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Celebrity Voice Actor

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"I hate when people go on TV and tell you how hard it is to do animation … No, UPS is hard work. I’ve done some animation … It’s the easiest job in the world. I go in a booth and I go, ‘What’s the line?’ And the guy goes, ‘It’s time to go to the store.’ And I go, ‘It’s time to go to the store!’ … And then they give me a million dollars."

For some reason, celebrities do a lot of voice acting in big budget animated movies. Maybe the producers figure more people will see movies with big-name stars in them. Maybe John Q. Public just loves his celebrities. The fact celebrities can enjoy acting work without having to deal with costumes, script memorization and other elements of live-action film is another factor (although motion capture animation has many of those demands). Regardless, regular voice actors often get cast aside in favor of someone more famous when a big, important animated movie is made for public consumption.


Sometimes this results in viewers not only becoming aware of just who's voicing the characters, but mentally referring to the characters by the actors' names - especially if it's been a while since they've last seen the movie.

As it turns out, professional voice actors (especially Billy West and Tara Strong) are not exactly pleased that their jobs are being poached by actors from other disciplines, which makes sense, as it implies that the performing skills are interchangeable. While professional voice actors are capable of utilizing a wide vocal or acting range to create a given character's personality, celebrities are usually cast for marketing purposes because audiences will recognize the popular actor.

It's important to note that this is not always a recipe for disaster. Some celebrities prove to be very talented at voice acting, and would likely be among the most prolific at the profession if they did it exclusively. Indeed, there are a fair number of performers who have managed strong careers in both fields and do not qualify for the pitfalls of this, although becoming equally famous in both is unusual. Some on-stage Hollywood actors - Mark Hamill and Eden Riegel, to name two - moved on to voice acting later in their video careers.note 


That said, Billy West's scorn has been (arguably) justified in some cases where celebrity voice actors haven't delivered the goods, such as Cameron Diaz's notoriously flat performance in Shrek; or in cases where an actor is wildly miscast, such as Billy Bob Thornton in the dub of Princess Mononoke. That's where the reason for this being a separate trope becomes apparent.

Often turn out to be examples of Ink Suit Actors. If most voice actors in a single work are this, they're an All-Star Cast. See also Pop-Star Composer for the musical equivalent. Likely to happen in a Concert Episode if the famous person is a musician.



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     English (Animation) 

    English (Pinball) 

     English (Video Games) 

    Japanese (Anime) 

    Japanese (Foreign dubs) 

    Japanese (Video Games) 
  • Square Enix seems to recently love this trope a lot for their games in Japanese:
    • In Final Fantasy XII, Vaan is voiced by actor Kohei Takeda, and later replaced in Dissidia: Final Fantasy by Kensho Ono instead, due to contractual problems with SE.
    • In Final Fantasy IV DS, Cecil is voiced by Shakespearian theater actor Shizuma Hodoshima. Stage and film actor Takeshi Kaga voices Golbez.
    • The late actor Bunta Sugawara provides the narration for Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
    • The first two Drakengard games had a thing for celebrities. Caim and Angelus are both being voiced by androgynous singer, dancer, and actor Peter\Shinnosuke Ikehata, Inuart is voiced by Toshiaki Karasawa, also an actor, Furiae is voiced by Eriko Hatsune, an actress and singer.
      • Nowe is voiced by Ryo Katsuji, an actor, and Eris is voiced by Saki Aibu, an stage, film, and TV actress.
  • Keio Flying Squadron and its sequel had the heroine voiced by actress and J-pop singer Miho Kanno.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 replaced Ryotaro Okiayu with film director/actor Shinya Tsukamoto (best known for the Tetsuo cyberpunk trilogy) as the voice of Vamp.
  • Gundam Extreme Vs has the primary villain voiced by Gackt. Gackt happens to be a huge fan of the Gundam franchise, which explains why he took the role.
  • In Yakuza 6, Tohru Hirose is voiced by (and modeled after) Takeshi Kitano, one of the biggest names in Japanese gangster films.
  • The Guided Fate Paradox explicitly features the entire cast of µ's in it. The voice actors are even properly associated with their respective Love Live! character in the credits of the game.
  • Kaede Akamatsu, the Player Character (for the first chapter, anyway) is voiced by Sayaka Kanda, singer of the band TRUSTICK. This is her first video game role, but she previously played Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba in the stage adaptation of the first game.

    Spanish (Mexico and Latin America) 

    Tagalog (Philippines) 
  • The Tagalog dub of BECK had prominent band vocalists such as Jett Pangan (of The Dawn and the Jett Pangan Group), Raimund Marasigan (of Eraserheads), Yael Yuzon (of Spongecola), Ney Dimaculangan (of 6cyclemind), and Teddy Corpuz (of Rocksteddy) voice many of the characters.
  • In the new Tagalog dub of Voltes V, Megumi is voiced by Sandara Park. Yes, the one you know today as Dara from the K Pop group 2NE1.
  • The Tagalog dub of Bleach had the late actor Marky Cielo voice Ichigo Kurosaki and Daytime Soap actress Yasmien Kurdi as Rukia Kuchiki.
  • The Animax-sponsored Tagalog version (which was done as an explicit Taglish dub, mixing both English and Tagalog frequently) of Initial D Fourth Stage featured Angel Locsin as Kyoko Iwase and Matteo Guidicelli as Takumi Fujiwara; Actor-Shared Background kicked in at the time as Gudicelli was then known more as a professional go-kart racer before transitioning into a full-time actor.
  • The Tagalog dub of Crayon Shin-chan had rapper Andrew E., (in)famous for sexually suggestive lyrics in his songs, voice the titular character.
  • The Tagalog dub had child actors Miggs Cuaderno and Jillian Wars (11 and 10 at the time of the premiere) voice Nate and Katie, respectively, along with former teen actor Mikoy Morales as Whisper.

  • In Sweden, most cartoons are dubbed by professional voice actors but sometimes they get a celebrity or two
  • Singer Tommy Körberg did the voice to adult Tod in The Fox and the Hound. He did such a good job that they took him back a few years later to do the voice for the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

  • The German dub of All Dogs Go to Heaven has Charlie voiced by Harald Juhnke.
  • For the German dub of Hotel Transylvania 2, the voice of Vlad is provided by none other than prolific comedian Dieter Hallervorden.
  • The German dub of Mulan, Fa Zhou is voiced by Horst Buchholz. Buchholz was also the voice of Lampwick in the 1951 dub of Pinocchio and Flower in the dub of Bambi, but they were before he was famous.

    South Korea 
  • The theatrical Korean dub of the first Madagascar movie has Alex voiced by Song Kang-ho, one of South Korea's most successful actors.

Before posting any example, let's notice that the usage of celebrities to voice animated movies in Italy is not only very common, but also not very appreciated by many in later years, since in modern times they tend to get people whose acting performances are not that great. Now that we said that...


  • One of the oldest examples in this category is the Italian dub of The Aristocats, where Renzo Montagnani (a popular actor of that period) voiced O' Malley.
  • After that, celebrities in Disney movies weren't seen anymore for a long time... until Aladdin came out, with popular comedian Gigi Proietti as the Genie. Many people think that he actually improved the character.
  • In The Lion King, comedians Vittorio Gassman and Tullio Solenghi voiced respectively Mufasa and Scar, once again with great success.
  • In 1997, Lady and the Tramp was redubbed in many languages to avoid issues similar to the one Peggy Lee had with the English soundtrack. The new Italian dub featured a ton of celebrities, including popular actors Margherita Buy and Claudio Amendola as the two titular characters, comedian Marco Columbro as Jock and soubrette Nancy Brilly as Peg and both the siamese cats. The bad performances of the four aforemented celebrities, along with many goofs in the script (the new one was done by rewriting down all the dialogue from the first dub, with many lines getting Mondegreen'd), made so that in 2006 this new dub was retired and the old one came back.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, singers Massimo Ranieri and Mietta voice Quasimodo and Esmeralda.
  • The Italian dub of Hercules features popular actor Raoul Bova as Hercules, Veronica Pivetti (who actually is a retired voice actress, since she also voiced Queen Beryl, Tails and other characters) as Meg, comedian duo Zuzzurro and Gaspare as Pain and Panic and TV host Giancarlo Magalli as Fil.
  • Mulan features TV gameshow host Enrico Papi as Mushu.
  • The Emperor's New Groove features comedian duo Luca and Paolo as Kuzco and Kronk and another comedian, Anna Marchesini, as Yzma.
  • Home on the Range has actress Cinzia Leone as Maggie and comedian Marina Massironi (another retired voice actress, who had voiced Mrs. Tsukino [with her cousin Cinzia] and Princess Sally) as Grace.
  • Chicken Little features comedian Gabriele Cirilli as the titular character, DJ Albertino as Morkubine Porcupine and, in what probably is one of the craziest forms of this trope, the voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey is done by Walter Veltroni, the at-the-time mayor of Rome.
  • Meet the Robinsons features TV gameshow host Carlo Conti as Uncle Art, soccer coach Serse Cosmi as the coach and Giovanni Muciaccia (the host of the Italian edition of Art Attack) as Cornelius (so the "my dad looks like Tom Selleck" joke is changed to show a picture of the right person)
  • Bolt features Raoul Bova (see Hercules above) as the titular character.
  • The Princess and the Frog features TV host and comedian Luca Laurenti as Ray.
  • Tangled features actors Laura Chiatti and Giampaolo Morelli as Rapunzel and Flynn and singer Mario Biondi as Hook-hand Thug.
  • Wreck-It Ralph features rugby player Sergio Parisse as Zangief and movie director Paolo Virzì as Sour Bill.
  • Frozen features actresses Serena Rossi and Serena Autieri as Anna and Elsa (amusingly, both of them actually began proper voice actress careers after this movie, even reprising their roles in Once Upon a Time) and comedian Enrico Brignano as Olaf.
  • Big Hero 6 features actor, comedian and TV gamehost Flavio Insinna as Baymax and comedian Virginia Raffaele as Aunt Cass.
  • Zootopia features comedian Paolo Ruffini as Yax, Youtube prank caller-turned-TV comedian Frank Matano as Duke Weaselton, comedian Diego Abatantuono as Finnick and comedian Teresa Mannino as Mr. Big's daughter.
  • Moana features comedian Angela Finocchiaro as Moana's grandma and singer Rafael Gualazzi as Tamatoa.


  • Toy Story features TV host Fabrizio Frizzi as Woody and comedian Massimo Dapporto as Buzz.
  • Monsters, Inc. features Marina Massironi (see above) as Celia and TV soubrette/singer Loretta Goggi (who also has been Tweety Bird's first voice) as Roz.
  • Finding Nemo features actor Luca Zingaretti as Marlin, comedian Carla Signoris as Dory and comedian Stefano Masciarelli as Crush.
  • The Incredibles features actress Laura Morante as Helen and model, singer and TV host Amanda Lear as Edna Mode.
  • The Italian dub of Cars is overloaded with celebrities. We have: TV host Sabrina Ferilli as Sally, comedian Marco Della Noce (mainly known for his character of a Ferrari pitty) as Luigi, and many racing-related people: TV Formula 1 announcers Gianfranco Mazzoni and Ivan Capelli voice the announcers, while Formula 1 racers Alex Zanardi, Jarno Tulli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Emanuele Pirro voice respectively Guido, DJ, Boost and Wingo.
  • Ratatouille features chef Gualtiero Marchesi as the health inspector.
  • WALL•E features astronaut Roberto Vittori as the steward robot.
  • Up features theatre actor Arnoldo Foà as Charles Muntz.
  • Toy Story 3, along with Fabrizio Frizzi and Massimo Dapporto keeping their roles from the first two movies, features actress Claudia Gerini as Barbie, comedian Fabio De Luigi as Ken, TV host Gerry Scotti as the Chatter Phone and comedian Giorgio Faletti as Chuckles.
  • Cars 2 gets reprisals for all the returning characters, and adds comedians Paola Cortellesi and Alessandro Siani as Holley and Francesco, TV host Tiberio Timperi as Mel Dorado and Sophia Loren as Mama Topolino. Also, Franco Nero voices Uncle Topolino both in the English and Italian dubs.
  • ''Brave features comedians Giobbe Covatta and Enzo Iacchetti along with singer Shel Shapiro as the three lords, and actress Anna Mazzamauro as the witch.
  • Monsters University features singer Ludovica Comello as one of the PNK girls and comedian duo Fabrizio Biggio and Francesco Mandelli as Terri and Terry.
  • Finding Dory, along with the voices from Finding Nemo reprising their roles, features swimmer Massimiliano Rosolino as Charlie the Sunfish, while TV host Licia Colò replaces Sigourney Weaver as the celebrity doing the voiceover in the oceanographic institute.