Every child grows up watching cartoons, but often only when we are older do we realize that many of them have similar voices. Voice actors are unsung heroes of the entertainment industry, often going unnoticed or under appreciated for the work that they do in bringing characters to life. Here, we celebrate some of the voices behind our favorite cartoons.
1. Daws Butler
The Voice Of: Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, and many other classic Hanna-Barbera characters.
Daws Butler was Hanna-Barbera's go-to voice actor right from the company's beginnings in the late '50s, providing the voice of Reddy the dog in their first series, The Ruff And Reddy Show.
Butler went on to voice such other beloved characters as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Quickdraw McGraw among many others. He continued to serve as the lead voice actor in many Hanna-Barbera productions until his death in 1988, at which point his protégé Greg Burson inherited many of his roles.
2. Jim Cummings
The Voice Of: Winnie The Pooh, Darkwing Duck, Pete, Tasmanian Devil
With almost 400 roles under his belt, chances are at least one of your favorite cartoon characters is voiced by Jim Cummings. A master of all mediums, he has voiced roles in animated series, films, and video games. He possesses a particular talent for singing in character, as shown in this clip from Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin.
Today, Cummings is probably best known as the voice of Winnie The Pooh, a role he has held since 1988, and Tigger, a role he inherited after Paul Winchell's retirement in 1999. He is known to call hospitals, speaking with sick children in character as Pooh.
3. E.G. Daily
The Voice Of: Tommy Pickles, Buttercup, Baby Mumble.
A singer and voice actress with an occasional foray into live action, E.G. Daily is a jack of all trades. Any child born in the '90s will remember her voice, first in the role of brave Tommy Pickles in Rugrats, and later as "toughest fighter" Buttercup in The Powerpuff Girls.
In films, she has provided the voice of Sheep-Pig Babe in Babe: Pig In The City, taking over the role from her Rugrats co-star, Christine Cavanaugh. More recently, she voiced the role of Baby Mumble in Happy Feet, and the singing voice of Mumble's son, Erik, in Happy Feet Two.
Also an accomplished singer, Daily contributed the song Changing Faces to the Rugrats Go Wild soundtrack. In 2013, she competed on The Voice, earning praise for hitting high notes while retaining the trademark rasp in her voice.
Daily, along with co-stars Tara Strong and Cathy Cavadini, has expressed displeasure at not being asked to return for the Powerpuff Girls reboot.
4. Russi Taylor
The Voice Of: Minnie Mouse, Huey, Dewey, And Louie, Smurfette.
Russi Taylor has been an active voice actress since the late '70s. She is the current and longest-serving voice behind Minnie Mouse, and also voiced Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby in the classic cartoon series Ducktales. Outside of her Disney work, Taylor is best known as the voice of Martin Prince in The Simpsons and lone female Smurfette in The Smurfs.
Russi Taylor was married to Wayne Allwine, the longest-serving voice of icon Mickey Mouse, from 1991 until his death in 2009. In 2008, the pair received Disney Legend awards.
5. Kath Soucie
The Voice Of: Phil & Lil DeVille, Lola Bunny, Morgana Macawber, Lots of Moms.
Active since 1978, Kath Soucie is one of the hardest working voice over artists in the industry. If you ever watched Nickelodeon as a child, you have definitely heard her voice. While difficult to choose from such a huge filmography, her best known roles are probably Phil and Lil from Rugrats, and The Looney Tunes Lola Bunny.
During the early days of Rugrats, Soucie was the go-to voice actress for many guest characters. She has been commonly cast in the role of mothers in many cartoons.
6. Billy West
The Voice Of: Doug Funnie, Stimpy, Philip J. Fry
Another jack of all trades, Billy West works as a singer, voice-over artist and comedian. His voice can be heard in a number of animated series, films, and advertisements. His best known roles from recent times include lead character Philip J. Fry in Futurama, and Red in all M&M commercials.
West provided the voices of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the popular film Space Jam. He has spoken out in the past about the lack of credit voice actors receive for their work.
7. Tom Kenny
The Voice Of: Spongebob, Ice King, The Mayor.
Tom Kenny has been active in the entertainment industry since 1981, appearing in several small live-action roles before transitioning to mostly voice work. Today, he is best known as the voice behind the now iconic Spongebob Squarepants, and Adventure Time's Ice King.
Kenny voiced the role of Rabbit in the 2011 Winnie The Pooh film, taking over from retiring actor Ken Sansom. He was one of only two original voice actors asked to return for the Powerpuff Girls reboot.
8. Tara Strong
The Voice Of: Dil Pickles, Bubbles, Timmy Turner, Harley Quinn, Twilight Sparkle.
Tara Strong has been an active voice artist from 1986 onward, known for the large vocal range that has allowed her to take on a great many characters. Some of her best known work includes Dil Pickles in Rugrats, the original voice of Bubbles in Powerpuff Girls, and Timmy Turner in Fairly Odd Parents. More recently, Strong has lent her voice to Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and reprised her role as Raven for spin-off Teen Titans Go!
Her voice can also be heard in video games, most notably as Rikku in Final Fantasy X and its sequel, and Harley Quinn in the Arkham trilogy of games.
9. Tress MacNeille
The Voice Of: Dot Warner, Daisy Duck, multiple Simpsons characters.
Tress MacNeille has been a part of the voice acting industry since 1979, beginning with a small role in Scooby And Scrappy Doo. Since then, she has built a filmography boasting over 200 roles, including Animaniacs Dot Warner and Agnes Skinner on The Simpsons.
MacNeille is the current voice actress for Daisy Duck.
10. Frank Welker
The Voice Of: Scooby Doo, Megatron
Frank Welker has provided the voice of Fred in Scooby Doo since the franchise began in 1969, before inheriting the role of Scooby himself in 2002. He was also the first actor to provide the voice of Megatron in Transformers. He is one of the industry's go-to actors for animal vocalizations.
For 10 more great voice actors, click here.