While we put a lot of focus on on-screen actors, there’s a lot of great acting coming from people who never show their faces. They’re voice actors and they need to be recognized. So, I wanted to do a few actors on five of the best voice actors in recent years. This list is in no particular order and believe me, there’s so many fantastic examples and great voice acting that could never fit on a simple Top Five list. This is my personal list, so I obviously want to hear what your opinion is on voice acting and who you think delivers the best performance.
I have to start with the man who really feels the most iconic to me. We always debate who is the best Joker in the live-action sense, but I don’t think anyone could ever hold a candle to Mark Hamill. Hamill may be Luke Skywalker for a lot of people, but for me, he’s the Joker. While I think Alan Tudyk does a great job on the Harley Quinn animated show and could possibly be our Joker for a long time to come, nothing compares to what Hamill has done. I remember being a kid, watching Batman: The Animated Series and just being completely enamored with the Joker, due to Hamill. No Joker can replicate that laugh.
We cannot talk about Hamill as the Joker without talking about Kevin Conroy. I think all of us comic book fans are still mourning the death of Conroy, who unfortunately passed away in November 2022 due to cancer. Just as Hamill was our Joker, Conroy was our Batman. It’s hard, for me; for any live-action Batman to truly live up to Conroy. His voice and presence completely made the character in the Animated versions of the Caped Crusaders. With Conroy gone, it feels like our Batman is gone. And we just have to thank this wonderful man for making so many kids fans of Batman.
I think a huge reason why I’m regarding these past three actors so highly is due to them being a part of my childhood. The Transformers franchise have had a lot of ups and downs with the live-action version, but the one aspect of all Transformers projects that leave fans returning is the fact that Peter Cullen voices Optimus Prime. I don’t feel like people really appreciate Cullen’s longevity as the leader of the Autobots, because maybe talking robots isn’t for everyone. Regardless, Cullen has voiced Optimus Prime since 1984 and it’s hard to hear anyone else as the character other than him.
Whether you enjoy Family Guy or not, it’s hard to argue against Seth McFarlane’s legacy as the character Peter Griffin. Say a Peter Griffin line to anyone and someone will recognize what you’re doing. I haven’t watched Family Guy in some time, but the fact that McFarlane has such a distinct voice as Peter Griffin feels like it demands respect from me.
James Earl Jones
While James Earl Jones has had plenty of notable on-screen roles, it’s his role as Darth Vader that has really stood out. James Earl Jones does not play the Star Wars villain in-person, rather he voices the iconic Sith Lord. While this is not an animated role (though he did voice Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels from 2014-2016), Jones has voiced the character since the 1970s. I truly do not believe that Darth Vader would have been as popular as he is if it weren’t for James Earl Jones’ powerful voice.
Who would make up your Top 5 Voice Actors?
A girl with too many fandoms to count.