Since the concept of animation was invented, cartoons have been capable of creating vast universes filled with concepts, ideas, and locations that could never actually exist in the real world. Of course, this is a huge part of their appeal, as viewers started to dream about what it would be like to be a cartoon character themselves, experiencing a life of infinite hammerspace, virtually no consequences for violence, or a living in a world where chaos seemed to be the norm.
Obviously, we can’t be cartoon characters, or at least most of us will never get the opportunity. On the other hand, a large number of actors and actresses indeed get that chance, voicing the animated characters we see on television and in films. Sometimes, the cartoons are even based on the people voicing them, providing a small physical resemblance that keys viewers in to who provides their voices. In other instances, the person behind the microphone is so famous it doesn’t matter what their character looks like; everybody knows who’s really doing all the talking.
Considering the freedom animation allows, literally thousands of cartoons have been made since the medium was invented. With this many options available to viewers, it would be hard for anyone to consume it all. It’s a little bit easier to recognize who’s doing the talking, though, so use your knowledge and find out if you can guess which actors are behind these popular cartoon characters.
D’oh! The patriarch of television’s most dysfunctional family, Homer J. Simpson has screamed his catchphrase upwards of 1,000 times, and with good reason. With a brat like Bart ruining his life all the time, Homer barely has time to go to work down at the Nuclear Power Plant, where’s he’s in charge of safety or something. Let’s face it, the guy isn’t that great at his job and probably couldn’t explain it even after three decades, but hey—he survived three entire decades, making him one of the most iconic characters in history.
Eh…what’s up, doc? No list of cartoon characters can ever be complete without the wise-cracking trickster known worldwide as Bugs Bunny. Whether Bugs is dealing with hapless hunters, ridiculous roosters, Daffy Ducks, or any other Looney Tunes, he pretty much always has the upper hand, and manages to make his rivals look like a fool. Having survived over seven decades thus far, Bugs has also gone through a number of voice actors, but there’s only one original, with all followers merely imitating his classic delivery.
In the real world, people don’t like it much when they see mice in their homes, sometimes jumping on chairs or running away until the rodent menace makes itself scarce. However, when shown that same creature in animated form, audiences worldwide fell in love with one of the most iconic and recognizable characters ever created: Mickey Mouse. Originally a mischievous adventurer, Mickey soon became an earnest hero and incredible friend, introducing a wide universe of classic characters largely created by the man who originally provided Mickey’s voice.
Bender Bending Rodriguez
Anyone who gets this question wrong can bite my shiny metal daffodil…AHEM. You’ll have to excuse us; it seems Bender Bending Rodriguez was attempting to write his own synopsis. This sassy robot from the Year 3000 tends to wreck havoc wherever he goes, only helping his coworkers/friend at Planet Express when absolutely necessary. Bender would rather sit around drinking beer than ever bother doing an honest days work of bending, but that’s all part of his charm. And hey, his model robot needs that beer to survive, so it’s not like Bender has a drinking problem.
Quite frankly, it’s hard to disagree with Hank Hill’s defeated belief his son “ain’t right,” but with a dad like Hank, not to mention a mom like Peggy, it would be hard for Bobby Hill to come out of the experience well-adjusted. Of course, it could be that Arlen, Texas simply isn’t the right place for Bobby, as a creative minded kid like him needs a freedom the conservative southern town simply doesn’t offer. Luckily, Bobby has a girlfriend named Connie and best friend named Joseph to help him make sense of it all.
From the moment Stewie Griffin was born, he had two goals in mind: destroying the evil woman who created him and then taking over the world. Of course, his status as a baby has hindered him somewhat in both directions, and an unlikely friendship with his dog Brian calmed him down from those vicious aims in due time. Though he no longer desires full control of the planet, Stewie remains one of the smartest and most ambitious youngsters on TV, creating time machines and death rays to achieve his now simpler desires.
According to legend, whoever discovers and then rubs a magic lamp will be greeted by an ancient genie, ready to grant them three questions. As a bonus, this particular Genie happens to be absolutely hilarious, using his supernatural abilities as much for comedy as a means to make the people who discover him live their dreams. Once Aladdin finds the Genie, the whole wishing issue kind of flies through the window in lieu of an epic adventure, filled by hundreds of laughs, many of them improvised by the legendary comedian providing his voice.
Every person under a certain age can answer the following question: who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! They probably also know all about this strange, hyperactive sponge and his weird life at the bottom of the ocean, not to mention his best friend Patrick, annoying neighbor Squidward, mean boss Mr. Krabs, and squirrely girlfriend Sandy. Don’t forget SponeBob’s pet snail Gary, all of whom get into wacky aquatic adventures with our hero, whether he’s ready to face them or not.
In the beginning, Eric Cartman was no more than a big-boned kid who wanted nothing more than to eat his Cheesy Poofs in peace. After two decades, Cartman is one of the most nuanced and evil villains ever to wind up on television, and yet his presentation also makes him one of the funniest cartoon around. Cartman’s intentions may usually be vile, but the sheer extent of his childhood terror is hilarious in and of itself, and in all fairness, the kid does occasionally learn a lesson or two when his nicer friends Stan and Kyle have their trademark epiphanies.
Hey, hey, hey! Whenever kids in North Philadelphia needed advice, they went down to the junkyard and hung out with their thoughtful, fun-loving friend Fat Albert. Advertised as a place to go and find music and fun, with an added bonus you could learn something before it’s done, Fat Albert’s TV show was partially responsible for the creator earning a Doctorate in Education. Considering the same man also voiced Fat Albert, it’s almost like the character itself was given the honor, a rare feat for a simple cartoon.
Yabba dabba do! While today’s audiences might think life in Bedrock is a little too primitive for their tastes, it was the perfect setting for a modern Stone Age family and their fun-loving father. Sure, Fred Flintstone hates his boss and occasionally gets into arguments with his life Wilma, but troubles like those instantly faded away when smoking a Winston cigarette with his friend Barney, hitting up the bowling alley, or spending time with the guys in the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos Lodge.
Even in a land of fairytales, Shrek the ogre stood out as big, scary, and nasty, though anyone familiar with the guy knows none of those descriptions are entirely accurate. True, Shrek can be grumpy and a bit frightening to someone who’s never seen him before, but the more one gets to know him, the more they realize the mean-looking green monster is actually a kind-hearted soul deep down inside. Though he tries to hide it himself, leading a life of solitude, an unexpected friendship with a Donkey starts to humanize the beast, and before long, he even finds love.
Forget about that ignoramus hare for a minute and focus on the real star of Looney Tunes, at least in his own mind. Whether it’s rabbit season or a time more fowl, Daffy Duck is already around and making sure things stay amuck with his madcap, unpredictable behavior. While Bugs was always trying to get a laugh, Daffy had less concrete goals in mind and was simply an agent of chaos, at times literally just bouncing a round, hooting and hollering without any purpose. Of course, that’s exactly why kids around the world still love him.
Sheriff Woody Pride
To most kids, Sheriff Woody Pride is a cute cowboy toy that upholds the law despite the constant prescience of a snake in his boots. However, Andy Davis is a special young lad in that his Woody comes alive when he leaves the room, along with all of his other action figures, dolls, and even some board games. Given Woody’s occupation as a sheriff, its natural he takes charge of the room and ensures law and order, a much needed commodity especially after an outsider enters the fold and takes things to infinity and beyond.
The Joker (from Batman: The Animated Series)
HA HA HA HA HA! Well before he hit TV screens on Batman: The Animated Series, The Joker existed for decades in comic book form as arguably the most evil mastermind in the medium. Short of that, he was at least the arch rival of the Caped Crusader, with the battles between the two legendary from the first time they crossed paths. In contrast to his humorous appearance, The Joker is in fact a vicious serial killer who has caused more havoc to Gotham City than anyone else in Batman’s infamous rogue’s gallery.
Don’t have a cow, man. Yeah, Homer Simpson might be the leader of television’s most iconic family, but that doesn’t mean he’s in charge or anything. Quite frankly, the way Bart treats his father and everyone around him, it usually feels like the mischievous fourth grader is running the show, and we’re not just talking about things down at the factory he briefly owns. If not the most famous Simpson, the bratty eldest child is nonetheless amongst the most memorable, and anyone who disagrees with that assertion can eat his shorts.
Life as a monster isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, but Mike Wazowski seems to enjoy the gig as much as any other regular schmo. When other kids made fun of him for what was perceived as an unscary appearance, Mike fought back by becoming the scariest darned creature ever to graduate Monsters University. It wasn’t easy, either, considering he had his friend/enemy James Sullivan always got in the way of his success. Somehow, though, the monsters persevered and learned how to work together in peace, which they continue to do through their jobs at Monsters, Inc.
Remy The Rat
Let’s face it—even in the post-Mickey Mouse world, when most people see a rat, they still jump in terror. That fear only grows stronger if the rodent happens to be anywhere near their food, making life for Remy extremely hard. As it would turn out, the poor French rat wants nothing more than to be a cook in a fancy restaurant, something a creature of his nature isn’t really allowed to do. Luckily, a young human chef named Linguini could use a little help on the finer points of cuisine, forming a partnership with Remy that makes everyone happy.
Jack Skellington (Singing Voice)
Halloween Town sounds like a scary place to live, which is exactly why the “Pumpkin King” Jack Skellington and the rest of the merry band of ghouls happily occupy it. Even so, when Jack learns of a magical time called Christmas, he realizes there might be more to life than simply frightening people for a laugh. Unfortunately, Jack’s method of going about this plan isn’t entirely polite, kidnapping Santa Claus and then losing him to the villainous Oogie Boogie. Now, it’s up to Jack to save Santa, Christmas, and maybe even Halloween all at once.
Although most people probably view life as a princess either to be a constantly glamorous or deceptively taxing situation, to young Anna of Arendelle, it’s not that big a deal—at least nothing that should get in the way of building a snowman or two. That her older sister Princess Elsa happens to be imbued with the ability to create ice should only make the task easier, though as Anna grows older, their entire Kingdom realizes this special power might have some serious drawbacks. Once Elsa exiles herself to save the world, Anna decides to find her and bring her back.
Look, not every single fairytale needs to fly or have magic powers or even be anything other than a ridiculously annoying jackass all the time. Pardon the pun, but it’s hard to describe Shrek’s best friend Donkey in any other way, as his constant yammering gets on our nerves as much as it does his friendly ogre companion. Not that some of what Donkey says isn’t absolutely hilarious, sometimes even justifying the fact he never shuts up. Granted, with one of the greatest stand-up comedians in history providing his voice, it’s hard not to laugh at whatever he says.
Hello there, children! As anyone to spend time in South Park is surely aware, the adults in that town aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the cupboard, and that’s pretty much across the board. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and even Cartman occasionally need an intelligent older person to answer the harder life questions their adventures bring forth, and that’s where their cafeteria Chef came in, at least until he joined the Super Adventure Club and disappeared from their lives. Until that day came, though, it was always a treat to see him around, especially when he had chocolate salty balls to share.
For most of his life, all Carl Fredricksen wanted to do was go on adventures, and through the help of a girl named Ellie, that’s exactly what he did for many years. Unfortunately, Ellie has since passed away and left Carl a bitter old man, no longer concerned with travelling the world and now simply wanting to be let alone from the hustle and bustle of every day life. When a group of contractors get in the way of this goal, Fredricksen set forth an ingenious plan to escape it all, lifting his house to the sky with so many balloons.
Regardless of the horrible fate that befell his homeland, and his father along with it, Lotus Shan was never the most vengeful sort of panda around. Far more relaxed and reserved than some of his contemporaries, it was a total shock to Lotus when he was named the new Dragon Warrior by Mast Oogway, even suggesting the designation was granted by mistake. Once Oogway informs Shan there are no mistakes, though, he gradually accepts his fate, turning into a Kung Fu master and adopting the name Po Ping in the process.
They say genius loves company, but that doesn’t necessarily means it has the personality to welcome it. Take for example Rick Sanchez C-137, the grandfather of young Morty, a kid forced into countless adventures due to his relative’s wanton recklessness. Of course, Sanchez is simply attempting to unlock the mysteries of the universe, regardless of how cynical, jaded, and pessimistic he may come off as he attempts to do so. It doesn’t help that Rick is an alcoholic on top of all this, though it does add to the many laughs he provides fans.
In the town of South Park, Colorado, nothing stands out more than a normal, well-adjusted kid trying his best to come out of his bizarre surroundings as free from damage as possible. Considering one of his best friends is Eric Cartman, that’s no easy task for Stan Marsh, nor is the fact his other good buddy Kenny McCormick seems to have died hundreds of times. More than that, Stan’s parents Randy and Sharon are complete messes, which one would expect could destroy the kids life, but he comes out of it all right…at least compared to the rest of his quiet little mountain town.
Phillip J. Fry
There’s nothing unusual about the everyday life of Philip J. Fry, except that he was born in the 20th century and suddenly found himself transported 1,000 years into the future during a routine pizza delivery. To his credit, Fry adapted to his futuristic new surroundings remarkably fast, only needing to meet his distant relative Hubert J. Farnsworth before basically picking things up exactly where he left off. Granted, his delivieries are a little stranger, but the pay is basically the same if not worse, and all Fry really cares about is the laughs shared with Bender and Leela.
It’s crazy enough being a Toon inside the context of a television show or movie, but imagine the madcap existence Roger Rabbit has to navigate through as an animated figure stuck in the real world. Almost instantly upon his introduction to worldwide audiences, Roger was framed for murder, and his zany antics made it hard for him to escape a potentially incarcerated fate. He didn’t do it, of course, but that’s hard for a mere drawing to prove, which is why detective Eddie Valiant soon becomes his closest ally.
Although they might be cute and friendly when drawn the right way, let’s face it—fish aren’t exactly known for their stellar memories. In fact, fish are so bad at recollection they tend to forget things almost immediately after realizing them, which is how poor Dory wound up separated from her family at a young age. Sure, she was quick to move on after meeting Marlin, who was searching for his son, Nemo, but that hardly brought things back to normal for the parents who may still be looking for her.
While the vast majority of Andy Davis’s toys are aware of the fact they are mere figurines for a child to play with, for whatever reason, astronaut Buzz Lightyear seems to believe he’s the real deal. This becomes clear from the moment he lands in Andy’s room, surveying the strange land and treating the locals as hostiles despite Sherriff Woody’s friendly demeanor. Gradually, Woody and the gang convince Buzz of his reality and help him cope with the fact, even becoming close friends and allies in the process.
Sent to Earth at a young age, Son Goku has no idea how he got there or what his mission is, although the fact he has a tail and possesses superhuman strength clues him in to the fact he might have some special purpose in life. Upon meeting Master Roshi, Goku is able to start honing his skills, gradually realizing that his goal might have been protecting the planet and those who live on it. With the sort of menaces he constantly faces, this may only be possible with the help of seven legendary Dragon Balls that grant wishes to whoever collects them all.
James Bond, eat your heart out. Despite doubling down on every bad behavior the world’s most famous spy is known for, Sterling Archer somehow remains a sleuth of equal proportions to Ian Fleming’s famous creation, and his incredible sense of humor might make him an even bigger star to his many fans. Granted, Archer’s sense of humor has also gotten himself and his coworkers in some serious trouble over the years, and it’s usually up to his on-again off-again girlfriend Lana to truly save the day. Then again, Archer himself is probably too drunk to notice.
The Iron Giant
In an age of technological uncertainty, should something like The Iron Giant drop onto Earth, scientists and engineers would either break it to pieces or otherwise try and figure out what makes it tick. Luckily for this Iron Giant in particular, he’s instead discovered by a young boy named Hogarth Hughes, who finds himself more interested in befriending the steel monstrosity than doing him any harm. Actually, the kid might be the lucky one, as it turns out this giant robot is of the friendly variety, though this in no way stops those government scientists from wanting to track him down.
No one likes the rain, especially not inquisitive young girls like Coraline Jones, who sees the bad weather as impeding her adventurous spirit. As luck would have it, Coraline might be able to go an a journey through the unknown in the confines of her own house, simply by entering a boarded up door and discovering The Other World. However, it doesn’t take long before this alternative reality reveals there’s downsides Coraline isn’t willing to deal with, yet she soon finds it a necessity to overcome that fear as her worlds collide.
As one traverses through this quiz of cartoon characters and comes across a villain or two, it might be fair to stop and remember they aren’t all bad—they’re just drawn that way. Never before was this maxim clearer than in the case of Jessica Rabbit, the alluring Hollywood actress who calls Roger Rabbit her husband. When Roger is framed for murder, Jessica becomes one of Eddie Valiant’s prime suspects, though she soon proves to instead be one of his greatest aides in fingering the true culprit.
Albeit by design, Beavis and Butt-head were just about the two dumbest characters on television when they exploded in popularity, so thank goodness MTV decided to introduce the smart, witty Daria Morgendorffer to the fold. Before long, Daria was so popular in her own right she earned her own series, which saw her family move to the town of Lawndale and meet an entirely new cast of idiots for the icon of disinterest to mock. This time around, she at least had a friend in Jane Lane to help her navigate through the inanity.
If you’ve never heard of Maui, you aren’t alone—neither had Moana when they first crossed paths in her titular film. This came as a shock to the gigantic Samoan, though, considering his status as a demigod meant his name should be known to millions and millions of fans around the world, at least in his mind. Regardless of whether or not they know it, the people of the South Pacific should be thankful of Maui’s many gifts, though he also puts the very idea of goodness at jeopardy when he oversteps his bounds.
From the moment he was designed, the gigantic robot Baymax had one purpose: to provide the best health care possible to every living human being. In this sense, Baymax could also be described as the ideal doctor, although in the real world we know that sometimes the greatest care requires some emotional attachment to go along with it. As a robot, this is the one thing Baymax lacks, an under sight of his creator, Tadashi Hamada. Luckily, Hamada’s younger brother Hiro helps fill that gap by taking him on a grand adventure.
Born into royalty, Scar just couldn’t wait to be King from the day he was born. Sure, he had to outlast his brother Mufasa to do so, but that was something he could deal with for the time being. However, when Mufasa produced an heir in Simba and Scar lost track of the throne, the loss of power drove him to sheer villainy, killing his own brother in a plot to take over the Pride Lands once and for all. Leading an army of hyenas, Simba had little hope of stopping this menace, but his friends Timon and Pumba wouldn’t let the boy give up.
Once the Toy Story series opened the door for inanimate objects coming to life at night time, it was inevitably that video games would one day join the fold. Leave it to Disney to find a creative twist in the medium, taking the perspective of a villain named Wreck-It Ralph who wants nothing more than to be like arch nemesis, Fix-It Felix, Jr. Obviously, he can’t do this in his own game, so Ralph begins venturing into others, meeting plenty of new friends along the way who soon understand why this mean-looking monster is actually a good guy.
Thurgood Orenthal Stubbs
There are few jobs out there more stressful than serving as the super of a low-income housing projects, which explains why most people in the role wind up with particularly crummy personalities. That said, Thurgood Orenthal Stubbs was probably a jerk before he ever set foot in the Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs projects, though the constant demands of his tenants definitely made the behavior worse as The PJ’s progressed. Hopefully, his wife Muriel will be able to calm him down, but before long Smokey the crack head is bound to come along and ruin any good nature Thurgood might develop.
Meet George Jetson: a fairly typical guy so far as Orbit City is concerned, but entirely futuristic to a mere television viewer, and that’s more than 50 years after his titular TV show first hit the airwaves. Granted, not much about the Jetson family’s life is that different from what people experience today, aside from the fact they travel to Skypad Apartments in hover cars and pneumatic tubes. Their robot maid Rosie is also unusual, though based on how well George handles space age technology, we’re not sure how he operates her.
Most zoo animals out there are constantly hooting and hollering, screaming for attention, yet certain creatures are more quaint, simple, and for lack of a better term, modern. Take for example Rocko, a young wallaby not concerned with the hustle and bustle of every day life, completely content in his simple home with his pet Spunky. Should his friends Heffer or Filbert want to come over for a while, that’s all the better, even though their strange antics have a tendency to send his modern life into total chaos.
Life as a lab rat is hardly something to envy, constantly being experimented on, tested, poked and prodded in random ways the subject could never truly understand. If one of those trials results in super intelligence like it did with The Brain, that’s even worse, as he knows exactly what to expect from the mad scientists who control him. As a way to fight back against his predicament, Brain doesn’t just want to rule over his oppressive captors, but indeed he dreams of total world domination. Too bad Pinky is always there to mess up his plans…NARF.
Arguably more meme than cartoon character these days, Internet savvy cartoon fans might recognize Nigel Thornberry without even having seen the TV show about his bizarre life as a documentary filmmaker. Even if they did, Nigel might remain somewhat of a mystery, as the real focus is his daughter Eliza, who was blessed at a young age with the ability to communicate with animals. That’s all the better for Nigel and the rest of the crew, who venture through the world looking for mysterious, undocumented wildlife, creating bizarre humor as they do.
Like, zoinks, Scoob! Scary monsters have been chasing the team at Mystery Incorporated for hours now…isn’t it time to stop, relax, and chow down on some Scooby snacks? Unlike the straight-laced Fred, inquisitive Velma, or glamorous Daphne, all Shaggy seemed to care about was hanging out with his bud, leaving whatever ghouls and goblins were wrecking havoc to the rest of the crew while they recoiled in horror. Given his voice actor, it might be a fair guess that Shaggy was more concerned with what songs were topping the charts than whoever caused that week’s mystery, anyway.
Ms. Valerie Frizzle
Walkerville Elementary is a pretty special school, and not just because it has access to a Magic School Bus that can take students on adventures throughout the entire universe. It also helps that they employ Ms. Valerie Frizzle, known to her students as “The Frizz.” Quirky and unique in her methods, Ms. Frizzle is nonetheless an excellent teacher in her ability to always appreciate and expand the inquisitive nature of everyone in her classroom. Sometimes, this means a little bit of danger, but Frizzle always brings her kids back safe after each fun and informative adventure.
Captain Planet’s goal is protecting the people of Earth from eco-villains like Looten Plunder, Hoggish Greedly, or Doctor Blight, but he and the Planeteers can’t stop the bad guys all by themselves. It’s only through the forces of Gaia that the good Captain and his allies have the ability to save the day, in turn saving humanity as we know it from the dangers of pollution. Of course, as anyone watching Captain Planet knows, it’s hardly up for any of these characters to save the day. As always, the power is yours!
Originally a villain in a video game, Carmen Sandiego has since gone on to be a leading character in countless media outlets, including no less than four TV shows to date. Inspired by Carmen Miranda, it was another Latina actress who voiced her most famous form, in a cartoon where she put her skills as a thief to good use, always providing edutainment about the various artifacts she stole. In the end, though, she’s still a bad guy, which is why fans of the games have so much fun trying to catch her again and again.
Quite frankly, the only logical reason for evil industrialist Leonardo Leonardo to show any interest in the small town of Leonardo, New Jersey is that it happens to share half of his name. There’s certainly nothing in the town worth the billions of dollars he possesses, least of all the small convenience store known as the Quick Stop, let alone the two buffoons who run it. For whatever reason, though, Leonardo decides his new mission in life is to foil the plans of Dante and Randall at every turn, even if it means putting his vast business empire at risk to do so.