Mary Kay Bergman (June 5, 1961 November 11, 1999) was one of the most prolific voice actresses of the 1990s, with an extensive career in voiceovers for commercials, television, and movies. Her decade-long career saw her involved in some of the decade's most iconic cartoons, including South Park, many of the first few Disney video sequels, and the Scooby-Doo revival movies. Her career was tragically cut short by her suicide on November 11, 1999.
Though many new cartoon fans don't remember hearing her voice, there was a period of time when her voice appeared in almost everything. She replaced Meg Ryan as the voice of Dr. Blight during the later seasons of Captain Planet, and appeared in a number of the early 1990s Marvel cartoon adaptations, including Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the latter as Gwen Stacy. She played Ariel's sister Arista in The Little Mermaid animated series, and was the official Disney voice of Snow White during the entire 1990s. She also played some of the iconic redheads of animation, including Barbara Gordon in Batman: Subzero and Daphne in the first three 1990s Scooby Doo films, Zombie Island, Witch's Ghost, and Alien Invaders. She could do boy voices as well, ranging from Jay-Jay the Jet Plane to Timmy Turner on The Fairly OddParents! pilot short (Tara Strong voiced Timmy Turner in the actual series). She also could be heard on South Park, voicing every single female character on that show (except for a select few done by series co-creator Trey Parker).
By 1999, she was perhaps the greatest voice actress in the world, but despite all of this, she had a deep, crippling depression that she kept secret from all who knew her (even her husband, whom she was very close to, knew nothing about the severity of her condition). Her condition, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), caused her to believe that she was losing her talent, despite what everyone around her who had a hint of her worries told her. The depression and anxiety in Bergman's mind culminated tragically on November 11, 1999, when she committed suicide by shooting herself in the head with a shotgun. Her husband and his friend came home to find the body.
Mary Kay Bergman left a trio of legacies upon her death. The first was that, in her role as teacher to Grey DeLisle (and countless other young aspiring voice actors and actresses) and friend and mentor to Tara Strong, she helped to establish the careers of two of the most prolific voice actresses of the 2000s and today. In fact, DeLisle and Strong inherited some of Bergman's roles immediately upon her death, with DeLisle as the current voice of Daphne, and Strong as the current voice of Timmy Turner (Strong also took over for Batgirl in the later episodes for Batman: The Animated Series, but that was a couple of years before Bergman's death). It is likely that had Bergman not left us so soon, that she herself would have earned many of the roles that DeLisle and Strong performed in the 2000s. The second, and by far most important legacy, is that Bergman's death raised awareness of General Anxiety Disorder and will hopefully save many lives in the future, as people who are deeply affected by the depression caused by this disease will seek the help they need. Finally, her husband and fellow voice actor Dino Andrade launched SoulGeek in her honor. So that other geeks could find love just as he and Mary Kay found each other.
A little public service announcement that we at TV Tropes would be very remiss not to make here: If you're feeling suicidal, please get help immediately. Talk to a loved one at the very least and let them know how you're feeling. There is help out there, no matter what you might believe.
The Mary Kay Bergman Memorial site can be found here.