Actors are usually on the lookout for roles that will get them as much screen time and visibility as possible. However, sometimes celebrities decide to simply step behind a microphone and let their characters be drawn to life instead.
Many A-list Hollywood stars have lent their voices to popular animated movies over the years. The 30 stars below let their voices do the talking (or singing) and let the animators do their work to create the final product.
1. Will Smith: Oscar, “Shark Tale”
Actor and musician Will Smith is known for his starring roles in “Independence Day,” “Men in Black” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” But, did you know he also shared his vocal talents to star in the animated feature “Shark Tale” in 2004. He played the main character, Oscar.
2. Justin Timberlake: Branch, “Trolls”
Singer and Super Bowl halftime star Justin Timberlake not only had a hit song in 2016 with “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” from the animated movie, “Trolls.” He also starred in it as Branch, a not-so-sweet troll out to save the day.
Check out some behind-the-scenes footage of Timberlake and co-star Anna Kendrick performing some of the voice work for “Trolls” in the video below. Looks like a pretty fun job!
3. Mila Kunis: Meg Griffin, “Family Guy”
“Bad Moms” star Mila Kunis has provided the voice for long-suffering teen Griffin daughter Meg in Fox’s “Family Guy” since 1999. That’s almost 20 years of playing the same character! Not a bad gig, right?
4. Mel Gibson: Capt. John Smith, “Pocahontas”
Who better to play the strong, dashing leading man in a ’90s movie than Mel Gibson? Disney found its John Smith in the actor when it was casting its historical animated feature, “Pocahontas,” in 1995.
5. Robin Williams: Genie, “Aladdin”
Many people feel Robin Williams’ Genie in the 1992 Disney classic “Aladdin” is among the studio’s best characters of all time. His character seems to jump off the screen and the excitement and joy Williams brought to the role make Genie one of the most memorable figures in all of animation.
In the behind-the-scenes look at the voices of “Aladdin” below, you can see the both the craft and fun behind Williams’s work to create the Genie.
6. Angelina Jolie: Tigress, “Ku Fu Panda”
As Tigress in the “Kung Fu Panda” animated film series, Angelina Jolie continued her streak of playing strong, fiercely independent characters — even in the form of a cartoon cat!
7. Matthew Broderick: Simba, “The Lion King”
He may be best known as Ferris Bueller, but Matthew Broderick was the leading voice in one of Disney’s most popular features of all time, “The Lion King.” As the grown-up version of Simba the lion, Broderick memorably sang “Hakuna Matata” and took his rightful place on the throne.
8. & 9. Tom Hanks And Tim Allen: Woody And Buzz, “Toy Story”
Disney brought together major stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as an unlikely duo who started out as enemies, but became best friends in 1995’s “Toy Story.” Hanks as Woody, an old-time cowboy toy, and Allen as Buzz Lightyear, a cutting-edge space ranger toy, went on to make three blockbuster hits, with a fourth on the way!
10. Mark Hamill: The Joker, “Batman: The Animated Series”
Talk about switching sides! Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, voiced the evil Joker in “Batman: The Animated Series,” as well as in many video games and related series that have followed. Darth Vader would be proud!
11. Fergie: Sally Brown, “Peanuts”
Before she became famous as a member of the Black Eyed Peas, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson voiced the character of Charlie Brown’s little sister, Sally, in a number of “Peanuts” TV specials and series in the 1980s, including “It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown,” “Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown,” and “The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.” Oh, Good Grief!
12. Oprah Winfrey: Eudora, “The Princess and the Frog”
The queen of talk shows did her own Disney turn in 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Oprah Winfrey voiced Eudora, the mother of the lead character, Tiana.
13. Scarlett Johansson: Princess Mindy, “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”
Remember Mindy, princess of the sea and Neptune’s daughter in “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie?” Well, Hollywood royalty lent her voice to play her on the big screen! Scarlett Johansson played the young, bold princess.
14. Samuel L. Jackson: Frozone, “The Incredibles”
Jackson’s superhero character, Frozone, in Disney-Pixar’s “The Incredibles” practically steals the entire film in one hilarious scene where his wife tries to keep him from from saving the day in order to keep a dinner date. Jackson is slated to be in the upcoming sequel, scheduled for release in June.
15. Dakota Fanning: Coraline Jones, “Coraline”
Actress Dakota Fanning shared her vocal talents to portray the lead character in the Oscar-nominated animated movie “Coraline” in 2009. Coraline was an 11-year-old girl and Fanning was 14 years old when she voiced her.
16. Michael J. Fox: Stuart Little, “Stuart Little”
Michael J. Fox took on the role of the charming mouse Stuart Little in 1999. The classic children’s book character came to life in this live action-animated feature with help from the beloved actor. Fox has since voiced Stuart Little in two sequels, meaning he’s played this role as many times as he’s played Marty McFly!
17. Jay Leno: Crimson Chin, “The Fairly OddParents”
The comedian, turned “Tonight Show” host took time out of his busy schedule to voice the animated comic book here Crimson Chin. The hero was main character Timmy Turner’s idol in the Nickelodeon series “The Fairly OddParents.”
18. Laurie Metcalf: Andy’s Mom, “Toy Story” series
For all three Toy Story movies, Metcalf took on the role of Andy’s mom. Metcalf is now enjoying the resurgence in popularity of her famous role of Jackie on ABC’s “Roseanne.”
19. Bruce Willis: Spike the Dog, “Rugrats Go Wild”
Willis may be an action hero star to most who know him, but he also played scrappy Spike the Dog in the feature animated film “Rugrats Go Wild” in 2003!
20. Busta Rhymes: Reptar, “Rugrats” and “The Rugrats Movie”
The rapper roared Reptar to life twice as the larger-than-life dinosaur in the toddler world of “Rugrats.” Once on the TV series and once in the feature film in 1998.
21. Miley Cyrus: Penny, “Bolt”
Cyrus clearly loved working with Disney back in the day (uh, “Hannah Montana!”), and she had the chance to play Penny in the 2008 Disney animated movie “Bolt” about a superstar dog who falls on hard times.
22. Whoopi Goldberg: Shenzi, “The Lion King”
Along with Matthew Broderick, Goldberg was part of the all-star cast of Disney’s 1994 animated classic “The Lion King.” She voiced Shenzi, one of the trouble-making hyenas.
23. Renee Zellweger: Katie, “Monsters vs. Aliens”
Zellweger played Katie in the 2008 Dreamworks animated movie “Monsters vs. Aliens.” She is currently portraying screen legend Judy Garland in an upcoming biopic.
24. Channing Tatum: Superman, “The LEGO Batman Movie”
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s leading man Channing Tatum voicing the Man of Steel in the 2017 animated movie “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Super, indeed!
25. Orson Welles: Unicron, “Transformers: The Movie”
The legendary actor of “Citizen Kane” and “War of the Worlds” portrayed one of the bad guy Decepticons in the 1986 animated movie. In fact, it was his last credited role before his death.
26. Tim Curry: Nigel Thornberry, “The Wild Thornberrys”
Remember adventurer Nigel Thornberry of the classic Nickelodeon series, “The Wild Thornberrys?” None other than the incredible Tim Curry voiced the patriarch of the family!
27. Vin Diesel: Iron Giant, “The Iron Giant”
The 1999 Warner Bros. animated feature about a giant alien robot starred “Fast and Furious” megastar Vin Diesel as the main character.
28. Jaleel White: Sonic, “Sonic The Hedgehog Animated Series”
He may be best known as Steve Urkel from ABC’s long-running sitcom “Family Matters,” but White also portrayed video game hero Sonic the Hedgehog in a Saturday-morning animated series from 1993 to 1994!
29. Val Kilmer: Moses, “The Prince of Egypt”
From Iceman to Batman to … Moses? It’s true! Kilmer, best known for “Top Gun” and “Batman Forever,” starred as Biblical hero Moses in the 2008 Dreamworks animated musical movie “Prince of Egypt.”
30. Meg Ryan: Dr. Blight, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”
Meg Ryan, of “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” fame, did voiceover work for the “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” animated series in 1990. She voiced the character of Dr. Blight, a villain scientist with a vision to take over the world with her experiments and schemes.
What are some of your favorite animated characters?