Top 10 Female Voice Roles of the 80s

The 1980s was crammed full of great cartoon characters. Not only did the 80s have great cartoon heroes and villains but they also had many iconic female characters. As the 80s expert here at Behind the Voices I was wondering...what were the best female roles to be cast to various voice actors during the decade? After pouring over hundreds of cartoons from the 80s I have come up with The Top Ten. Before we get to the list, I would like to give a couple Honorable Mention Shout-Outs to those who just missed making the list. One show, that had some very powerful female characters in the decade was G.I. Joe. Unfortunately, there was just not enough room for the Baroness, Lady Jaye, or Scarlett in our Top Ten. Nor was there enough room for the two female robots that graced the screens in Go-Bots or Transformers. (Crasher & Arcee) The Teen Angels that shared the screen with Captain Caveman also fell short of making the list. You also won't see a pair of memorable female characters from the Muppet Babies. (Nanny & Piggy) Also missing from the countdown will be Cheetara from the Thundercats and Steelheart from the Silverhawks. Sister and Mother from the Berenstain Bears, Janine from the Real Ghostbusters, Sheila & Diana from Dungeons & Dragons, and Irma from Garfield and Friends round out the Honorable Mentions. Now that all the proper shout-outs have been made...let's move on to the Top Ten Female Voice Roles of the 80s!
By OptimusSolo on Mon Feb 15 2010, 3 Comments, Add Comment


April ONeil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Voiced by: Renae Jacobs

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was undoubtedly one of the ten most popular cartoons of the decade. April O'Neil was one of the main good characters, along with Splinter, to help out the four turtles. It should be said that she was not the only female character on the show. Many will remember her best friend at work, Irma Langinstein. However, it was April who was the iconic red-headed news reporter at Channel 6 that befriended the turtles shortly after discovering their existance. April became such an iconic character that her role would be reprised on every future Turtles incarnation including all three live action Movies to date.

Teela (He-Man)

Voiced by: Linda Gary

One of the first major female roles of the decade, Teela became an icon as the female sidekick to one of the greatest heroes in cartoon history, He-Man! Although, not in the inner circle that knew He-Man's true identity, Teela more than held her own battling such foes as Mer-Man, Beast Man and Skeletor. Two other female roles from the show just missed making our countdown. Evil-Lynn and The Sorceress, also both voiced by Linda Gary, have also become cult favorites.

Brittany (Alvin & The Chipmunks)

Voiced by: Janice Karman

The list could not be complete with at least one of the Chipettes from Alvin & The Chipmunks. Along with Jeanette and Eleanor, Brittany gave Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all they could handle in a series marked by its fantastic voice work and singing. Brittany was the most domineering personality among the Chipettes which explains why she made the list in front of her sisters. The counterpart to Alvin, Brittany is noted for being vain and self-centered.

Gadget (Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers)

Voiced by: Tress MacNeille

Gadget served as the Rescue Ranger's pilot, inventor, and mechanic. In this sense, she did her part in breaking the stereotype that those professions are 'male' work. This fast-talking mouse is in essence the MacGyver of the team. The only difference being that many times her inventions and gadgets do NOT work. Gadget was especially attractive, for a mouse, seeing that both Chip & Dale were often competing for her affection. However, proving that she IS in fact a strong female character, Gadget never shows a preference for either guy.

Penny (Inspector Gadget)

Voiced by: Cree Summer

Penny, is perhaps the smartest female cartoon character of the decade, if not of all time. Penny is Gadget's niece and partner in 'crime'. Perhaps most intriguing about this character is the fact that she travels through the whole series with no one being aware of just how bright she is, other than Brain, the dog of course. Without Penny there to save Gadget as he fumbles and bumbles through every episode, Dr. Claw surely would have succeeded with all of his cruel intentions.

Smurfette (The Smurfs)

Voiced by: Lucille Bliss

How could the only female in the village of tiny blue people, known as the Smurfs, not make our list. Regardless of her cult status and propensity as being a perverted fantasy of children of the 80s, no one can deny that every Smurf on the show would have died to gain the affection of Smurfette. Her iconic blonde hair and long eyelashes as well as her white dress and high heels created a character and a picture that no 80s child could forget. Smurfette was more than just Smurf eye-candy though. The character began as a spy for the series villain, Gargamel, and it wasn't until she was caught and tried in Smurf-Court that, thanks to her pleas, Papa Smurf turned her into a real (Beautiful) Smurf.

Strawberry Shortcake

Voiced by: Russi Taylor

There is one major difference between all of the characters mentioned up to this point and our Top 4...our top four were not just female characters, they were the stars of their very own shows! In Strawberry Shortcake's case she was the star of a number of television specials that popped up at various times throughout the decade. Supposedly, about six years old, Strawberry Shortcake was known for being kind, caring, and always willing to help any friend in need.

Rainbow Brite

Voiced by: Bettina Nash/Bush

While, Strawberry Shortcake was the star of her own TV Specials, our Top Three were all stars of the very own Series. Starting off our Top 3 is the hero Rainbow Brite, who atop her White Horse, 'Starlite' is responsible for bringing color back to the colorless world. She does so by rescuing the seven color kids and avoiding the traps set by the series villains, Murky & Lurky. No one can deny Rainbow Brite's status as an icon. She has been referenced in both Robot Chicken and Family Guy, which are both known as taking the most iconic 80s characters and shows to enhance their appeal. The only thing that keeps Rainbow Brite from making it a little bit higher is her youth and lack of sheer power/attitude.


Voiced by: Melendy Britt

It was a very tough call to decide the order of the Top 2 on our list. Both characters carried their very own series and became legendary characters of the 80s, whether male or female. She-Ra was a character developed strictly for the purpose of being the female version of He-Man. Although not as successful as her male counterpart it can safely be said that She-Ra appealed to both male and female audiences. Princess Adora, as she is known when not She-Ra, is symbolic for her powerful status as a female. Every girl wanted to be her, and every guy wanted to date her. Unfortunately, for all the other voice actors at the time, only Melendy Britt truly got to 'be' her.


Voiced by: Britta Phillips

Jem! not only captured the minds and hearts of the female audience in the 80s, but she still is today! Jem, more than any other female character of the decade was a character that not only did girls want to be, but was actually a girl that they could relate to. Jem was contantly dealing with struggles that are mirrored in the lives of teenagers all over the world. Jerrica Benton, the real identity of Jem often found herself at odds with the Misfitts, led by Pizzazz, Phyllis Gabor. However, what truly sets Jem apart from everyone else is the fact that she was a Rock Star. Although Britta Phillips provided her voice work it should be noted that Samantha Newark provided her singing voice. (By the way, both voice artists were equally as attractive as Jem was!!). Fans everywhere have been dying to see a new animated series, the re-birth of the Jem Dolls and even a live-action movie. Twenty-five years after her initial introduction it is safe to say that Jem is STILL Truly Outrageous!!

Well, there you have it, the Top 10 Female Voice Roles of the 80s. In the list you had a little bit of everything represented, females proving they could do 'male' work, intelligence, vanity, kindness, caring, resourcefullness, power, grace, and beauty. So, what do you all think? Where did I get it right and where did I go so awfully wrong? Did I forget a major Female Character of the decade, or at least your favorite? Can you truly change the self proclaimed, 80s Expert's mind?

This was The, er, I mean My Top Ten...What's yours?


Add a Comment

OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 2:11 AM on Sun Nov 7 2010
Um, you may have misunderstood - this list is just for a single character - there is another top ten list for the actual voice actors...
Foxwolf (Admin)
said at 12:16 AM on Tue Feb 16 2010
For me, it's a toss up between Gadget and Penny, both the smartest characters in their respective shows, with great distinct voices and acting.
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Which do you think should be in the #1 spot?
Rainbow Brite
Strawberry Shortcake
Smurfette (The Smurfs)
Penny (Inspector Gadget)
Gadget (Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers)
Brittany (Alvin & The Chipmunks)
Teela (He-Man)
April ONeil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
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