This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.
Hey, It's That Voice!
Tim: There were so many different voices that I recognized, from other shows. Eric: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It was that, y'know, "Is that Kelsey Grammer?" And he said "Yeah." Tim: "Is that Kelsey Grammer in this movie? 'Cus I only remember him from Cheers and also Frasier."
So, you're sitting down, watching an animated superhero beat the snot out of a villain. The villain reels back and snarls "Is that all you've got?" at the hero. Hey... wait a second! You know that voice! It's [that character] from [that show] you love so much! And the hero, he's sounding a little familiar too...
While most of this trope is composed of animated examples, a few live-action versions exist.
This can be a little harder to spot than the guy on the live action show. You lose all the visual cues, and people don't always use the same "voice" when voice acting. (This is especially true in the United States, where a union contract allows a voice actor to perform up to three roles in a single production at the same rate. It's not uncommon to have "Hey, it's that voice!" reactions to multiple characters in a production, tie them back to characters in another production, and discover that all of those voices are the same actor.) It can also depend on the individual actor, their range, the number of things you've heard them in, and last but not least how much attention you're paying to recognizing them. If you watch enough animation, you will find your ear becoming better attuned to picking people out, even when they change their voice.
Often results in fun in the form of a voice-actor version of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", connecting disparate characters via a chain of common voice actors. In the case of anime, this get even more complicated when playing with both Japanese and American actors.
Possible result of Pigeon Holed Voice Actor. If it happens within the show itself, it might result in a character Talking to Himself. Taken to an extreme with Actor Allusion. Reasonably common in physically smaller markets (generally countries)—while Hollywood actors are hardly queuing up to dub videogames in the US, it's not unusual to hear major players in British television in those dubbed in the UK—Fable II is a prime example.
Compare You Look Familiar, You Might Remember Me from.... Inverse of The Other Darrin. If you want to make jokes about it, come to Role Association. Contrast Man of a Thousand Voices, in which the actor has the range to avert instant recognition. I Know That Voice, while sounding similar to the trope name, is about voice actors and their line of work.
In an effort to avoid redundancies and give this trope some semblance of order, all voice actors have been alphabetized by their last names. If you know a voice that is not on here please add it in the appropriate place. Check IMDB or The Other Wiki if you don't know the name of the voice. If you want to mention a program that has multiple recognizable voices, mention it on that program or game's page. Also, some of the really big common examples of this have their own pages, to wit Megumi Hayashibara, Takehito Koyasu, Kotono Mitsuishi, Kikuko Inoue, Tomokazu Seki, Megumi Ogata, and so on. And please remember that this is for instances where a voice actor's voice is recognizable, not their resumes.
Examples Besides Ones That Speak English and Japanese
Anime dubbed in countries besides ones that speak English and Japanese
Almost the entirety of the grid of Animax Latin America in its Spanish language branch gives you this effect, due to the fact that a good chunk of its series were dubbed by Venezuelan Dubbing Houses, who share a common pool of voice actors.
Latin American anime fans have had from the 80's onwards, in regards to anime dubbing have had a lot of VA overlap.
Parodied in the Latin American dub of the Pokémon anime, when James compared Dr. Quackenpocker's voice (Episode 109) with Gargamel's because they shared the same voice actor (Esteban Siller).
In Spain, this is kinda zigzaged. Since the cast majorly depends on the city the show is dubbed in, and in Spain there are four that take care of anime (Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian and Seville), this can vary from a cast where every single character has a Pigeonholed Voice Actor (for example "Monster") to an actor that you only have in that show and don't recognize anywhere else (for example, Shin-chan's Spanish voice actress). The former case is way more common if the show has been dubbed in Madrid or Barcelona. In the Spanish dub of Naruto Konohamaru is voiced by Bart Simpson.
Three Brazilian dubs were prolific in well-known voice actors:
Giuliana Jakobeit as Dark Magician Girl/Mana and Princess Hinoto
Robin Kahnmeyer as Joey Wheeler and Sorata Arisugawa (which is kinda hilarious because they're so alike)
Probably the best are Sebastian Schulz and Gerrit Schmidt-Foss as Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba, or Kamui Shiro and Fuuma Monou
The Philippines is actually a country that had English as an official language besides Tagalog, the national language, but Filipino voice actors are notorious for avoiding being pigeonholed as much as possible. However, pigeonholes are unavoidable, and Talking to Himself cases are the norm.
Speaking of which, since Filipino voice actors speak good English, they sometimes even dub the English versions of anime broadcasted in Animax Southeast Asia network that people thought the voice actors are Americans.
Grace Cornel is usually being pigeonholed as the Genki Girl in many roles, as her voice had the youthful quality of a 15-year-old girl. However, hearing her as Kaname Chidori of Full Metal Panic! is quite odd.
In terms of German voice acting, Julia Kaufmann must be the queen of this trope, seeing as she barely changes her voice when she subs anything. It was quite irritating at first to have Yukari-sensei as Misato Kasugari, and it would be worse to go the other way around.
Ankama has recently picked up the license for the French release of Gurren Lagann, and nearly every character has a voice actor in common with Ankama's other baby, Wakfu. Most obviously, Yoko and Evangelyne share GeneviĂ$ve Doang, and Kamina is absolutely impossible to take seriously because he's voiced by Cédric Dumond, who did the obnoxious announcer's voice during the "Boufbowl Hell" arc. Other notable ones are Nia/Amalia, Kittan/Nox, Viral/Xav, and Tylimph/Rubilax.
Many Malaysian anime dubs into Malay also suffers from this. Like Venezuelan dubbing houses, the dubbing houses in Malaysia shares a common pool of voice actors. The most prolific voice actress seems to be the one doing Doraemon's voice in the dub (also a Cross Dressing Voice moment).
Which is ironic, since Lindsay and Sailor Moon are the Dumb Blondes.
Sailor Moon is Lindsay in Hebrew. Whenever Lindsay is not available, Zoey takes over.
Film dubbed in countries besides ones that speak English
In Spain this happens A LOT. As explained in the anime section, in this country casts majorly depend on the city the film is dubbed in. You can perfectly know which city it is just by recognizing the voice actors. In the case of films they are usually (but not always) dubbed in Barcelona, specially blockbusters, so there are a lot of voice actors that are recognizable in most movies. So much, that it would need it's own page, and it would be HUGE.
Also, in Argentinian dubbage for Bolt, the three pigeons that appear are voiced by Daniel Rabinovich, Marcos Mundstock and Carlos Nuńez Cortés from Les Luthiers
Already mentioned on the anime section, but Mario Castańeda also voiced people in movies such as Jim Carrey and Bruce Willis (being their official voice). The kicker comes when you see the Latin American dub of Kickass (which has extreme use of foul language). Hilarity Ensues for people who associate him with Goku.
When a German dub for an animated movie needs a sonorous middle-aged male, Thomas Fritsch is the prime (or only?) choice. Scar,Diego,Aslan,Tai Lung, and Mr. Bonejangles are just the tip of this particular iceberg...
For the deeper voiced, taller, bigger guys they usually go to Thilo Schmitz. He's the German voice for Michael Clarke Duncan and Ron Perlman. He's also supplied the German voice for Christopher Judge (Teal'C mostly), along with the anime example above and being the station voice for the German TV Stations Sat1 and N24. Oh and Tychus Findlay in Starcraft II.
Tangled has Flynn Rider voiced by major singing star (and actor) Chayanne, who actually has several things in common with the character, from his charm to an embarrassing real name (Elmer).
It also has Rapunzel voiced by Dana Paola, another well-known Latin singer with a background in soap operas.
Ricky Martin voiced Hercules himself in the Latin American dub. Disney often tries to get well-known Latin American singers whenever it can, sometimes to dub, but mostly to sing the award-bait songs. Ricky Martin also sang the Spanish version of 'I Will Go the Distance', Chayanne had previously sung 'Where The Dream Takes You' for Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Ricardo Montaner sang 'A Whole New World' for Aladdin back in the day, and Luis Miguel did 'Someday' for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. For Tarzan, Phil Collins sang all the songs in both English and Spanish (...unfortunately).
Tatiana, a popular Mexican singer from The Eighties dubbed and sang all of Megara's lines (and even reprised her role live in a parade for children's day)
Also, while not Disney, Mexican popstar Thalia dubbed Anastasia and sang all the songs.
In Brazilian dubbing of Michael Bay's Transformers trilogy, Megatron and Starscream were dubbed by the same actors who dubbed them in G1 and Transformers Armada: José Santa Cruz and José Santanna, respectively. Santa Cruz also dubbed another well known villain, Magneto from X-Men franchise, in the 90's Fox Animated series, in all live-acation movies and animation X-Men Evolution.
In tha last movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Patrick Dempsey's character was dubbed by Nizo Neto, the same actor who dubbed Spike in G1. He also dubbed Dempsey in some 80's movies. Ironically, this time he dubs an Evil Counterpart of a Spike-equivalent (Sam) for the movie.
In general, if you're watching a dubbed musical film in Greek and the singer is male and sounds kind of familiar, it's almost certainly Cypriot singer Alex Panayi. Among other things, he dubbed Phil Collins' songs for Tarzan and Brother Bear, did every single male singing voice for the Greek dub of The Prince of Egypt, and is the official Greek singing voice of Tigger. He's no slouch when it comes to speaking roles, either, voicing the title character of Johnny and the Sprites, and damned near every adult male characternote Captain Monogram, Dad, Irving, Buford, Norm, and Roger in Phineas and Ferb.
Come the 2002 movie, Carrie and Tommy reprise their roles as Kitty Softpaws and Humpty Dumpty; Blossom returns as Chris Hargensen; Bridget Jones is Ms. Desjardin; Margaret White is Live!Cruella De Vil; Sue Snell is Gwen Tennyson; among others.
In the 2013 remake, Carrie White and Chris Hargensen are Primrose and Katniss Everdeen; Billy Nolan is Emmet; Bridget Jones comes back as Margaret White; Tina Blake is Gwen Tennyson; Ms. Desjardin is Sora; among others.
In Brazil, some voice actors are associated with the actors they usually dub (Garcia Jr. for Schwarzenegger, Mario Jorge for Eddie Murphy and John Travolta, Julio Chaves for Mel Gibson, the late Newton da Matta for Bruce Willis).
It seems that the people who do the casting for many Japanese dubs seems to be aware of the roles of many of the voice actors and sometimes they cast them in very similar roles or different to the ones they normally are identified with them:
And maybe one of the most hilariouscasting gags ever: Daisuke Hirakawa voices Will Turner in both the Japanese dub of Pirates of the Caribbean and Kingdom Hearts games. The hilarity comes with the fact that he voiced Makoto Itou and, while Will Turner ended being the captain of a ship and with the girl he loves Makoto ended the series in a VERY opposite situation: Not only he doesn't get the girl, he ended in a Nice Boat and not only without being the captain of that boat, he also ended without his head.
Another hilarious casting gag: Satomi Arai voiced Panini in the Japanese dub of Chowder, and one can notice that Panini's personality resemble a lot like Kuroko Shirai, her VA's most famous role. The only differences between Kuroko and Panini's personalities is while Kuroko is a lesbian and she never gets (so far) to win Mikoto's affections, Panini, on the other hand, is obviously straight and she manages to get married with Chowder at the end.
In Spain this happens, again, A LOT. If films are usually dubbed in Barcelona, TV shows (both live action and animated) are usually dubbed in Madrid (but again, not always). Once more, the number of recognizable voice actors is so big it would need its own page.
Engelbert von Nordhausen, the German voice of Darkwing's sidekick Launchpad McQuack note Known as Quack der Bruchpilot in German, which means Quack the Crash Pilot. is also the dubbing voice for none other than Samuel L. Jackson.
A German TV-movie version of Hamlet was dubbed into English and later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The actor voicing Claudius is quite clearly Ricardo Montalban, unless there is or was another actor with exactly the same voice.
Brazilian Soap Operas are ussually dubbed in Chile. So, you can hear an actor with a voice in one soap opera, and in another, the same actor with a diferent voice, or viceversa.
During the production of the mid-nineties finnish video game show Game Over, the host, a puppet named Vito, was referred to exclusively as being voiced by himself in the credits. It wasn't until his voice actor, Arttu Harkki, was spotted on Who Dares Wins that viewers started recognizing his voice, and Arttu eventually admitted that he was the voice of Vito.
In the German dub of the US version of Queeras Folk, Ted Schmidt and Emmett Honeycutt are none other that Ren and Stimpy! Not surprising, as these two often work together.
In France, Rachel Berry is Isabella, Finn Hudson is Jeremy; Phineas is Jesse St. James; and Vanessa Doofenshmirtz is Marley Rose.
In Brazil, Will is Meep; Rachel Berry is Lyla Lolliberry; Ferb is Kurt Hummel; Mr._McGillicuddy/Danny is Blaine Anderson; Mike Chang is Jeremy; Jacob Ben Israel is Monty Monogram; Amanda Johnson (Jeremy and Candace's future daughter) is Becky Jackson; Coach Beiste/Olivia Newton John is Charlene Doofenshmirtz; Principal Figgins is Heinz Doofenshmirtz (matching Hungarian); Jenny Brown/Wendy Stinglehopper (later Vanessa Doofenshmirtz) is Sunshine Corazon; among others.
In the Dutch dub, almost all the higher soldiers in the Earth Kingdom have the same voice. That they also look alike doesn't help.
The Swedish Dub has Stephan Karlsén doing Long Feng. He sounds almost exactly like he did in Pokémon: The First Movie, where he played Mewtwo.
The Brazillian voice actors for Ulrich and Kaoru are the same person.
Also in Brazilian dubbing: Orlando Drummond dubbed at least three Hanna-Barbera's dogs: Scooby-Doo (he's a long-runner in this character and dubbed ALL Scooby appearances– including the live-action movies– aired in Brazil, scoring at Guiness Book), Dyno-Mutt and Hong-Kong Phooey. In a crossover between Scooby's gang and Blue Falcon & Dyno-Mutt, Drummond dubbed both dogs. He also voiced the Grim Reaper, Popeye, Alf and Avenger for Dungeons and Dragons animated series.
Eric Cartman's voice actor in the German dub of South Park also provides the voice for the Chupa-Chups mascot in the TV-ads. More funny is that its catchphrase calls "Leckt mich". The direct translation would be "lick me" but in daily speech it just means "screw you!", like in "Screw you guys, I'm going home!"
It's almost no coincidence that Lizemijn Libgott, Dutch voice actor, voices (nearly) all Disney roles of Ashley Tisdale, from Candace to Sharpay.
Hilarious detail in the German dub of Gargoyles: The character Jeanine Renard (member of "The Pack") is dubbed by Franziska Pigulla. Pigulla also dubbed Gillian Anderson in The X-Files. (And Jeanine Renard's codename is Fox◊.)
Lars Thiesgaard is not only an actor, but also the head of the largest dubbing-studio in Denmark, giving him parts in just about everything animated. You would have problems watching any cartoon-channel in danish for more than an hour without hearing his voice at least once. Of roles can be mentioned Dexter, Piglet, Gizmo Duck, Gyro Gearlose, Duckworth and more on Ducktales, Johnny Bravo, Top Cat, Pinky and hundreds of others, over the last 20 years. He also does commercials and audiobooks. If you have not heard his voice in Denmark, you may be deaf. Literally Denmark's Man of a Thousand Voices.
In the Afrikaans dubs of "The Three Musketeers" (the version where the characters are mostly dogs) and Lucky Luke, the heroes (Brakanjan and Lucky Luke) have the same voice actor. What works as the voice of a lanky cowboy is slightly mismatched for a (very) short dog with a nose that lights up when he gets mad.
She doesn't have a lot of voice acting roles on her list, but in Polish dubbing in the 80s and 90s, Ewa Smolinska was the go-to girl for Hot Witch characters such as Maleficent, Mirage and Lady Bane.
If you watched Cartoon Network during the early 00s in Sweden, this trope might as well have been called "Hey, it's that voice that's in every darn show!" because the same voices were in every darn show. Professor Utonium is Dexter's dad, and so on.