The 10 Best Celebrity Voiceovers in Animated Films

Kung Fu Panda 2 is chock full of famous voices (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan), which makes you wonder: Why? Why are celebrity voices an (apparent) essential of the genre? Truth is, recognizable voices are comforting, and animated movies are all about shelling the pacifying capabilities of cinema. Here are our 10 famous voices in animated classics, ranked for your clicking comfort.

10. Jerry Orbach as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast

The Law and Order vet exhumed his musical brio as Lumiere, the enchanting candelabra who made Belle's transition into bestiality queen a safe, well-lit one. Orbach's Fantasticks cred is an essential part of the ensemble that qualified Beauty and the Beast for Best Picture consideration.

9. Peggy Lee as Darling, Peg, Si and Am in Lady and the Tramp

Disney's long-gone world of hand-drawn prettiness culminated (for me) with Lady and the Tramp, the 1955 romance between two of the most sophisticated canines ever to hit the big screen. Though Barbara Luddy played the lovely Lady, jazz great Peggy Lee provided the voices for Lhasa Apso Peg, human owner "Darling," and the Siamese cats Si and Am. The Siamese cats are so cheeky and -- for Disney -- fierce that their slinky savoir-faire remains unforgettable.

8. Bob Newhart as Bernard in The Rescuers

Drollery! Disney needs more drollery! As the worrying husband mouse in Disney's The Rescuers, Newhart added low-key charm to the role of Bernard, whose wife Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) delivered a glamor and poise that served as a sweet counterpart to her husband's buttoned-down mind.

7. Eddie Murphy as Donkey in Shrek

Shrek has its detractors (and I'm one of them), but there's no denying Eddie Murphy's vigor as the punchy, braying Donkey is memorably impressive. His role as Mushu in Mulan is almost more deserving, but the towering dynasty that is the Shrek franchise cannot be denied a spot on this tally.

6. Holly Hunter as Helen Parr in The Incredibles

All members of the Parr family deserve recognition for their vocal gymnastics, but Holly Hunter is simply the perfect casting choice for Helen, the harried matriarch of the Parr clan. Her elastic powers are fitting of a suburban mother, and Hunter's hurried patois is a fine emblem of movie's familial, frantic pace.

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  • Apathygrrl says:

    I disagree. I think Cars is the worst. I had many issues with this movie. I personally don't like Owen Wilson and I couldn't care less about talking cars. So, people don't drive these cars, they just drive themselves around? Do people not have a problem with this? And just where are the people anyway? Why were the car's eyes on their windshields and not in their headlights? Who built these crazy self-driving cars? I just don't get it. I understood Benny the cab from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but I didn't get Cars.

  • Apathygrrl says:

    or Crispin Freeman!! He's my favourite voice actor

  • bison175 says:

    Robin Williams made an Arsenio Hall joke in Aladin. I think that qualifies the performance as severely dated. Not that it wasn't a great performance (and very, very funny), that joke just feels old now. Comedies that rely on pop culture ad libs can be hit-or-miss gags in the long run, just ask "The Simpsons".

  • demented says:

    You left out Christian Bale as Howl? SHAME UPON THEE.

  • A fabulous list! Very well put together.
    I do, however, have one key addition I would like to submit. There needs to be some love on this list for Phil Harris. From Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book, to Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats to Little John in Robin Hood to the narrator of Rock-A-Doodle, this man's voice is one of the most "comforting" voices out there because it's so familiar to everyone.
    Also, even though the movie wasn't that great, James Woods' performance as Hades in Hercules was spectacular.

  • Kevin says:

    I think Hanks and Holly are the only ones who disappeared into their roles. I would nominate Christopher McDonald as Kent Mansley in "Iron Giant".
    And . . . "Lion King" is an "otherwise chipper movie"? After the opening song I thought it was all very disturbing: death of father, banishment, guilt, self-loathing dictatorship, and revenge.

  • RickDVD says:

    Was there any doubt that Robin Williams is #1 this time around. Say what you will about most of his feature films, but Aladdin is one of the very few animated features I own. The best part is that the humor is still there after 20 years, enough for a new generation of fans. Too bad Williams can't make more like this, instead of some of the crap he's been in over the years.

  • ThymeMachine says:

    You have to admit Disney has done a better job on the Miyazaki movies than your typical anime importers like Funimation and AD Vision. They hire first rate voice talent, first rate directors and go out of their way to keep the story intact while still remaining relevant to a western audience.

  • ThymeMachine says:

    If you're leaving the mainstream for Miyazaki movies, Kirsten Dunst as Kiki in Kiki's Delivery Service may be the only role I've ever liked her in outside of Interview.

  • earthmanjack says:

    My two cents:
    Kathleen Turner in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"
    Janeane Garofalo in "Ratatouille"
    Teri Hatcher in "Coraline"

  • Tyler says:

    Where is George C. Scott as McLeach in The Rescuers Down Under?

  • brian says:

    What about James Woods as Hades in Hercules

  • Marc says:

    Frankly, I don't think Tom Hanks really deserves to be on the list. He was fine, to be sure, but not exceptional. His performance never really struck me as being more than just him reading.
    However, kudos to the poster who mentioned Peter O'Toole's performance in 'Ratatouille.' It was exceptional, and worthy of an Oscar. I'd also add Ian Holm's performance from the same film.

  • Baron says:

    Since we're only doing Disney ad Dreamworks movies, I would like to add Keith David as Dr. Facilier.

  • vegas says:

    robin williams has to be considered one of the great voice actors for his role in aladin

  • TheKreator says:

    Well, in all honesty I think Robin Williams has done a lot better job in Robots really. It's probably only me though 😉

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  • Scar says:

    No James Earl Jones as Mufasa?
    Come on..."Simba...I Am Your Father"