From fearless princesses to brave heroes, cartoon characters play an important role in molding a child’s imagination. While it’s surprising to learn about the face behind your favorite animated figures from TV and film, what’s even more mind-blowing is the actor’s ability to change their voice to give life to a character…or even several characters, in some cases! Voice acting is, indeed, a unique art form that should be celebrated. To do so, we’ve put together a list of some of the most talented voice actors in the industry who have taken on the roles of iconic animated characters that you’ll surely recognize, whether that be charming childhood cartoon characters or adult animated sitcom protagonists.
Jodi Benson — Ariel, Barbie
Most kids are familiar with the Disney princess from the 1989 film The Little Mermaid, which inspired children from all over the world to never be afraid to dream big. Princess Ariel has been a childhood icon ever since the Disney film was released. But did you know that the voice behind this popular character is the one and only Jodi Benson?
Benson also happens to be the voice of Barbie in the second and third Toy Story films. With her unique talent and impressive voice acting skills, she was able to provide the voice for the titular character Thumbelina back in 1994 as well. If you’re a big Broadway buff, you might recognize her from her many onstage roles too!
Christopher Daniel Barnes — Prince Eric
Speaking of The Little Mermaid, just like every princess deserves a prince, Ariel has her very own Prince Eric to be her knight in shining armor and steal her heart. The voice of the handsome Prince Eric was played by the famous American actor and writer Christopher Daniel Barnes.
Barnes is also known as the voice behind the titular superhero of the animated Spider-Man series, a role he played from 1994 to 1998. After having such great success in voice acting, Barnes also played Greg Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995 and A Very Brady Sequel in 1996.
Tate Donovan — Hercules
One of the most famous Disney movies is the 1997 film Hercules, which stole the hearts of many fans. After all, who doesn’t love a handsome, strong character who also happens to be the son of Zeus? The man behind this heart-stopping character, Tate Donovan, was talented enough to be able to portray the voice of the beloved demigod perfectly…and not just in the film!
Donovan was also the voice of Hercules in Disney’s Hercules: The Animated Series, which aired for 52 episodes, and provided his talents for many video game adaptions. The talented American actor is also known for portraying Tom Shayes in the legal thriller television series Damages and Jimmy Cooper in the teen drama The O.C.
Susan Egan — Megara
If you’ve watched Hercules, then there’s no way you could forget beautiful Megara, the woman who developed genuine feelings for the titular hero in the midst of trying to uncover his weaknesses. With her charm and sultry voice, Megara was loved by many fans all over the world.
The woman who gave life to the character of Megara was American actress Susan Egan, who was best known for playing the role of Belle in the Broadway musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. With Egan’s solid foundation in both singing and acting, she has also been able to give life to many other unforgettable characters, such as Madame Gina in Porco Rosso, Rose Quartz in Steven Universe, and Lin in Spirited Away.
Trey Parker — Eric Cartman
Since the debut of the animated sitcom South Park, the character of Eric Cartman has become a well-known figure. Cartman, together with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick became famous for their profanity and dark, surreal humor that satirizes a wide range of topics for an adult audience.
Cartman came to life thanks to American actor, animator, writer, and producer Trey Parker. Parker didn’t just play the voice of Eric Cartman but also co-created the multi-awarded animated sitcom with Matt Stone. Thanks to their creativity and talent, South Park was ranked the tenth greatest TV cartoon of all time by TV Guide back in 2013!
Matt Stone — Kenny McCormick
Speaking of the adult animated television series South Park, Kenny McCormick is also one of the most memorable characters from the show. With his parka hood covering his mouth, his words are often muffled and incomprehensible, but that doesn’t make him any less humorous. Known for dying in numerous episodes of the show, he’s a stand-out character and fan favorite.
Aside from the original television series, McCormick also appeared in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The co-producer of South Park, actor Matt Stone, played Kenny McCormick and other characters in the series and film so well that he and his creative partner Trey Parker were able to take home various awards over the course of their careers.
Frank Welker — Scooby-Doo
If you were into monsters and mysteries growing up, then the classic 1969 animated television series Scooby-Doo has got to be one of your favorites. If you’re not familiar, the titular Great Dane is the partner in crime of detective Shaggy Rogers, who has a mixture of both canine and human behaviors. His cowardly yet cutesy persona made him one of the most-loved cartoon characters of all time.
This memorable dog is played by the one-and-only voice actor Frank Welker, who was also the voice behind the character of Fred Jones from the same television series. Additionally, Welker has voiced many famous characters like Garfield on The Garfield Show, Galvatron and Soundwave in the Transformers series, and various characters on The Smurfs TV show. With such an impressive voice acting career, he received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 2016.
Tony Goldwyn — Tarzan
Dubbed the “King of the Jungle,” Tarzan is one of the most recognized Disney characters of all time. Raised by great apes, Tarzan was a feral child who later experienced civilization but decided to return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. His immense love for animals and the jungle was a great reminder of the importance of nature conservation.
The man behind this legendary character is the talented actor, singer, and producer Tony Goldwyn. Goldwyn also played many other notable characters, like Andrew Prior in the Divergent film series, Colonel Bagley in The Last Samurai, and Paul Cohen in the 2021 film version of King Richard.
Minnie Driver — Jane
Of course, who could forget the beautiful Jane Porter from the 1999 Disney animated film, Tarzan? In the movie, the charismatic, albeit eccentric, ethnologist travels to Africa to study gorillas alongside her father, Archimedes Q. Porter. There, she meets Tarzan, who saves her and eventually becomes the love of her life.
Played by the multi-awarded English actress Minnie Driver, there’s no doubt why Jane’s character is so memorable. Driver is a phenomenal star who has had roles in a wide range of films and television shows, including The Phantom of the Opera, Owning Mahowny, The Riches, and the NBC series Will & Grace.
Ming-Na Wen — Mulan
The first-ever Asian Disney princess was the legendary Chinese warrior Fa Mulan from the 1998 movie Mulan. With a strong spirit and warrior-like courage, Mulan was different from the other girls in her village. She sacrificed everything, became a soldier, and later brought honor not only to her family but also to the entire country.
It’s thanks to the Chinese-American actress Ming-Na Wen, who supplied the voice of Fa Mulan, that the legendary warrior was able to inspire so many kids. Aside from playing the voice of the Disney princess, Ming-Na Wen has also starred as Chun-Li in Street Fighter, Detective Ellen Yin in The Batman, and Camile Wray in Stargate Universe.
Eddie Murphy — Mushu, Donkey
Unlike other Disney princesses with animal sidekicks, Mulan has an actual dragon companion to help her on her journey. The reddish-orange Chinese dragon, Mushu, acts as Fa Mulan's classic, charismatic sidekick. Although he can be selfish at times, Mushu’s heroism proves that he has a good heart, and his humor is a highlight of the movie.
This intense yet funny character was played by actor and comedian Eddie Murphy. Murphy also happened to play the voice of Donkey, the sidekick and best friend of Shrek, husband to Dragon, and father to a litter of dragon donkeys in the DreamWorks animated Shrek films from 2001-2010. But, of course, you may also recognize him from his roles in Dr. Dolittle and Coming to America.
Mike Myers — Shrek
There’s no denying that Shrek from the DreamWorks animated film series Shrek is truly one of the best characters to ever grace the silver screen. With his green skin and grumpy persona, Shrek may appear to be an intimidating ogre, but inside, he has a heart of gold.
This one-of-a-kind character was played to perfection by Canadian actor and comedian Mike Myers. Known for his work on classic comedy films and television series like Austin Powers and Wayne’s World, Myers is the well-deserving recipient of seven MTV Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Cameron Diaz — Fiona
The Shrek franchise wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Princess Fiona, the beautiful princess placed under a curse that transforms her into an ogre at night. Initially, the princess is determined to break the enchantment by kissing a prince, but she ends up meeting and falling in love with Shrek, an ogre, instead. Princess Fiona’s character is considered a parody of traditional princesses in both fairy tales and animated Disney films.
Played by none other than the legendary Cameron Diaz, reception of Fiona’s character was largely positive, with critics commending her character development and martial arts prowess. Diaz herself is an icon in her own right too. She’s a Hollywood sensation who has had roles in unforgettable films like Charlie’s Angels, The Other Woman, and Sex Tape.
Matthew Broderick — Simba
One of Walt Disney’s most beloved and successful films of all time is the 1994 animated feature film The Lion King. The movie follows the story of Simba, the heir to the Pride Lands until his uncle Scar blames him for his father’s death. He later redeems himself as the one true king when he and his friends decide to fight Scar and his pack of hyena henchmen to take back his throne.
The man behind the animated protagonist is American actor Matthew Broderick, who also starred in various films like Godzilla, The Freshman, and You Can Count on Me. But, of course, Broderick is most known for his role as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The talented star has found fame on Broadway and won multiple awards for both his film and stage performances over the years.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas — Young Simba
Broderick wasn’t the only one to voice the lion prince, however. The young Simba may be a handful, but he’s surely an adorable and cute little lion cub. His stubbornness and curiosity caused him and Nala to wander into the restricted area of the Pride Lands, leading them into the territory of the hyenas. After running away and blaming himself for his father’s death, Simba learned to grow up with his guilt, only to find out that he was innocent.
The young Simba was played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the same actor who played another classic Disney character — Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who dreamed of becoming a real boy in the 1996 film The Adventures of Pinocchio. He was also known for playing Tom Sawyer in Tom and Huck and Randy Taylor in Home Improvement.
Jeremy Irons — Scar
One of the ultimate Disney villains of all time is the ruthless, power-hungry, and deceitful Scar. He’s the mastermind behind the plot to kill his own brother, exile his nephew Simba, and take over the Pride Lands with his army of hyenas. During his reign, Scar destroys the balance of the circle of life, resulting in a scarcity of food and an imbalance in the food chain.
This effective villain was voiced by the English actor and activist, Jeremy Irons. Over the years, Irons has played a variety of classic characters, like Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance, Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, and Alfred Pennyworth in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Daveigh Chase — Lilo, Samara
One of the only Hawaiian characters in the Disney universe, Lilo Pelekai from Lilo and Stitch is a well-loved character. Lilo is the kind of girl you don’t want to mess with. She never backs down from protecting her family and friends, even against alien villains. But did you know that the charming voice of Lilo also played another well-known character in a much different movie?
Believe it or not, the voice actor behind this adorable Hawaiian girl is the same actress who played the role of Samara Morgan, the child antagonist in the 2002 horror film The Ring. Both characters were played by the talented Daveigh Chase, who’s also known for portraying the role of Samantha Darko in the cult classic film Donnie Darko.
Mickey Mouse — Walt Disney
The Disney experience wouldn’t be complete without the long-time mascot of The Walt Disney Company: Mickey Mouse! The anthropomorphic mouse was created way back in 1928 by the one and only legendary animator Walt Disney, who was also the original voice actor for the character.
With his red shorts, large yellow shoes, white gloves, and squeaky voice, the character became an instant classic for kids. Mickey first appeared in the short Plane Crazy and publicly debuted in the short film Steamboat Willie, one of the first cartoons with sound. From there, he was featured in various comic strips and eventually featured in the television series The Mickey Mouse Club for four decades. All thanks to the father of Disney, Walt himself, Mickey’s character doesn’t just represent childhood for many but reminds us that “laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever,” according to Walt Disney.
Sterling Holloway — Winnie the Pooh
One of the most famous Disney characters is the adorable Winnie the Pooh. You may also know him as Pooh bear or Pooh. The teddy bear was created back in 1926 and was originally the main character of a book series that was later adapted for film, becoming one of the most unforgettable Disney characters of all time.
Pooh’s character was played by the talented American actor Sterling Holloway. Holloway was also the voice behind many notable Disney characters, like Mr. Stork in Dumbo, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Kaa in The Jungle Book, and Roquefort the Mouse in The Aristocats. Just before his passing in 1992, he became the first voice actor to ever receive the honor of Disney Legend for his diverse and talented acting.
Mel Blanc — Over 400 Characters
Aside from being a Disney baby growing up, surely you’ve also seen Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies? The comedic series gave us so many classic and memorable characters, such as Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, and many more! But did you know that many of these characters were voiced by the same person?
One of the most beloved characters from the series is Bugs Bunny, who’s best known for the catchphrase, “Eh…What’s up, Doc?” Famous for his flippant, off-handedly humorous personality, Bugs Bunny is one of the most iconic characters of his time. Other classic characters from the golden age of American animation are Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, who starred in 130 and 167 shorts, respectively. And all of these legendary characters were played by the American voice actor and radio personality Mel Blanc! Over the course of his 60-year career, Blanc gave life to over 400 characters and became known as “the man of a thousand voices.” He was, no doubt, the most influential voice actor of all time!
Erik von Detten — Sid
You may hate the character of Sid Phillips from the 1995 Disney film Toy Story, but his insensitive and foolish personality made him a stand-out antagonist of the film. Sid was Andy's deranged next-door neighbor until the Davis family moved out at the end of the film. He wears a signature black T-shirt that has a skull on it and is known for being a real toy terrorizer.
It was thanks to the great voice actor behind Sid Phillips’s character, Erik von Detten, that Sid became an effective and unforgettable villain in the film. Aside from Sid, Detten also played many other famous (and more favorable) characters, like Josh Bryant in The Princess Diaries, the voice of Flynt in Tarzan, and Erwin Lawson throughout the full run of the animated series Recess.
Joan Cusack — Jessie
Speaking of the Toy Story franchise, another famous character who caught everyone’s attention in Toy Story 2 is Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl. She’s a vintage pull-string cowgirl toy from the 1950s, the best buddy of Bullseye, and a former member of Woody's Roundup gang who originally belonged to a girl named Emily.
Jessie’s character was voiced by the Academy Award-winning actress Joan Cusack. Cusack also played the voice of Abby Mallard, the buck-toothed duck in the 2005 Walt Disney film Chicken Little. Cusack has also appeared in School of Rock, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Shameless, among other television series and films.
Laurie Metcalf — Andy's mom, Sarah Hawkins
Mrs. Davis, also known as Andy’s mom from the Toy Story franchise, is the single mother of Andy and Molly. She’s a very loving and devoted parent who establishes fair rules for her children. However, like any parent, she often argues with Andy and Molly. Mrs. Davis is a great representation of the single moms out there who never fail to be great parental figures for their children despite doing it on their own.
This memorable character was played by multi-awarded actress Laurie Metcalf, who also played the voice of Sarah Hawkins, a major character in Disney's 2002 animated feature film Treasure Planet. But Metcalf is even more known for her on-screen appearances, particularly for her roles as Jackie Harris on Roseanne, May Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, and Marion McPherson in Ladybird.
Howie Mandel — Gizmo
One of the cutest and most adorable characters to ever grace the silver screen is Gizmo from the 1984 comedy horror film Gremlins and its sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Gizmo is Billy’s strange little pet. He doesn't seem to have a single mean bone in his body, making him an Eternal, or a Mogwai who refuses to be evil.
Gizmo may not have lines like other actors in the film, but he’s certainly vocal in his own cutesy way. Believe it or not, the voice behind this endearing character is the one-and-only Howie Mandel! Nowadays, Mandel is known as the host of the international game show Deal or No Deal and judge on America’s Got Talent, but back in the late-80s, he did more acting. People who grew up in that era will undoubtedly also remember his role alongside Fred Savage as Maurice in Little Monsters.
Mandy Moore — Rapunzel
With her magical, long blonde hair, Rapunzel from Walt Disney’s 50th animated feature film Tangled is surely a beloved modern princess. Having spent all of her life isolated in a tower with little else to do, she’s well educated in literature and talented in almost all areas, such as music, baking, and even more advanced subjects like astronomy — as illustrated by her accurate star charts. Little did she know all that time locked in her tower that she was the long-lost daughter of the King and Queen of Corona!
The iconic Disney princess was voiced by none other than the legendary Mandy Moore. Moore has also played several unforgettable characters like Nita in Brother Bear 2 and Mara in Tron: Uprising. She even made an appearance on The Simpsons as Tabitha Vixx. But before all that, Moore was a successful singer, which must have come in handy when it came to the iconic duets and solos in Tangled.
Zachary Levi — Flynn Rider
Eugene Fitzherbert — better known as Flynn Rider — from the animated feature film Tangled is probably one of the most handsome faces Disney has ever produced. Flynn Rider is a thief on the run for stealing the missing Princess Rapunzel's tiara who finds himself trying to hide out in her tower. Rapunzel, with no previous knowledge of the outside world, convinces him to accompany her to see the lanterns. He later ends up falling in love with Rapunzel and helps save her from the evil Mother Gothel.
The man behind this good-looking character is the American actor Zachary Levi, who’s also known for portraying the title character in Shazam, Toby Seville in Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and Arcade Gannon in New Vegas. He has also appeared in the Thor movies. In addition to his film career, Levi has found success on Broadway, which no doubt helped him to earn his Grammy for the duet he had with Mandy Moore in Tangled.
Kelly Macdonald — Merida
The 11th Disney Princess in the official lineup and the first official Disney princess from a Pixar film, Merida is the tenacious and adventurous princess from the 2012 animated film Brave. Unlike other Disney princesses, Merida is used to bad habits and is also a bit of a tomboy. The movie follows her journey as she seeks to save her mother, who was cursed by a witch to become a bear.
Merida was voiced by Kelly Macdonald, who has also played a wide range of characters like Evangeline in Nanny McPhee, Helena Ravenclaw from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Isabel Knollys in Elizabeth. However, Merida is one of Macdonald’s only voice-acting roles. Usually, the talented actress appears on-screen!
Aisha Tyler — Lana Kane
Lana Kane is one of the main characters of the adult animated sitcom Archer, which made its debut in 2009. Kane is best known as the top female special agent of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS). But she’s also known for continuously falling for the troubled, titular main character throughout the series.
This empowered character is voiced by American actress and comedian Aisha Tyler, who also played the role of Dr. Tara Lewis, the forensic psychologist and Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in the crime drama television series Criminal Minds. You might also recognize her as the host of Who’s Line Is It Anyway? since 2013.
Judy Greer — Cheryl Tunt
One of the funniest characters on the hit animated sitcom Archer is Cheryl Tunt, who’s part of the wealthy Tunt family and is introduced as the incompetent personal assistant of Malory Archer. She’s portrayed as an eccentric, emotionally fragile, ditzy character with an addiction to rubber cement. But Tunt’s character became even more iconic in the later seasons of Archer.
Her character was well-received as it was played well by multi-talented actress Judy Greer. Greer has taken on a vast range of characters over the years as a supporting actress in films like Jawbreaker, What Women Want, and 27 Dresses. But she’s lent her one-of-a-kind voice to many animated characters over the years too, such as a number of small parts on Family Guy and American Dad.
H. Jon Benjamin — Bob, Archer
Inspired by the famous James Bond, Sterling Archer from the animated sitcom Archer is known as the narcissistic, womanizing secret agent of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a fictional New York-based intelligence service headed by his mother Malory. Archer’s narcissism, sharp sense of humor, and complex relationships with his peers serve as important aspects of his character. Such a persona is in stark contrast to the loveable dad of Bob’s Burgers, yet the two are voiced by the same actor!
It’s all thanks to American actor and comedian H. Jon Benjamin that both Archer and Bob have become favorites for many over the years. Fans of Archer will no doubt remember the classic crossover episode in which Archer has amnesia and believes he’s Bob from Bob’s Burgers, a hilarious occasion for those who watch both series. Although Benjamin sounds very similar in both roles, he somehow takes on each man’s characteristics to create distinct personas.
John Roberts — Linda Belcher
Known as the happy-go-lucky and supportive wife of Bob and the mother of Tina, Gene, and Louise, Linda Belcher surely has one of the most unique senses of humor among the characters from the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers. She’s extroverted, has a thick Brooklyn accent, and is fond of tackling problems using unconventional methods, though she’s frequently over-optimistic about it.
Believe it or not, the voice behind Linda Belcher is a man! The sitcom mom is played by American actor and writer John Roberts, who has also guest-starred in several sitcoms like Archer, The Simpsons, and The Awesomes. But, of course, Linda is his most well-known and iconic character, especially with her amazing, impromptu songs!
Dan Mintz — Tina Belcher
The eldest Belcher child on Bob’s Burgers, who usually serves as the voice of reason among the Belcher children (except when it comes to boys), is the unintentionally hilarious Tina Belcher. The mastermind behind sultry “friend fiction,” Tina is an awkward tween with one of the most iconic voices (and groans) in the whole series.
Just like her mother, and most of the other characters on the show, Tina Belcher is voiced by a man. She’s played by American actor and comedian Dan Mintz. Other than Tina, Mintz has played small roles on The Awesomes and Adventure Time. Rather than acting on-screen, Mintz prefers to stay behind the scenes as a voice actor and writer.
Mike Judge — Beavis and Butt-Head
One of the most famous American adult animated series back in the 90s was Beavis and Butt-Head, which ran for seven seasons. One of the two protagonists of the series is Beavis, who has blond hair, a pronounced underbite, and a hoarse voice that he uses for his trademark "Heh heh" snicker. Butt-Head, on the other hand, has a severe overbite, wears braces, and has squinty eyes.
Both Beavis and Butt-Head spend almost all of their time with each other. As similar as they are, however, they sound quite different. So, many people would likely be surprised to find out that they’re voiced by one actor. Mike Judge, the creator of the animated series, gave life to both boys.
John Travolta — Bolt
One of the most-loved animated films released by Disney is Bolt, a charming story about a White Shepherd who goes on an accidental adventure. Having spent his entire life in a television studio, Bolt believes that the fictional world of the television series he’s on is reality until his co-star Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus) gets kidnapped. Fearing for her safety, Bolt manages to escape the studio in order to try to rescue her but finds that the real world is much different than he expected.
The 2008 film features the voice of Hollywood legend John Travolta as the titular character. Known as the lead stud from Grease, John Travolta was a popular heartthrob in the late-70s and 80s, but he appears in fewer films now that he’s older. In an interview after the movie’s premiere, Travolta revealed that he has been asked many times to do voice work for animated movies, but only the story of Bolt had captured his interest.
Bradley Cooper — Rocket Raccoon
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will always remember Rocket Raccoon as one of the main heroes that make up The Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s not just a brash and reckless former intergalactic thief, he’s funny and ferocious as well! Voiced by Hollywood heartthrob and A-lister Bradley Cooper, the anthropomorphic raccoon was brought to life thanks to a combination of CGI, green screen technology, and voice acting.
Before Cooper landed the role, actors such as Adam Sandler, Danny DeVito, David Tennant, Sharlto Copley, and Jim Carrey were considered to voice the genetically-enhanced superhero. But Cooper was the one to nail it! In one interview, the actor shared that he took inspiration from Joe Pesci for his portrayal of Rocket Raccoon.
Justin Roiland — Rick, Morty
Rick and Morty is one of the most famous adult animated science-fiction sitcoms out there. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network, the series follows the misadventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson, Morty Smith. Roiland not only writes for the show but lends his talent and versatile voice to give life to the main characters, who juggle life, inter-dimensional adventures, and domestic affairs.
Rick and Morty didn’t just win the hearts of its loyal viewers, it also received multiple accolades from critics and award-giving bodies, such as the Emmys! Before working on the popular sitcom, Roiland played roles on other animated shows like Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and Fish Hooks. But now, with his greater fame, he focuses more on Rick and Morty and his newer Adult Swim show, Solar Opposites.
Billy West — Philip J. Fry
American voice actor, comedian, and radio personality Billy West is the voice behind one of the most memorable animated sitcom characters ever: Futurama’s Philip J. Fry. For those who aren’t familiar with this Matt Groening show, Futurama follows Fry, who accidentally cryogenically freezes himself and wakes up 1000 in the future. Revived in the year 2999, he becomes a delivery boy for the Planet Express company, which is owned by his distant, great-great-great nephew.
Fans of the show instantly fell in love with the wit and talent of West as he gave life to the central character Philip J. Fry. Aside from providing the voice for Fry, West also lent his voice to other Futurama characters, such as Doctor Zoidberg, Zapp Branagan, and Professor Farnsworth. Aside from Futurama, West has also had roles on Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Matt Groening’s newer show Disenchantment, and many other animated series.
Lauren Tom — Amy Wong
Fans of the iconic animated science-fiction sitcom Futurama may or may not know that the voice behind the beloved character Amy Wong is the multi-talented actress Lauren Tom. Wong’s character charmed the hearts of Futurama fans worldwide with her quick-witted remarks and signature pink tracksuit. But Wong isn’t just an intern at Planet Express, she’s also a stellar engineering student at Mars University.
Aside from giving voice to this inspirational character, Tom also worked for other animated projects such as Codename: Kids Next Door and Phineas and Ferb. She’s had small roles on-screen in The Closer, Grey’s Anatomy, The Equalizer, Supernatural, and several other shows as well. More recently, she has lent her talent to shows like Disenchantment and Rick and Morty.
Katey Segal — Turanga Leela
If you’re an avid fan of Futurama, there’s no way you won’t recognize the voice of Turanga Leela, the captain of the Planet Express ship. Known for her fierce attitude, Turanga Leela is the perfect embodiment of professionalism (most of the time), unlike Futurama’s other crew members. Despite her penchant for violence, her longing for her family and love for animals makes her a very sympathetic character.
Thanks to the versatility of actress Katey Segal, Leela has become one of the most unforgettable characters in the animated sitcom. Outside her stint on Futurama, Segal has lent her talents to various projects, such as Married... with Children, 8 Simple Rules, and Sons of Anarchy. Leela was her most prominent voice acting part, however, which makes her reprisal of the role in the upcoming reboot alongside the other original cast members all the more special!
Phil LaMarr — Conrad, Samurai Jack
People who grew up in the early 2000s will always remember Samurai Jack as one of Cartoon Network’s most notable characters. The series follows the adventures of the mighty Japanese warrior “Jack” as he trains to defeat the demon Aku. Fans across the world fell in love with the animation and story line, especially with the challenges that Jack had to go through in order to return to the period where he could destroy the time-traveling Aku.
Of course, the series wouldn’t have been a success without the man behind the voice of Jack, multi-awarded actor and comedian Phil LaMarr. A graduate of the prestigious Yale University, he worked on theater productions, comedy shows, and various projects before establishing himself as a voice actor. Aside from Samurai Jack, LaMarr is also known for his work on Futurama as Hermes Conrad and other supporting characters.
John DiMaggio — Bender, Jake the Dog
There’s no denying that John DiMaggio is one of the most famous voice actors in Hollywood. Known for his distinctly gruff voice, the former stand-up comedian has lent his talent to various television and video game projects, such as Adventure Time, Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, Futurama, Whatever happened to... Robot Jones?, Disenchantment, and Final Space.
As the voice behind Jake the Dog and Bender, DiMaggio is most recognized for his work on Adventure Time and Futurama. While the ever-famous Jake the Dog is known as Finn’s best friend and constant companion in Adventure Time, Bender Rodriguez is Fry’s best friend in Futurama. Both Jake and Bender never fail to bring laughter to audiences across the world, thanks to DiMaggio’s natural charisma.
Tara Strong — Bubbles, Timmy
The iconic cartoon trio The PowerPuff Girls wouldn’t be complete without their sweet sister Bubbles. Known for being the “sugar” among the three superheroes, Bubbles has infectious laughter that serves as the emotional glue of her sisters. Her special abilities include flight, superhuman strength, laser beams, a powerful scream, and multilingualism.
What many fans of the show don’t know is that the voice behind Bubbles is actress and singer Tara Lyn Strong. Dubbed “The woman of a thousand voices,” Strong started as a theater actress before moving to voice acting. She has proven her versatility by giving life to characters such as Timmy Turner on The Fairly Odd Parents, Harley Quinn in The Batman series, Melody in The Little Mermaid 2, Ashi in Samurai Jack, and many more!
Tom Kenny — SpongeBob
There’s no denying that SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular animated characters in history! Created by animator and marine science educator Stephen Hillenburg, the Nickelodeon series follows the life of SpongeBob and his friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Other fan-favorite characters include Gary the snail, Patrick Star, and the grumpy octopus Squidward Tentacles.
Thanks to the voice of Tom Kenny, SpongeBob has become a household name. Not only does Kenny voice the iconic sea sponge, but he also does voice acting for other Bikini Bottom characters like Gary the snail and the series host, Patchy the Pirate. You may also know him (or his voice, rather) from his role as Dog on CatDog, numerous characters on The PowerPuff Girls, the Ice King on Adventure Time, Squanchy on Rick and Morty, or for his regular appearances on Sit Down, Shut Up.
Dan Castellaneta — Homer Simpson
Pop culture would never be the same after the rise of The Simpsons. As one of the longest-running animated sitcoms in the world, no one can deny that the Simpsons family has become a household name. Leading the pack is Homer Simpson, the lazy, overweight, donut-loving husband of Marge Simpson and dad to Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Although Homer seems ignorant of the world around him, he’s very loving to the ones he truly cares about (except for when he’s strangling Bart, that is).
The person behind the iconic character is American actor, screenwriter, and comedian Dan Castellaneta. A man of many talents, Castellaneta has given life to many other characters in The Simpsons too, like Abraham Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and Barney Gumble. Although Castellaneta has played dozens of roles on The Simpsons over the years, he somehow makes each unique. That’s partially because most of them are based on real-life celebrities!
Nancy Cartwright — Bart Simpson
Another iconic character from The Simpsons universe is Bartholomew Simpson. Popularly known as “Bart,” the eldest child of the Simpson family isn’t just mischievous, he’s also labeled as rebellious and disruptive by some of his family members. Bart may be a “bad boy,” but, fun fact, the person behind his voice is actually a woman!
Emmy-award-winning actress Nancy Cartwright has such a versatile voice that she often plays scratchy-voiced young boys. Aside from Bart, she has also lent her voice to another iconic character: Chuckie from Rugrats. Cartwright became the official voice of Chuckie when the previous voice actor, Christine Cavanaugh, decided to retire. Later on, Cartwright originally tried out for Lisa when auditioning for The Simpsons, but she thought Bart was more interesting and convinced creator Matt Groening to let her try it out. Obviously, she nailed it!
Hank Azaria — Moe Syzslack
Fans of The Simpsons are very familiar with Moammar Morris “Moe” Szyslak as the bartender of Moe’s Tavern, the go-to drinking spot of Homer and his friends. Despite his hot-tempered nature, Syzslack is warm and welcoming to his bar friends, Homer, Barney, Carl, and Lenny. Although his appearance is often likened to that of a gargoyle, fans fell in love with his soft side, as he’s often seen helping others in need.
Played to perfection by voice actor Hank Azaria, Moe is truly one of the most unforgettable characters in The Simpsons universe. But the Emmy-Award winner also does voice acting for characters like Chief Wiggum, Professor Frink, Comic Book Guy, and Snake Jailbird. Until 2020, he also voice Apu. Aside from The Simpsons, Azaria is also known for giving voice to Gargamel in The Smurfs movies.
Zach Braff — Chicken Little
Those who grew up in the early-2000s will always remember the character of Chicken Little as the young rooster who caused a panic when he thought that the sky was falling. Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2005, the movie was inspired by an Anglo-Saxon fairy tale and was dedicated to long-time Disney artist Joe Grant, who passed away just months before the film’s cinematic release. Just as the saying goes, the film follows Chicken Little’s quest to redeem his reputation after causing mass hysteria in town.
The voice behind the iconic character is American actor and filmmaker Zach Braff, who proved his humor and versatility by giving life to Chicken Little. While he’s best known for his work on the television series Scrubs, Braff also gave outstanding performances in The Last Kiss and Oz The Great and Powerful. But you may have also seen his small but role on BoJack Horseman as himself.
Jay Baruchel — Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
Before he became a great dragon rider, How to Train Your Dragon’s Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III had a challenging life. Born prematurely to Stoick the Vast and his wife Valka, Hiccup was frail and sickly as a kid until he met Toothless, the dragon that changed his life. Growing into a witty and adventurous young man, he exemplified kindness and intelligence, despite the bullying he experienced from his peers. But Hiccup’s unbreakable bond with his dragon is one of the most dominant themes of the movie and was what truly captured the heart of viewers worldwide.
Thanks to the very talented voice actor Jay Baruchel, Hiccup’s character has been well-loved over the years. Beyond the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Baruchel has worked on other film and animation projects like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tropic Thunder, and She’s Out of My League. Over the years, Baruchel has won numerous awards for his work, including an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production thanks to his talents as Hiccup.
Amy Poehler — Joy
The blockbuster hit Inside Out wouldn’t have been the same without the presence of Joy, one of the five dominant emotions living inside the mind of young Riley Andersen. Joy is known for her sassy and perky demeanor and for always looking at the bright side of things. Her optimism is her strength, yet it’s also the source of her weakness, for Joy has a tendency to be controlling because she doesn’t want Riley to feel sad.
Voiced by the versatile actress Amy Poehler, the presence of Joy truly makes the film an enjoyable experience. Aside from her work on animated projects, Poehler has brought joy to viewers and established a name for herself with various Hollywood projects like Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation, The Mighty B!, and many more!
Phyllis Smith — Sadness
Of course, Joy cannot exist without sadness. And in the movie Inside Out, sadness came into existence after Joy. While Joy became the dominant emotion for Riley, Sadness only came into the picture whenever she didn’t get her way. As Joy’s complete opposite, Sadness is the epitome of gloom. Joy treats her badly because she doesn’t want Riley to feel any sorrow.
Actress Phyllis Smith’s portrayal of Sadness highlights her melancholic and sensitive behavior, which adds to the emotional gravity of the movie. While Smith is best known for her performance as Phyllis Vance in the hit show The Office, she became even more popular after garnering critical and commercial success for her role as Sadness.
Steve Carell — Gru
The word “supervillain” took on a different meaning with Gru. The son of Marlena Gru and Robert Gru, Felonius Gru is the infamous leader of the minions and the star of the popular animated Despicable Me films. With his thick accent, dark humor, cunning attitude, and soft side viewers couldn’t help but fall in love with his character.
Voiced by the one-and-only Steve Carell, Gru became one of the most iconic pop culture characters in recent memory. Hailed as one of the funniest men in America, Carell gave life to the character of Gru in various animated projects like Despicable Me 2, Minions: The Rise of Gru, and Despicable Me 3. But not everyone knows that loveable supervillian is the very same man who appeared for so many years on The Office.
John C. Reilly — Ralph
No one can deny the fact that Wreck-It Ralph is one of the most-loved Disney animated films in recent memory. A traditional “bad guy,” Ralph spent 30 years playing the role of a havoc-wrecker in the game called Fix-It Felix, Jr. The movie opens with Ralph realizing that he’s no longer happy with his job, so he decides to embark on an adventure across other arcade games to prove to everyone that he’s more than his “bad guy” image.
Voiced by singer, producer, and comedian John C. Reilly, Wreck-It Ralph’s loveable main character captured the hearts of many viewers across the world. But those who watched it at the time might not have recognized Reilly’s voice as the same one that sang duets in Chicago. Of course, Reilly is also well-known for his role in Step-Brothers.
Sarah Silverman — Vanellope von Schweetz
The Wreck-It Ralph experience wouldn’t be the same without Ralph’s sassy yet feisty best friend Vanellope von Schweetz from the game Sugar Rush. Known by everyone in the arcade world as “The Glitch,” Vanellope was introduced to the candy-coated cart-racing game as a programming mistake. Despite her boldness and optimism to always win the game, the other racers don’t want to be near her, since she might cause havoc.
Voiced by the very talented comedian Sarah Silverman, Vanellope found a true confidant in Ralph, as they’re both social outcasts merely seeking to find their place in the world. Aside from her work on animation, Silverman gained popularity for her writing, comedy performances, appearances on Saturday Night Live, and supporting roles in films like School of Rock.
Seth MacFarlane — Stan Smith, Peter Griffin
Long-time fans of American Dad! will likely recognize the voice of actor and creator Seth MacFarlane, who gave life to the titular character Stan Smith. As part of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since the 1980s, Smith devoted his life to interrogating possible threats to the United States. But he’s not the only character MacFarlane has played.
For many years, MacFarlane has shared his talent with avid viewers of the show by giving life to Smith and numerous other characters. But before landing big roles in the industry and creating his own animated sitcoms and movies, he worked for Hannah-Barbera productions on shows like Johnny Bravo. Aside from his unforgettable role in American Dad!, MacFarlane’s claim to fame is his work on his hit series Family Guy, where he voices Stewie, Brian, and Peter Griffin, as well as other voices like Quagmire. But he’s also known for his work on Ted and Ted 2 as a writer and the voice of the raunchy, titular teddy bear.
Dee Bradley Baker — Klaus
If you’re a loyal fan of the animated series American Dad!, there’s no way you’ll fail to recognize the voice of Klaus Heisler, the Smith family’s most-hated goldfish! Voiced by actor Dee Bradley Baker, Klaus has an amazing backstory, as he was once a German ski jumper, but his brain was transferred into the body of a goldfish thanks to the CIA!
Baker’s unique vocalization and versatile talent have amazed fans across the world and made the character of Klaus a standout even amongst the other incredible voice actors on the show! Thanks to his unique voice suitable for odd-ball animal characters, Baker has also landed roles on various animated shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants. He’s also played Appa and Momo on Avatar: The Last Airbender, multiple characters on The Legend of Korra, and the iconic Perry the Platypus on Phineas and Ferb.
Seth Green — Chris Griffin
When talking about Family Guy’s cast of characters, it’s impossible not to mention Chris Griffin, the middle child of the Griffin family. Although he’s not the brightest, he’s very passionate when it comes to movies and pop culture. A classic teenage boy character, he’s constantly dealing with girl troubles, school, weight issues, and acne problems.
Thanks to the voice of talented actor Seth Green, Chris came to life and became a very relatable character to many fans of the show. While he also provided the minor voice of Neil Goldman, Green is even better known for projects outside Family Guy, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Austin Powers, and Rat Race.
Mila Kunis — Meg Griffin
Before she became a Hollywood A-lister, actress Mila Kunis voiced Meg Griffin on the animated series Family Guy. Despite being the oldest child of the Griffin family, Megatron “Meg” Griffin is considered to be the black sheep. She’s often ignored, abused, and misunderstood and is always trying to fit into popular circles to no avail.
Kunis’s unforgettable performance captures Meg’s struggles amidst her insecurities and humiliation. But due to the bad experiences that she endures, Meg is also capable of villainous tendencies from time to time. While she became a fan favorite for her work on Family Guy, Kunis was also hard at work on That ‘70s Show, making a name for herself as Jackie Burkhart. Since then, Kunis has had a successful career on the silver screen as well, with outstanding performances in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Friends with Benefits, Black Swan, and many more.
Patrick Warburton — Joe Swanson, Kronk
One of the most memorable characters from the Family Guy universe is the macho policeman Joe Swanson. The paraplegic officer of the Quahog Police Department is often prone to angry outbursts but still manages to perform his duties and responsibilities (most of the time). One of the few animated characters on television with a disability, he’s an inspiration to many since he’s viewed as the best hand-to-hand fighter in the entire show. Despite his condition, he always rises to the occasion with strength and bravery.
It’s all thanks to the voice of the talented Patrick Warburton that the character of Joe came to life. A regular fixture in television sitcoms, Warburton had a prolific acting career before shifting to voice acting. You may recognize him from his on-screen appearances as Lemony Snicket in A Series of Unfortunate Events or for his long-time role on Rules of Engagement. He’s also voiced the character of Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove and Buzz Lightyear in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command among numerous other gigs.
John Goodman — Pacha, Sully
If you asked Disney fans about their favorite animated sidekick, the name Pacha would likely be part of the list. As the supporting character of the 2005 movie The Emperor’s New Groove, Pacha is a kind-hearted peasant who helps Emperor Kuzco reclaim his powerful position in the palace. Despite their clashing personalities, the two forge a strong friendship over the course of the film.
This well-loved character is voiced by none other than Golden Globe Award-winner John Goodman. Aside from his iconic performance as Pacha, Goodman has breathed life into other unforgettable characters in film and television, such as Sully in Monsters Inc. and Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones. But before his voice acting career, Goodman was known for his work on The Blues Brothers and Roseanne in the 80s and 90s.
Billy Crystal — Mike Wazowski
Mike Wazowki is everyone’s favorite lime-green monster from the hit 2001 Disney and Pixar collaboration Monsters, Inc. Known for his larger-than-life smile and funny attitude, this one-eyed monster charmed the hearts of many kids around the world. In the first movie, Mike is introduced as the assistant and best friend of Sulley while the prequel, Monsters University, details their first encounters in college. Despite their constant fights and disagreements, their friendship never fails to save them.
Voiced by the incredible actor and comedian Billy Crystal, the character of Mike is one of the most charming Disney characters in recent memory. Outside his work with Disney, Crystal has lent his talent to other Hollywood projects such as the comedy-fantasy film The Princess Bride and the musical comedy The Muppets.