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Creator / Charles Martinet

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"Ah, that Charles Martinet. Nice Italian boy."

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 the CD-ROM release of Mario Teaches Typing in 1994. Martinet is from a Franco-American background, and is fluent in Spanish and French but, ironically, not so fluent in Italian.note 

On August 21, 2023, Nintendo announced that Martinet will be retiring from the role as Mario's full-time voice actor. He isn't done with the franchise for good, however, as he has moved into the role of a Mario brand ambassador for Nintendo, passing the torch to Kevin Afghani as his successor in the roles of Mario, Luigi and Wario.

Super Mario Wiki has more information about him. He also has an Instagram and Vine Account, as well as a personal website.

Charles Martinet has provided these voiceovers of:

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 . His Motor Mouth and improv skills also played a role, as Nintendo was seeking an actor who could play Mario via mocap at conventions for potentially hours at a time without sounding tired or bored of the role. Martinet's tape was the only one sent to Nintendo, and they accepted it almost immediately.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • 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-friendly game in a non family-friendly Xbox game.
    • Before he became the regular voice for Mario, Martinet briefly worked at Golden Films, doing some voices and even co-writing a screenplay for one of their films. According to one fan who met him at a convention, when asked about this, he didn't seem all too thrilled about his time there.
    • Super Mario Bros. Pinball was the very first game featuring his Mario's voice. However, Gottlieb took his voice using the clips from trade shows without paying him for the game or giving him any credit. He isn't too thrilled talking about it.
  • 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").
  • Fake Nationality: He is so well-known for voicing Mario the Italian plumber that many people believe Charles Martinet to actually be an Italian-American. In reality, he is of French descent and is French-American, with a French father and an American mother.
  • Gentle Giant: In terms of height, Charles is very tall, at 6'3'', and he's loved not just because of the characters he voiced for so long, but also for being a likable and sensitive man.
  • I Am Not Spock: As far as the Mario fans are concerned, Charles and Mario are the same person. Regardless, Charles doesn't mind since he loves doing his Mario (or any other Mario character requested) voice for fans, as when he does, the fans smile, and that makes him feel like it's the very first time he ever did it.
  • 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, and though it was pitched down by a couple semitones in editing, pitching it back up to his real voice still shows that it's nothing like what most people associate him with.
  • Playing Against Type: As Gouji Rokkaku, Fowl Mouth, Paarthurnax and Sanguinar.
  • Star-Making Role: Charles had acting experience prior to his role as the 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 in 2018. By the time he retired from voicing the characters five years later, he had been playing Mario for 31 years (1992 - 2023), and he had been playing Luigi and Wario for over 25 years.
  • Stock Sound Effects: In an email, Charles Martinet confirmed that he had recorded audio for the General Series 6000 sound effects pack by Sound Ideas. Coincidentally, one of those sound effects is "Comical Laugh: Male", which would be used years later as the Evil Laugh for Bowser and Boo in Super Mario 64, the same game that gave Martinet his Star-Making Role as Mario.
  • 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 (1991). 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, and he was worried that this stereotypical and gruff Brooklyn accent would be too intimidating for the target audience, who were kids. 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 live-action Mario movie and animated 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.

Want some more voice overs? Too Bad. Waluigi Time.note