10 Voice Actors Who Are Sorely Missed: Orson Wells, Phil Hartman & More
I'm reasonably excited about the new player vs. player game set in Nosgoth, the realm made famous in the Legacy of Kain video games. Nosgoth is one of my favorite worlds of all time, full of a dark, gothic European imagery and deep mythology that set it apart from almost anything like it.
Yet, for me there is also a sadness because Legacy of Kain had what I still consider to be the greatest video game scripts and voice acting of all time. The Shakespearean magnitude of the struggle between Kain and the role of sacrificial lamb fate had decided that he was to play was epic in the little-used true definition of the word.
None of that will be seen in Nosgoth unfortunately, and that's maybe not such a bad thing since recreating that magic is not only hard, it's physically impossible. Today we salute the voice actors that have left us, never to be heard again.
Tony Jay: Jay's deep, sinister voice made him a terrific antagonist in both the Kain games and Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame Even when he was playing the much more benign Spiderus on Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends he just used menace, but there was always a sense of humor in there as well. He died from complications arising from lung surgery in 2006.
Giant Bomb Tony Jay
Orson Wells: I know the world remembers Orson Wells as the creator of the greatest movie ever made, Citizen Kane, as well as the fact that he just walked around being Orson Wells all the time, which is certainly a feat. To me, though, Wells was the voice of my childhood. It was he that narrated and starred as Nag in Rikki Tikki Tavi and took on the combined might of the Autobots and the Decepticons as Unicron in Transformers: The Movie, films I still watch to this day. He died of a heart attack in 1985 hours after appearing on The Merv Griffin Show.
Mel Blanc: Speaking of voices from your childhood, can anyone ever really compare with Mel Blanc? His list of classic characters that came from his golden throat is longer than can honestly be believed. Bug Bunny, Sylvester, Barney Rubble, Captain Caveman, Heathcliff, about six different roles in The Phantom Tollbooth alone, Foghorrn Leghorn, Secret Squirell... these were all the same amazing man. No other figure in voice acting has his resume, and it was a terrible blow to the cartoon industry when he passed from coronary artery disease in 1989.
Mary Kay Bergman: Though nowhere near as prolific as Blanc, Bergman was one of the vocal backbones of South Park. Her knack for celebrity impersonation led her to a regular gig at Disney performing as Snow White, but once South Park got off the ground Bergman's abilities were tested to the limit by becoming virtually the entire female cast of the show. She also portrayed famous characters like Daphne Blake, and provided the yodeling for Joan Cusack in Toy Story 2. She suffered from severe bipolar disorder, and tragically committed suicide in 1999. So prolific was Bergman that Matt Stone and Trey Parker were forced to simply write episodes without any females in them because of the difficulty in replacing her.
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