnaise – Yoga Jones
When Yoga Jones made her debut on Orange is the New Black there was just something about her. I knew that woman, somehow, yet she didn’t look at all familiar. Her voice is so distinctive, I’m embarrassed it took me as long as it did to realize she was Doug’s Patti Mayonnaise. The actress’s name is Constance Schulman, but to me she’ll always be Doug’s crush, Patti.
Shredder – Uncle Phil
It blew my mind to discover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’s Shredder was none another than Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince. How can pleasant, stick-up-his-butt Uncle Phil possibly be evil, stick-up-his-butt Shredder? Television magic!
Lumiere – Detective Lennie Briscoe
Yep, Jerry Orbach, or Law and Order’s Lennie Brisco, was Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. That’s even old Jerry beltin’ out “Be Our Guest.” From detective to candlestick – the guy’s got range! With his Broadway background he nailed all the singing himself, even performing “Be Our Guest” at the 1992 Oscars.
Eliza Thornberry – Lacey Chabert
Lacey’s voice really resonated with me in Mean Girls when she said her father had invented toaster strudel. Yes, I was impressed that her dad did that, but her voice was so, so familiar. And not just because of Party of Five, but because she was Eliza! For six years she voiced the spectacled and rambunctious Eliza Thornberry on The Wild Thornberrys. Brava!
Nigel Thornberry – Tim Curry
This show was simply star-studded. The magnificent Home Alone 2-ing, Rocky Horror Picture Show-ing, Clue-tastic Tim Curry provided the voice of Eliza’s dad, Nigel.
Lilo – The Girl from The Ring
Daveigh Chase not only haunted our dreams in The Ring but delighted us Disney-style in Lilo and Stitch. She managed to play both roles in the same year. Craziness.
The Ambiguously Gay Duo – Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell
I suppose Stephen and Steve weren’t quite the stars they are today when they voiced Ace and Gary, but even though it surprised me that they were the duo, I have to say it makes sense. Now, excuse me while I go rewatch this SNL short series and imagine Stephen and Steve in place of Ace and Gary.
Optimus Prime – Orson Welles
Let’s take it back to the ’80s version of Transformers when robots were voiced by legends, like they deserved to be. And even though the Citizen Kane auteur and total movie genius wasn’t thrilled to do it, he still made a big impression on a lot of kids’ childhoods. This also happened to be his last role.
Sally Brown – Fergie
Indeed, Peanuts’s Sally Brown was voiced by Fergie for a couple Snoopy classics. She was just 9 years old when she tackled the complex character of Charlie Brown’s little sister.
Everyone in Captain Planet
This show was basically a who’s who of Hollywood, apparently. Celebs jumped in left and right to play heroes and villains on this show. Stars included Meg Ryan as Dr. Blight, Whoopi Goldberg as Gaia, LeVar Burton as Kwame, Ed Asner as Hoggish Greedly, James Coburn as Looten Plunder, Tim Curry as MAL, Jeff Goldblum as Verminous Skum, Martin Sheen as Sly Sludge, and Sting as Zarm. To name a few.