If you wanna make a good animated movie, it’s not enough to come up with a great script and excellent image and sound effects. It’s equally important to find a good voice actor because, through his voice and his interpretation, the character comes to life. Funnily enough, some voice actors bear an uncanny resemblance to their animated characters. So here’s a list of 20 cartoons who look just like their real-life voice actors. #13, #8 and #3 are unmissable!
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#20. Eleanor Audley
Eleanor Audley’s voice is one of the most famous in the industry. If you’re very young and you struggle to place her, she is best remembered for mostly playing evil characters. I bet you’ve watched Disney animated Cinderella (1950) —which we see in this picture— and Sleeping Beauty (1959). Well, she provided the voice of the villainess Lady Tremaine and Maleficent, respectively.
Photo: Courtesy of Emedemujer
The interesting thing about this character, among other things, is the subtlety with which she manipulates her daughters that can be seen throughout the entire movie. She doesn’t need to scream or make big tantrums. The game of voices is very subtle, as she speaks in a calm and collected voice. As for her features, animators Frank Thomas and Marc Davis told in an interview that they designed their character’s facial expressions to make it look like Audley. A job that can easily be appreciated!
#19. Kathryn Beaumont
It is no coincidence that this photo resonates in your mind. Kathryn Beaumont was only 10 years old when she was chosen for the voice of Alice in Alice in Wonderland (1951). She served as a performance model for Alice and also Wendy Darling in Peter Pan (1953) as a live-action reference to help the animators. Not in vain, in 1998, she was named Disney Legend.
Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest and Zeus DVD
Kathryn revealed in an interview that Disney was looking for the right person who “would be English enough to satisfy British audiences, but not so English that it would put off American audiences.” It wasn’t long until he met the perfect voice to interpret the literary language. Besides, she had immense, eye-catching eyes and long curly blonde hair that combined with a theater acumen that Disney couldn’t ignore.
#18. Danny DeVito
Philoctetes has an identical real-life twin: Danny DeVito! For those who don’t remember this fun and memorable character, he is a trainer of heroes. The truth is that he is somewhat frustrated because many of the heroes he has previously trained have been a failure. For that reason, he avoids training Hercules who is very excited. Phil soon reluctantly accepts and moves from this attitude to a more positive outlook on his training.
Photo: Courtesy of Her Moments
I imagine that many movies easily come to your mind when you hear his name. In addition to showing off as an actor, he is a successful producer and director. Regarding his experience in Hercules (1997), he once recalled the following:
“I remember that being a great experience. And also a big thing is that … what’s fun is when you’re talking to people and some kid will go [makes a quizzical face]or say, “I recognize your voice from …” I say, “What?” And they say, “Hercules,” and that’s really fun. I’ve done a couple of voices.”
#17. Eartha Kitt
I have to say that I loved The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) when I was a child. In fact, I still treasure the videotape. What I didn’t know was the multi-talented woman who gave Izma her voice, Eartha Kitt. If you are from Generation X, you might know her for playing Catwoman in the final season of the television series Batman in 1967. Those who aren’t, she was a singer, actress, dancer, comedian, and if it weren’t enough she stood out as a singer, author, and songwriter.
Photo: Courtesy of Her Moments
There is much to say about this hilarious villain who is highly charismatic. She constantly pursued her dream of becoming an empress despite having a fairly comfortable job as an advisor to Kuzco. Tall, thin and naturally terrifying, she always finds a reason to smile, even in the worst situations. Look at Izma’s expressions: there is definitely something about Kitt there.
#16. Jessica Walter
Sometimes, the cartoons resemble their voice actors not only in their appearances but also in their personality. This is definitely the case of Jessica Walter! You probably know this talented actress for her roles in the films Play Misty for Me (1971), Grand Prix, and The Group (both 1966). She also played the role of Lucille Bluth on the sitcom Arrested Development and provided the voice of the cartoon character Malory Archer on the FX animated series Archer.
Photo: Courtesy of New York Post
If you haven’t watched Arrested Development yet, you definitely should, because manipulative matriarch Lucille Bluth and snappy spymistress Malory Archer have a lot in common. And not only because both always have a drink in their hand, but also because of their harsh character and acid humor. As to Malory Archer’s looks… is there any doubt that her facial expressions were inspired by Walter?
#15. Kevin Michael Richardson
It’s unnecessary to clarify that Kevin Michael Richardson provided the voice of Director Lewis, right? What you might not know is that he also did it to Ted Fiedler, Tank Bates, Captain Monty and other assorted voices on American Dad. There is no doubt that his greatest feature is his distinctive and deep voice which has allowed him to portray a multitude of characters in animated series and video games.
Photo: Courtesy of BuzzFeed and Disney Wiki Fandom
Believe it or not, he played the Joker in the animated series The Batman, where he took an interesting turn combining acute manic laughter and some deep growlings. He has also contributed with his vocal talents in The Simpsons, Ben 10: Omniverse, Monsters vs. Aliens, Ultimate Spider-Man and countless other cartoon shows. Up next, we’ll see a very empowered female character…
#14. Jane Lynch
We can’t deny the love that many of us have experienced for cantankerous cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Glee. But has anyone ever noticed the uncanny resemblance between the coach from Glee and Wreck-It Ralph‘s female character Sergeant Calhoun? It’s hard to look at this cartoon and not imagine actress and comedian Lynch, right? Both of them boast a short blonde cut with side bangs, light skin, pink lips, and they even seem to use the same dark eyeliner.
Photo: Courtesy of The Hollywood Inquirer
When asked about her Disney character, Lynch stated that she finds it great for little girls to watch female cartoon characters occupying a leadership position, especially in the military.
“Her authority is unquestioned—she’s definitely in charge. She also has a heart. She has a soft side, tenderness and vulnerability, which shows that you don’t have to shut that part off if you are a woman in a leadership position. It’s inspirational for girls to see that women can attain these positions of authority”, Lynch said.
#13. Anika Noni Rose
Those beautiful eyes are unmistakable! They belong to both Princess Tiana and the owner of her voice Anika Noni Rose. You probably know her for her Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change and her leading role as Lorrell Robinson in the film Dreamgirls (2006). In 2009, she voiced Tiana in the Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog (2009).
Photo: Courtesy of Parade
As you can imagine, Tiana made history as the first African-American princess and is a really inspiring female character. She is a hardworking person who is willing to go to great lengths to achieve her dream, which is not wedded bliss but owning her own business. As to her looks… well, there is no doubt that her wide smile, white teeth, wavy black hair, and chocolate eyes are 100% Noni Rose!
#12. Ed Asner
The television legend Ed Asner provided the voice and most of the physical inspiration for the cartoon Carl Fredricksen, the fictional lead character of Disney and Pixar’s Up (2009). But you have to admit that there is also some substantial resemblance between all grumpy old white men.
Photo: Courtesy of Free&Equal
Asner has achieved brilliant performances in many successful films, but Up! will always be remembered as one of his greatest works. Through the character of Carl, this movie teaches you to always fight for your dreams and that it’s never too late to fulfill your life goals. It’s impossible not to feel identified with Carl, right?
#11. Bobby Driscoll
Have you ever seen So Dear to My Heart (1948), Treasure Island (1950), or Song of the South (1946)? Well, I wasn’t even born back then and I haven’t seen any of these three movies, but I’m definitely familiar with the actor who starred in them, Bobby Driscoll. He actually became famous as the voice of Peter Pan (1953), and also modeled as a reference for this hit movie.
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I’m pretty sure all of you agree that he was perfect for the role of Peter Pan, as they look very much alike. The child actor’s slim, athletic physique naturally caught people’s attention. He had beautiful and nearly orange hair and cheeks full of freckles, just like the Disney cartoon. Peter Pan even has Driscoll’s same slightly upturned nose!
#10. Steve Buscemi
You probably know Steve Buscemi for its unusual characters. His career spans four decades during which he has acted in more than 100 films and television series in both comic and dramatic roles. He has also participated in several independent and commercial films and has received Golden Globe, SAG, Emmy, and Independent Spirit awards. Do you have an idea about which animated character he voiced?
Photo: Courtesy of Pifunny
Buscemi voiced Mr. Wesley, the antagonist of the Disney film Home on the Range (2004). But if you think about it, Mr. Wesley looks just like Nucky Thompson, Buscemi’s character in the HBO hit Boardwalk Empire. Look at the photo above, and you’ll realize that they even wear the exact same jacket! It appears that someone was taking notes!
#9. Robin Williams
As all Disney fans must know, the actor who brought the Genie to life in the 1992 film Aladdin was the mythical actor Robin Williams. Obviously, they’re not physically identical… after all, the Genie does have inhumanely blue skin and incredibly large and pointy years.
Photo: Courtesy of 6abc Philadelphia
However, if you think twice, you can’t deny that the Disney animators captured Williams’ sense of humor, mannerisms and facial expressions when creating this iconic cartoon. In the end, Williams’s performance was so brilliant that he paved the way for other animated films to incorporate A-list actors.
#8. John C. Reilly
With an astonishing range of roles already under his belt, John C. Reilly caused a buzz with one of his latest films, Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), which is the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph (2012). As you can tell by the picture, Reilly voiced the lead character Ralph – the gigantic but soft-hearted man next to him.
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If you look at them at the same time, it’s easy to appreciate the resemblance. I’m pretty sure that the animators studied Reilly’s performances and watched him in some of the recording sessions before designing the cartoon because they both share similar facial expressions and mannerisms.
#7. Will Smith
Just look at this fish’s matching toothy grin and you’ll see some Oscar in him! I have to admit that this underwater creature made me laughed my head off when I watched Shark Tale (2004). Will Smith lent his voice to this small and unfortunate striped fish, and let me tell you that is not all… because his dance moves are a legacy!
Photo: Courtesy of DoYouRemember?
I’m pretty sure you’re aware that the film includes the voices of top-level artists such as Jack Black, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, and Robert De Niro. But this fish is the only one that looks like his voice actor!
#6. Aisha Tyler
You probably know Aisha Tyler for her role as Dr. Charlie Wheeler, a paleontology professor who dated Ross in the iconic sitcom Friends. She also played Andrea Marino in the first season of Ghost Whisperer and Dr. Tara Lewis in Criminal Minds. More recently, she had recurring roles on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Talk Soup.
Photo: Courtesy of The Lamplight Review
But did any of you notice that she is the actor who voiced Lana Kane, the lead female character on the TV cartoon series Archer? Well, look twice, because their resemblance is undeniable! It seems that all the characters in this animated series were designed based on the physique of their voice actors since we’ve also seen the case of Jessica Walter! (Check out #16).
#5. Irene Bedard
Irene Bedard is an American actress who provided the voice for Pocahontas, the leading character of the Disney movie with the same name. Actually, this was not the only time in which Bedard played a Native American character, as she is best known for the role of Suzy Song in the film adaptation of Sherman Alexie’s novel, Smoke Signals (1998).
Photo: Courtesy of Disney princess story and VOX BOX
Bedard is an Alaskan Native of Inupiat and Yupik descent, and Pocahontas is literally her animated embodiment. They have the same narrow eyes, thin eyebrows, and gorgeous, long black hair. I’m pretty sure that some of you still sing Colors in the Wind in the shower, am I right?
#4. Zachary Levi
Zachary Levi is an American actor and singer, who voiced Flynn Rider in the animated film Tangled (2010). The world was fascinated by his interpretation of the song I See the Light with Mandy Moore, which won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media. He voiced the same character one more time in the short film Tangled Ever After (2012).
Photo: Courtesy of Pop Sugar
Flynn is a good-looking, sweet and vulnerable burglar, who loves making jokes full of sarcasm. If you look closely, those deep brown eyes, well-defined eyebrows, well-roasted complexion, and refined mouth are all Levi! Real-life voice actor and cartoon are both incredibly handsome!
#3. Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer is one of Hollywood’s greatest legends. With more than a hundred titles behind him, both on television and in cinema, he has always been a very versatile actor and has played very different styles of characters.
Photo: Courtesy of The Hollywood Inquirer
On top of this, he voiced his villainous alter-ego, inventor Charles Muntz, in Pixar’s aforementioned animated movie Up! (2009). Take a look at the picture above… don’t they have the same gleeful expression and the same wide and big nose?
#2. Rowan Atkinson
During the production of The Lion King (1994), John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and Patrick Stewart were all considered for the role of Mufasa’s and later Simba’s majordomo, Zazu. However, after watching several episodes of Mr. Bean, the animators decided to give this role to Atkinson.
Photo: Courtesy of Entertainment weekly
Atkinson makes the funniest faces and the most expressive gestures. One of his most notable features are his eyebrows… and if you look twice, Zazu’s eyebrows look just the same! Zazu’s supervising animator, Ellen Woodbury, admitted that they drew major inspiration from Atkinson’s mannerisms and comic expressions. For some unknown reason, Atkinson didn’t return to voice Zazu in the latter two films.
#1. Ming-Na Wen
Ming-Na Wen is an American actress who provided the voice for the lead character in the Disney animated film Mulan (1998), in its direct-to-video sequel Mulan II (2004), and in the video game Kingdom Hearts II. The truth is that Wen isn’t as famous as the other actors and actresses in this list, so let’s look at one of her pictures.
Photo: Courtesy of Entertainment weekly
On the right is Wen, the voice actor of Mulan. Isn’t the resemblance uncanny? On the left, we see Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, who will be playing the role of Mulan in the live-action adaptation of this animated film.