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Voice actor

(Redirected from Voice actress)

A voice actor (or voice artist) is a person who provides voices for animation (including animated feature films, television series, animated shorts), radio and television commercials, audio dramas, dubbed foreign language films, video games, puppet shows, and amusement rides. The Japanese term for a voice actor is a seiyuu. When singing is called for a role, a second voice actor is sometimes cast as the character's singing voice.

In a live-action production, voice actors may be called upon to read the parts of computer programs (Douglas Rain; Majel Barrett), radio dispatchers (Shaaron Claridge), or characters we never actually see on a show who give instructions by telephone (John Forsythe in Charlie's Angels) or mailed recording (Bob Johnson in Mission: Impossible).

It is not unusual to find amongst the ranks of voice actors people who also act in live-action film or television, or on the stage. For those actors, voice acting has the advantage of offering acting work without having to bother with makeup, costuming, lighting, and so on.

A common practice in animation voice casting not widely known to the general public is to have young boy-character roles read by women. On The Simpsons, for example, Nancy Cartwright plays not only Bart Simpson, but also Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and other juvenile males. This casting practice goes all the way back to Gracie Lantz as Woody Woodpecker, and continues with Elizabeth "E.G." Daily as Tommy Pickles on Rugrats and All Grown Up! today. June Foray, even as a senior citizen, can still faithfully voice Rocket J. Squirrel. Casting adult women for these parts can be especially useful if an ad campaign or a developed series is expected to run for several years, for while the vocal characteristics of an adolescent male actor would change over time, the voice of an adult female will not.

For much of the history of North American animation, voice actors had a predominantly low profile as performers, with Mel Blanc the major exception. Today, however, many Hollywood celebrities perform voice acting roles in movies, with one of the earliest examples being Transformers: The Movie, which counted among its cast Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson, Robert Stack and Eric Idle. The film which truly brought about this modern perception, however was Aladdin which was marketed with a noted emphasis on Robin Williams' role. The success of this film eventually spurred the idea of highlighting the voice actors as stars of a film becoming the norm in movie marketing, with a greater focus on hiring Hollywood celebrities for name power, rather than performers with more experience in voice acting. By contrast, using anime voice actors as a box office draw was developed far earlier in Japan.

SAG and aliases

A voice actor may be occasionally credited under an alias. Sometimes producers aren't willing to spend the higher cost of hiring members of the Screen Actors Guild, which prohibits its members from taking non-union jobs; but a voice actor needs income, so he may take a job under a false name in an attempt to avoid the SAG's notice. If caught, SAG may respond with fines and suspended health coverage. So the actor has an obligation to do all he can to discourage people from linking his name with the alias.

Some notable voice actors








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