Charles Andre Martinet (born September 17, 1955) is an American actor born in San Jose, California.
He is best known as the voices of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi in the Super Mario Bros. series, starting with Mario's Game Gallery (later rebranded Mario's FUNdamentals) in 1995. Martinet is from a Franco-American background, and is fluent in Spanish and French but, ironically, not so fluent in Italian.
Charles Martinet has provided these voice overs of:
- Sir Alistair Loveless III, Jacques Ramone, and Pericles Lear in The ClueFinders series
- The Cat in the Hat and Yertle the Turtle in Dr. Seuss Kindergarten
- Everyone (the announcer, player character, and all the opponents) in Super Punch Out!
- Fowl Mouth, Flemming and Brian the Brain in Cel Damage
- Gouji Rokaku in Jet Set Radio
- Homunculus in Shadow of Destiny
- Irvin the Inventor, Ratbeard, Monstrous Mirror, and Sir Drayson Dragon in the Reader Rabbit series
- A male prostitute in Police Quest: Open Season
- Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, and their baby counterparts in the Super Mario Bros. series (as well as Donkey Kong in this Real Time animation from VSDA Expo '94 and both Bowser and the Boo species in Super Mario 64) and the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Magenta in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
- The Narrator and himself in BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien and Runner3
- Paarthurnax in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Orvus in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
- Sanguinar and the Old One in Slave Zero
- Spinner in Solar Eclipse
- Vigoro in Skies of Arcadia
- William Shakespeare and Ludwig van Beethoven in Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
- Senator Wilson Philips in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The OVA
- the Yellow Bird, Pierre, the General, and Rasputin's Dog in the Golden Films version of Anastasia
- Ash the Dragon and Spanx in Mad Dash Racing
- Eaoden in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
- Lagerfeld in Resonance of Fate
Tropes associated with Charles Martinet's roles
- Achievements in Ignorance: This played a huge part in getting him the role of Mario. Martinet had never actually heard of the Mario series or of Nintendo when he was first told about the audition for the role in 1990, and consequently didn't know what people's expectations for the Mario character were. Because of this, he was unfamiliar with the precedent that Captain Lou Albano set with his portrayal of Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and went for a high-pitched Italian voice that allowed him to stand out from the large swath of Captain Lou imitatorsnote ; Martinet's tape was the only one sent to Nintendo, and they accepted it almost immediately.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Martinet's initial version of the Mario voice (first publicly heard in a pair of pinball machines from 1992, which used audio of Martinet without his knowledge), while still fairly high-pitched, was noticeably deeper and more subdued than what we're familiar with today, among other things lacking most of the paragoges that'd become more common in later renditions (e.g. "that's-a so nice," "thank you so much-a for-to playing my game").
- I Am Not Spock: As far as the Mario fans are concerned, Charles and Mario are the same person. Regardless, Charles doesn't seem to mind since he loves doing his Mario (or any other Mario character requested) voice for fans.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: His voices for Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi are all very distinct and unique from one another. On the other end of the pitch spectrum, he can also drop his voice down very low, as demonstrated with Paarthurnax.
- Nice Guy: He's always seen to be kind and nice. He loves doing Mario and the other voices to the fans he meets.
- Old Shame: He asked to remain uncredited in Mad Dash Racing and tends to avoid mentioning it at all. Fans believe the likely reasons for this was the game's crude humor and the similarities of Ash's voice to Luigi's, as Nintendo likely wouldn't appreciate hearing crass dialogue and humour coming from a character from a child game in an Xbox game.
- Playing Against Type: As Gouji Rokkaku, Fowl Mouth, Paarthurnax and Sanguinar.
- Star-Making Role: Charles had acting experience prior to his role as voice actor of Mario; however, it wasn't until after his stint as Nintendo's famous mascot for Super Mario 64 that his name really took off. While other Nintendo characters had their voice actors changed every so often, Charles is the only one who has been in the same role for more than two decades. In this time, Martinet has voiced Mario in over 100 games, more than any other voice actor in a single role according to Guinness World Records, reaching this record by the time he voiced him in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- What Could Have Been: Martinet's first plan for his rendition of Mario was to provide a gruff Brooklynite voice in the vein of Walker Boone's portrayal of the character in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. However, he very quickly shifted to the now-iconic high-pitched Italian voice upon realizing that it would be more appealing to the young children that comprised the majority of the Mario series's audience. This choice ended up being what got Martinet the role; he was the only person who didn't try to imitate Captain Lou Albano's portrayal from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!.
- Word of God: He's frequently asked about his thoughts on the Mario movie and TV series by fans due to their So Bad, It's Good reputations. He's largely expressed impartialness towards them at best and usually leaves it at that.
- Written by Cast Member: On top of voicing several characters in the Golden Films version of Anastasia, he also served as the film's co-writer in his first and only attempt at screenwriting.