With Harry Shearer‘s first ever Emmy victory this year for Character Voice-Over Performance for “The Simpsons,” we saw a very deserving performer finally get his due for his work in this field. The same also happened in 2011 and 2012 when veteran performer Maurice LaMarche won the category for his work on “Futurama.”
However, there are still many working voice-over actors and actresses who deserve Emmy recognition but haven’t gotten it yet. So here’s a look at six performers who should also be singled out by the TV academy. Their careers have spanned decades, and while some may not be voicing current characters, voting members should nevertheless keep their eyes out for anything they’re a part of.
Since starting in the business in the early 1980s, West has been one of the hardest working people in the field. He came to prominence on “The Howard Stern Show” as a resident impressionist known for doing Lucille Ball, Larry Fine (of the Three Stooges), and Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott among a slew of other voices.
He’s also created iconic characters for the Nickelodeon’s “Doug,” voicing the title character and his dog Porkchop, and “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” creating Stimpy and taking over as Ren in 1993. On “Futurama” he created a slew of well-known characters including protagonist Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zap Brannigan, and Richard Nixon.
He also voiced Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the 1996 film “Space Jam” and is currently the voice of Red, the red M&M, and Buzz, the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, in various commercials. Right now, he can be heard as Bashful on the Disney XD show, “The 7D.” He’s never been nominated for an Emmy.
DiMaggio became prominent as Bender on “Futurama” when it premiered in 1999. Since then, he’s been voicing roles both big and small in hundreds of shows as well as video games. His other prominent work includes voicing Jake the Dog in the Emmy-nominated “Adventure Time,” Rico in the Emmy-winning “The Penguins of Madagascar” and Dr. Drakken on “Kim Possible.” While he’s never been nominated for an Emmy, DiMaggio did win an Annie Award in 2001 for Television Male Voice-Acting Performer for “Futurama.”
Harnell has been voicing characters since the early 1990s. He found huge success in 1993 when he began voicing Wakko Warner on “Animaniacs.” He’s found further notoriety for playing Secret Squirrel on “2 Stupid Dogs” and Captain Hero on “Drawn Together.”
His other credits have included Sewer Urchin on “The Tick,” Tosh Gopher on “The Looney Tunes Show,” Taxicrab on “Jungle Junction,” Cedric on “Sofia the First,” and Texas on “Motorcity.” He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2006 for Performer in an Animated Program for playing Gumpers and Swanky on “Pet Alien.”
Strong has been creating voices for characters for almost 30 years. She has amassed more than 300 credits as a performer, and several of them are very well known: Bubbles from “The Powerpuff Girls,” Timmy Turner on “The Fairly OddParents,” Raven on “Teen Titans,” Twilight Sparkle on “My Little Pony,” Terrence on “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” Batgirl and Harley Quinn on “Batman: The Animated Series,” Ben Tennyson on “Ben 10,” Omi on “Xiaolin Showdown,” and Princess Clara and Toot Braunstein on “Drawn Together.”
She received a Daytime Emmy nod in 2006 for playing Dannan O’Mallard on “Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks,” and has also earned five Annie Award nominations.
This former comedy partner of comedian Bobcat Goldthwait is now very well known as the one who lives in a pineapple under the sea: “Spongebob Squarepants.” He also voices Spongebob’s pet snail, Gary. Among Kenny’s other roles are Heffer Wolfe on “Rocko’s Modern Life,” Ratbert and Asok on “Dilbert,” the Narrator and Mayor on “The Powerpuff Girls,” Raimundo Pedrosa on “Xialoin Showdown,” Carl Chryniszzswics on “Johnny Bravo,” and Scoutmaster Lumpus and Slinkman on “Camp Lazlo!”
He’s never been nominated for an Emmy but has four career Annie Award nods with two wins for “Spongebob” in 2010 and for playing Ice King on “Adventure Time with Finn and Jake” in 2014.
Kevin Michael Richardson
Richardson is a classically trained actor and has been capitalizing on his vocal talents since the early 1990s. Among the roles he is best known for are The Joker in “The Batman,” Maurice on “The Penguins of Madagascar,” Cleveland Jr. on “The Cleveland Show,” Bulkhead on “Transformers Prime,” The Shredder on the current incarnation of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and Principal Lewis on “American Dad!”
Richardson has been nominated for two Daytime Emmys for “The Batman” (2005 and 2008) and was nominated for an Annie Award in 2013 for playing Willem Viceroy on “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja.”
These aren’t the only voice actors who are in need of Emmy recognition. Some other names the Academy should be looking to reward include Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Jim Cummings, Gregg Berger, Grey DeLisle, David Kaye, Rachel MacFarlane, Tom Kane, James Arnold Taylor, Carlos Alazraqui, Dee Bradley Baker and Frank Welker. If the Academy really wants to start rewarding the best in voice acting, then it’s time for them to start keeping these names in mind for future years.