Frank Welker

Franklin Wendell Welker (born March 12, 1946) is an American voice actor best known for his role as Fred Jones from the Scooby-Doo franchise since its inception in 1969 and as the voice of Scooby-Doo since 2002. He is also known as the voice of Megatron in the Transformers franchise and as the voice and vocal effects of Nibbler on Futurama.

In 2016, Welker was honored with an Emmy Award for his lifetime achievement.

Frank Welker
Frank Welker
Welker at the 2015 Rhode Island Comic Con
Born
Franklin Wendell Welker

March 12, 1946 (age 73)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materSanta Monica College
OccupationVoice actor
Years active1967–present
AgentCESD Talent Agency
Known for

Early life

Welker was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 12, 1946.[1] He moved to California and attended Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, where he majored in theatrical arts. In 1966, he received honors for his performance as the Cowardly Lion in the college's theater production of The Wizard of Oz.[2] During his transition between college and his voice-acting career, his first voice-over role was in a commercial for Friskies dog food. The producer's girlfriend informed him of auditioning for Hanna-Barbera during the casting of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, where he initially auditioned for the title character (and, according to Casey Kasem, the role of Shaggy Rogers, as well)[3] but instead won the role of Fred Jones.[4]

Career

Voice-acting career

Welker's first voice role came in 1969, as Fred Jones in the Scooby-Doo franchise. Welker has voiced Fred in almost every series and incarnation of the Scooby-Doo animated franchise (with the exception of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo) and has also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo since 2002.[5] As of 2019, Welker is the only remaining original voice actor still involved in the series.

His next major character voice was for Wonder Dog (which was inspired by Scooby-Doo) and Marvin White on the 1973 series Super Friends (also produced by Hanna-Barbera). That same year, he played Pudge and Gabby on DePatie-Freleng Enterprises' animated series Bailey's Comets. Welker continued to provide voices for many characters for Hanna-Barbera for several years, which include Jabberjaw, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, and the Shmoo in The New Fred and Barney Show and its spin-off, The Flintstones Comedy Show. Frank Welker described the voice he used for the Shmoo as "a bubble voice" (one he would later use for Gogo Dodo in Tiny Toon Adventures).

In 1978, he played the title character on Fangface and later in its spin-off, Fangface and Fangpuss, and also voiced Heckle and Jeckle and Quackula on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, and Tom Cat, Jerry Mouse, Spike, Tyke, Droopy, Slick Wolf and Barney Bear on The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Welker became a very busy actor, providing the voice for many popular cartoon characters in multiple series, including Brain, Doctor Claw, and M.A.D. Cat on Inspector Gadget; Mister Mxyzptlk, Darkseid, and Kalibak on Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show; Wild Bill, Dreadnok Torch, and various G.I. Joe heroes and villains; Scooter on Challenge of the GoBots, Ray Stantz and Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters; the villainous Dr. Jeremiah Surd on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest; Bubba the Caveduck and two of the Beagle Boys (Bigtime & Baggie) on DuckTales; multiple voices on The Smurfs, including Hefty Smurf, Poet Smurf, and Peewit; and various characters on Captain Planet and the Planeteers.

He also voiced various characters on The Simpsons, such as Santa's Little Helper, Snowball II, and various other animals from 1991 to his departure from the show in 2002. Welker provided both the speaking voice and animal sounds for Nibbler on Matt Groening's Futurama. He provided the voices for Mr. Plotz, Runt, Ralph the Guard, Buttons, and other characters on Animaniacs, Gogo Dodo, Furball, Beeper and others on Tiny Toon Adventures, Pepé Le Pew on The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, and McWolf the main antagonist to Droopy and his nephew Dripple on Tom and Jerry Kids Show and Droopy, Master Detective.

Welker has also created the vocal effects for many animals and creatures in films, including Abu the monkey, Rajah the tiger, and the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin (1992), its two sequels, and the television series, Arnold the Pig in the television film Return to Green Acres (1990), the Martians in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (1996), and the penguins in Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011). He performed Spock's screams in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and voiced The Thing in The Golden Child (1986), Jinx the robot in SpaceCamp (1986), Totoro in the 2005 English version of Studio Ghibli's film My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Alien Sil in Species (1995), Malebolgia in Spawn (1997), and Gargamel's cat Azrael in Sony Pictures Animation's live action/animated film versions of The Smurfs.

In 2006, he began voicing George in the popular children's series Curious George. He also voiced George in the animated film of the same name that same year. In 2007, Welker became the new voice of Garfield, succeeding the original actor Lorenzo Music, who died in 2001 (Welker and Music had previously worked together on The Real Ghostbusters and the original Garfield and Friends). Welker voiced Garfield in Garfield Gets Real (2007), Garfield's Fun Fest (2008), Garfield's Pet Force (2009), and on the series The Garfield Show, which ran from 2008 to 2016. In 2011, he provided the voice of Batman in a Scooby-Doo crossover segment of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, "Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!". In the same episode, he also voiced Batboy, the classic Mad Magazine Batman spoof, originally created by Wally Wood.

Welker has also provided voices for many video game characters, most notably Disney's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and The Shadow Blot in Epic Mickey and its sequel Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,[6] as well as Zurvan, also called the Ancient One, on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. He also provided the voice of the mad mage Xzar for the Baldur's Gate video game series, and reprised his role from Avengers Assemble as Odin for Lego Marvel's Avengers.

Live-action acting career

Welker's first on-camera film role was as a college kid from Rutgers University who befriends Elvis Presley in The Trouble with Girls (1969). His next film role was in the Disney film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), which starred Kurt Russell (he would also appear in the film's sequel, Now You See Him, Now You Don't, in 1972). He later co-starred with Don Knotts in Universal's How to Frame a Figg (1971), and appeared in Dirty Little Billy (1972).[4]

On-camera television appearances included roles on Laugh-In, Love, American Style, The Partridge Family, and The Don Knotts Show. He played a prosecutor in the highly acclaimed ABC special The Trial of General Yamashita and as Captain Pace beside Richard Dreyfuss' Yossarian in Paramount Television's pilot Catch-22. He also appeared on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour, Laugh Trax, and as one of the cast members in the special of That Was the Year That Was (1985) with David Frost.

Frank also played an on-camera role as a voice actor in a 1984 episode of Simon & Simon. In The Duck Factory, he played a rival actor trying to steal the role of Dippy Duck from fellow voice actor Wally Wooster (Don Messick). In recent years, he appeared in Steven Soderbergh's film The Informant! (2009) as Matt Damon's father.

In 1978, Frank Welker appeared on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast to George Burns. While saluting Burns, he showed his abilities as an impressionist by honoring George Burns with the voices of Walter Cronkite, Henry Kissinger, Muhammad Ali, David Frost, and Jimmy Carter.

Transformers

In the 1980s, Welker voiced many recurring characters in the original Transformers animated series. He voiced several Decepticons, including the leader Megatron, Soundwave, Skywarp, Mixmaster, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Ratbat, as well as Autobots Mirage, Trailbreaker and Sludge. He took on the role of Wheelie in The Transformers: The Movie (1986), and in the post-movie episodes took over the role of Galvatron (from his Star Trek III castmate Leonard Nimoy) and also voiced Chromedome and Pinpointer.

Welker returned to two of his Transformers roles when he portrayed Megatron and Soundwave as part of a spoof in a third-season episode of Robot Chicken, which aired shortly after the release of the first live-action film. In the second Transformers film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), he joined the voice cast and reprised the roles of Soundwave and Ravage, and also provided the voices for Grindor, Devastator, and Reedman. He would again reprise his role as Soundwave, as well as take on the roles of Shockwave and Barricade, in the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). And, in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), he would reprise his role as Galvatron, albeit with a much different voice from his performance in the 1980s Generation One series. Welker reprised the voice of Megatron in the fifth installment, Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) taking over from Hugo Weaving who played Megatron in the first three live-action Transformer films.

He does not voice Megatron in the first three live-action films (Hugo Weaving was chosen for the role instead). However, Welker did voice Megatron in the two video games based on the first two films, as well as the theme park attractions at Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Florida, Transformers: The Ride.

Welker also reprised the roles of Megatron and Soundwave in the series Transformers: Prime (retitled Transformers: Prime – Beast Hunters for its third season) and the Transformers: Generation 1 video game Transformers: Devastation.[7]

References

  1. ^ "Frank Welker," Behind the Voice Actors, www.behindthevoiceactors.com/
  2. ^ "Two Dorothys, Lion Earn Top Prizes". Santa Monica City College Corsair. June 8, 1966.
  3. ^ Sigesmund, B.J. "The Inside Dope." Newsweek. June 14, 2002. Available at Lexis-Nexis.
  4. ^ a b "Frank Welker: Master of Many Voices, Bob Miller, ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE, ISSUE 5.01". April 2000. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Frank Welker". scoobyaddicts.com. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  6. ^ Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two - Warren Spector Extended Cut, Game Trailers TV, March 26, 2012
  7. ^ "BotCon 2010 Hasbro panel". Retrieved October 20, 2014.

External links

Curious George (TV series)

Curious George is an American animated educational children's television series based on the children's book series of the same name which features Jeff Bennett as the voice of The Man with the Yellow Hat. Frank Welker, who voiced George in the 2006 feature film, returns as the voice of George. Since the series' cancellation, reruns of the show are airing on PBS Kids. The show premiered on September 4, 2006, and ended on April 1, 2015.

Curious George is a production of Universal 1440 Entertainment (Universal Studios Family Productions before 2013), Imagine Entertainment, and WGBH Boston, and animated by Toon City. Each episode has two animated segments per half hour episode, and a short live action segment after each. Production began in 2005, and the copyrighted byline was created in July 2005.

The live action shorts illustrate and explain various concepts in math and science, and show schoolchildren engaging in experiments, that teach the math or science concept featured in the previous story.

Frank Welker filmography

Frank Welker is an American actor who specializes in voice acting and has contributed character voices and other vocal effects to American television and motion pictures.

Fred Jones (Scooby-Doo)

Frederick Herman Jones is a fictional character in the American animated series Scooby-Doo, about a quartet of teenage mystery solvers and their Great Dane companion, Scooby-Doo. He has been voiced by Frank Welker since the character's inception in 1969.

Garfield Gets Real

Garfield Gets Real (also known as Garfield 3D in some regions) is a 2007 American CGI movie starring Garfield. It was produced by Paws, Inc. in cooperation with Davis Entertainment, and The Animation Picture Company and distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. It was written by Garfield's creator Jim Davis, who started working on the script in the autumn of 1996. This was the first fully animated Garfield film since the last Garfield and Friends TV episode aired in 1994, and the first to be written by Davis since the 1991 television special Garfield Gets a Life. The movie was released in cinemas August 9, 2007, and the DVD was shipped to stores on November 20, 2007. Gregg Berger, an actor from the original series, reprises his role of Odie, but Garfield is now voiced by veteran voice actor Frank Welker, since the original actor Lorenzo Music died in 2001 and Jon is voiced by Wally Wingert, as Thom Huge retired that same year. The film's success led to two sequels: Garfield's Fun Fest (2008) and Garfield's Pet Force (2009).

Gossamer (Looney Tunes)

Gossamer is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The character is a hairy, orange monster. His body is perched on two giant tennis shoes, and his heart-shaped face is composed of only two oval eyes and a wide mouth, with two hulking arms ending in dirty, clawed fingers. The monster's main trait is bright uncombed orange hair. He originally was voiced by Mel Blanc and has been voiced by Frank Welker, Maurice LaMarche, Joe Alaskey, Jim Cummings, and Kwesi Boakye.

The word gossamer means any sort of thin, fragile, transparent material. In particular, it can refer to a kind of delicate, sheer gauze or a light cobweb. The name is meant to be ironic because the character is large, menacing, and destructive.

Heckle and Jeckle

Heckle and Jeckle are postwar animated cartoon characters created by Paul Terry, originally produced at his own Terrytoons animation studio and released through 20th Century Fox. The characters are a pair of identical anthropomorphic yellow-billed magpies; and both were voiced at different times by Sid Raymond (1946–47), Ned Sparks (1947–51), Roy Halee (1951–61), Dayton Allen (1956–66) and Frank Welker (1979–81). While in the pilot for Curbside, Heckle was voiced by Toby Huss and Jeckle was voiced by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.

List of Animaniacs characters

This is a list of characters in the Warner Bros. animated television series, Animaniacs.

List of Disney animated universe characters

The following is an alphabetical list of major and recurring animated characters in the Walt Disney universe of animated shorts, feature films, and television series based on films by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Some of the following animated characters have been included in their own Disney marketing franchise, including the Disney Princesses, Disney Villains, and Disney Fairies.

List of Tiny Toon Adventures characters

The Tiny Toon Adventures animated television series features an extensive cast of characters. The show's central characters are mostly various forms of anthropomorphic animals, based on Looney Tunes characters from earlier films and shows. In the series, the characters attend a school called Acme Looniversity, set in the cartoon community of Acme Acres.

Penelope Pussycat

Penelope Pussycat is an animated cartoon character, featured in the Warner Bros. classic Looney Tunes animated shorts as the protagonist of the Pepé Le Pew shorts. Although she is typically a non-speaker, her "meows" and "purrs" (or "le mews" and "le purrs") were most often provided by Mel Blanc using a feminine voice. In the 1959 short Really Scent, she was voiced by June Foray, in the 1962 short Louvre Come Back to Me!, she was voiced by Julie Bennett, and in the 2000 movie, Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, she was voiced by Frank Welker. Her first speaking role was in the 1995 short Carrotblanca, where she was voiced by Tress MacNeille.

Pound Puppies (film)

The Pound Puppies is an animated television special, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, based on the popular toy line from Tonka, which aired in syndication on October 26, 1985, paired with Star Fairies. Characters in the special included the Fonzie-styled leader Cooler (voiced by Dan Gilvezan), the cheerleader Bright Eyes (voiced by Adrienne Alexander), and a dog with a very nasal like New York accent known only as "The Nose" (voiced by Joanne Worley), and the goofy inventor aptly named Howler (voiced by Frank Welker), who can only howl.

Saturday Supercade

Saturday Supercade is an animated television series produced for Saturday mornings by Ruby-Spears Productions. It ran for two seasons on CBS beginning in 1983. Each episode is composed of several shorter segments featuring video game characters from the golden age of arcade video games.

Scoob

Scoob! is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated film featuring characters from the Scooby-Doo franchise. The film is directed by Tony Cervone, written by Kelly Fremon Craig, and stars the voices of Frank Welker, Zac Efron, Will Forte, Amanda Seyfried, Gina Rodriguez, and Tracy Morgan. It is a reboot of the Scooby-Doo film series and the first film in the Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe. Animated by Reel FX for Warner Animation Group, the film is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 15, 2020, by Warner Bros.

Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire

Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire is a 2012 direct-to-DVD animated musical comedy horror film, and the seventeenth entry in the direct-to-video series of Scooby-Doo films. This installment is notable for being the first of the films to be a musical. The film was released to rent through Amazon Video and iTunes on December 22, 2011. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 13, 2012. It premiered on Cartoon Network on March 3, 2012.

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright is a 2013 direct-to-DVD animated musical comedy horror film, and the twenty-first entry in the direct-to-video series of Scooby-Doo films. It was released on August 20, 2013 by Warner Premiere.

Spike and Tyke

Spike & Tyke is a theatrical animated short subject series, based upon the American bulldog father-and-son team from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Tom and Jerry cartoons. Only two films were made in this spin-off series: Give and Tyke and Scat Cats, both finished in 1956 and released in 1957, and produced in CinemaScope and Technicolor, as the cartoon studio shut down the year the spin-off series was started.The cartoons were produced and directed by Tom and Jerry creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and were among the last of the original MGM theatrical cartoons made. The studio was shut down in 1957, and Hanna and Barbera would move on to television animation production success with their own Hanna-Barbera Productions.Spike was voiced by Billy Bletcher, and later Daws Butler. Tyke did not talk in the theatrical shorts, but did speak on the FOX television series Tom & Jerry Kids, for which the duo appeared in their own segments, and occasionally in the Tom and Jerry segments. Spike and Tyke were voiced by Richard Gautier and Patric Zimmerman, respectively. Later, they appeared in the straight to video film Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring Spike was voiced by Maurice LaMarche and Tyke's barks were done by Frank Welker.

The Savage Dragon (TV series)

The Savage Dragon is a half-hour animated television series aired as part of the Cartoon Express on the USA Network. Produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, it ran for 26 episodes from 1995 to 1996 and featured numerous supporting characters from the comic book series, including She-Dragon, Horde, Barbaric, Mako and Overlord. The Dragon was voiced by Jim Cummings. Additional voices were provided by Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Jennifer Hale, René Auberjonois, Frank Welker, Paul Eiding, Rob Paulsen and Tony Jay.

Episode 21 of Savage Dragon, "Endgame", served as the second part of a four-part crossover with three other shows in USA's "Action Extreme Team" programming block: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, and Wing Commander Academy.

What's New, Scooby-Doo?

What's New, Scooby-Doo? is an American animated mystery comedy series produced by Warner Bros. Animation for Kids' WB; it is the ninth incarnation of the Scooby-Doo franchise that began with Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and the first of such since the previous incarnation, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, ended in 1991. The series revives the format of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, in which the title character and his companions, Fred Jones; Daphne Blake; Velma Dinkley and Shaggy Rogers, travel to varying locations solving mysteries; this format is modernized for What's New, Scooby-Doo?, in which the characters utilize technology that did not exist at the time Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! first aired. It is the first television series in the franchise in which Frank Welker, Grey DeLisle and Mindy Cohn respectively portrayed the voices of Scooby-Doo, Daphne, and Velma, as well as the final one in which Casey Kasem portrayed Shaggy, having originally quit the role following a dispute regarding the portrayal of the character.

The series premiered on September 14, 2002, and ran for three seasons before ending on July 21, 2006. The title song was performed by Canadian band Simple Plan. Reruns of the series have aired on both Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the United States. It also aired on Teletoon in Canada, and CBBC in the United Kingdom.

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