Top 10 Male Voice Actors: 1980s

Continuing our look at the best voice actors throughout the decades we turn our attention to the Top Ten Male Voice Actors of the 1980s! Before commenting please take a second to review the description written on both of the Top-Ten Pre-1980s lists to see the ground rules on how the list was compiled. Also, remember that you can not only leave comments below the list but you can also visit our forums where you can be a part of an ongoing discussion about this or any of our other Top Ten topics. As we go further through time one thing that has happened is that it has become much harder to distinguish which decade certain voice actors should go with. The 80s is just the beginning of this trend as some actors you may expect to have seen here you will have to wait to see until the Top Ten 90s lists are featured. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it was much easier to reach a concensus on the earlier lists but as we go through the 80s and get closer to present times that more people are going to have issues with these Top Ten Lists. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions and we are eager to hear them but that does not take away from the fact that I truly tried to be as unbiased as I could be when creating this list.

I poured over credits and lists for countless hours and probably came up with about 20 different Top Tens before I found one that I was comfortable putting out there. Remember, this is not about who voiced one great character, or your favorite character. It is also not about who was on your favorite show. This is about who, over the course of the entire decade, just compiled a resume that no one else could compete with. For each list we add a few Honorable Mentions for people we feel deserve to be mentioned in the discussion either because they just missed making the list themselves, or because they voiced an iconic character during their time period. This list may have the most honorable mentions that I have ever given out, but what did you expect from the best decade of cartoons ever.

So, for the Male Voice Actors of the 1980s here are your Honorable Mentions

Lou Scheimer
: Lou 'Filimation' Scheimer was not only responsible for bringing us a ton of good cartoons during the 80s as a behind the scenes man, but he also lent his voice talents to many of these shows. In three shows alone (Bravestarr, She-Ra & He-Man) he voiced almost 30 different characters.

Scott Menville
If the show you were casting called for a prototypical teen/pre-teen boy or a younger version of an established adult male character then Scott Menville was your man. He played the main boy in My Little Pony, Jonny Quest and Rainbow Brite as well as young versions of Fred Flintstone and Robin from Teen Titans. Other notable roles for him included Red Herring from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Ma-Ti from Captain Planet, and Bingo Beaver from the Get Along Gang.

Lorenzo Music
Three roles is all that needs to be said for this man; Peter Venkman, Tummi Gummi & Garfield. Enough Said.

Ross Bagdasarian Jr.
The man who revitalized the Alvin & Chipmunk franchise at least deserves a mention here.

Jack Angel.
Jack Angel is an actor that almost every time I made a list, showed up in my top-ten. However, at the last minute he lost his spot so he definitely deserves an Honorable Mention. This veteran voice actor has voiced such roles as, Dr. Zachary from Pole Position, King Zarkon from Voltron, Wetsuit from G.I. Joe, Hawkman, Flash, and Samurai from Superfriends and Ultra Magnus, Cyclonus and a host of others from Transformers.

Jeff Bergman
Bergman is known as one of the best imitators of some of the voice acting legends that appeared in one of our earlier lists. Characters he has voiced include the likes of; Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, George Jetson, Fred Flintstone and many more.

Alan Oppenheimer
Like Angel, Oppenheimer spent many months in my top-ten only to lose out at the end. Oppenheimer spent most of his voice acting career appearing in Lou Scheimer's Filmation series. He also had a knack for playing the bad guy. He played the main villain, The Overlord in Blackstar, Mindok the Mind Menace from Thundarr the Barbarian and of course his most famous villain role, Skeletor from He-Man. Not everyone knows this but he also provided the voice of Falcor from the Neverending Story film. He appeared in many other cartoons as well but we need to move on to the meat and potatoes of this whole thing... So, now the

Top 10 Male Voice Actors: 1980s
By OptimusSolo on Mon Jul 19 2010, 20 Comments, Add Comment


Chris Latta

Iconic Role: Starscream/Cobra Commander

Making his voice acting debut in 1981 and giving us his final voice acting role just a decade later, one can only imagine what kind of impact Chris Latta would have had in future decades had he not died before the age of 45. Chris Latta is one of the rare voice actors who has earned a spot on one of these Top-Ten lists for basically two iconic roles. Most voice actors need an impressive resume that shows off their range and their sheer number of roles that they have played. Christopher Latta Collins, needs just two roles, Cobra Commander & Starscream. The job he did with these two roles made him not only one of the most memorable voices to a child of the 80s but also made him one of the hardest for his peers to imitate. Latta DID voice other roles during his brief decade in the business, including; Darkstorm from the Visionaries, D'Compose from Inhumanoids, Gung-Ho from G.I. Joe, and Wheeljack from Transformers.

This also will start a theme that will follow throughout this Top-Ten List of cool credits that these men have added to their resumes. For our first one, although it was not a voice acting role, Chris Latta appeared in a live-action role in both Star Trek TNG and Deep Space Nine!

Dan Gilvezan

Iconic Role: Spiderman

Dan Gilvezan definitely has had a knack over the course of his career, and especially in the 80s, for landing lead roles. Like Latta, Gilvezan made his voice aciting debut, fittingly for this list, in 1981. And as if it was a sign of things to come, it was the lead role of Peter Parker, also known as, Spider-Man, in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Two years after that show ended, Gilvezan landed his second lead role as the character of Cooler from the Pound Puppies. This would be a role that would follow him off and on througout the eighties and who knows, maybe he will get to reprise the role on the new Pound Puppies cartoon coming in the fall of 2010.

In 1986, Gilvezan would land yet another lead-heroic role as Prince Dargon from the Sectaurs. A year after that he would play Commander Dirk Courage from Spiral Zone and two years after that he was Commander Victor Vector on the Ring Raiders. I know what you are thinking right about now, how could I go this whole write-up without mentioning a certain diminuitive Transformers of course, Gilvezan was also the classic gold bug, Bumblebee.

Pat Fraley

Iconic Role: Bravestarr

(As a side note before we begin with this one I would like it to be known that Pat Fraley did not just make the list because he recently visited the site and had some nice things to say on one of his compares)

What impresses me most with Pat Fraley is the tremendous range of characters he has voiced over the years. We see so often voice actors getting cast in basically the same type of role over and over again (type-cast). It is very refreshing to see someone get the chance to truly show off their range, like we have in this case.

Although getting his start in voice acting as far back as 1962, it wasn't until the 80s that Fraley's voice-acting career truly took off. After appearing in smaller roles on shows like, The Jetsons, Smurfs, G.I. Joe and a handful of Scooby-Doo projects, Fraley landed his first major role in 1982 as Major Ned Talbot in The Incredible Hulk. Two years later he would voice the character Slick the Turtle on the Littles which was immediately followed by his role as Hillbilly Jim on Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling Show.

From there, Fraley's career took off so fast that it would make it ironic that one of his first major roles was as a turtle. For the rest of the decade he would play the hero, the villain, monsters, animals, and everything in between. The most notable of those would be Bravestarr from the show of the same name, Lurky from Rainbow Brite, Denver the Last Dinosaur, and Krang & Baxter Stockman from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the last few decades Fraley has done a ton of movie and video game work including voicing characters in Ant Bully, Chicken Little, Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. just to name a few. For Mr. Fraley's cool credit, he was the President in the movie I Am Legend.

Greg Burson

Iconic Role: Yogi Bear

One could make the argument that both Greg Burson and the voice-actor who comes in at number six on our countdown would be better placed in a list that focussed on the 90s rather than the 80s. I might even agree with that to some point, however, for some reason, I just feel like they fit in on this list better. It should be no surprise that Greg Burson shows up on our list here, given that he was trained by arguably the best voice actor of all time, Daws Butler. The connection to Butler is life long for Burson as he has taken over many of the legends voice roles after his unfortunate passing.

The voice Burson has done the most work with over his career is of course, the iconic, Yogi Bear. However, he has also voiced the following ionic characters; Elmer Fudd, Snagglepuss, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe le Pew, and Baba Looey. Obviously, the man knows his voices!! That being said I would like to mention a couple of my other Burson favorites. He has portrayed Boss Nass and a handful of other characters on a variety of Star Wars video games and he appeared in Jurrasic Park as the animated graphic, Mr. DNA!

Joe Alaskey

Iconic Role: Bugs Bunny

If our list contains an entry for Greg Burson than it would of course also need to contain an entry for this man, Joe Alaskey. Think of it this way, Greg Burson is to Daws Butler as Joe Alaskey is to Mel Blanc. Now granted, he didn't train with Blanc like Burson did with Butler BUT he did take over most of Blanc's roles after his passing. Not to sound too repetitive here but among his classic roles are; Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Marvin the Martian, Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny, Cecil the Turtle, Peter Potamus, and Pepe le Pew. In fact his role in Duck Dodgers netted him a Daytime Emmy and an Annie Nomination.

Perhaps my faavorite Joe Alaskey role came in 1990 when he took the role of Plucky Duck on the show Tiny Toons Adventures. Another of his famous roles that he has played over and over again is as Grandpa Lou Pickles on a ton of different Rugrats projects. And of course just like Greg Burson having a cool Jurassic Park credit, Alaskey is not to be outdone. He provided the voice of Richard Nixon on the iconic movie, Forrest Gump!

Michael Bell

Iconic Role: Duke

Starting off the second half of our list is none other than the voice acting guru, Michael Bell. Unlike many of the men who have come before him on this list, Bell can trace his roles all the way back to the 1950s!! However, most of his first two decades of work came via live-action roles. It really wasn't until the 70s that Michael Bell really found his niche. Thanks to a few early roles on shows like, The Barkleys, Speed Buggy, The CB Bears and The Houndcats, Bell would come to dominate the voice acting industry for decades to come.

His first major voice acting roles came through a variety of different Superfriends shows. It was on these programs that he got to play Zan, Gleek, The Riddler, and of course, Lex Luthor. He would spend the early part of the eighties doing work for shows like, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Space Stars, Thundarr the Barbarian and the Smurfs. Then a role would come along in 1983 that would change everything, the role of Duke on G.I. Joe. It is this role, as one of the biggest heroes of the decade, that would cement his name in the industy.

He would go on to voice many other characters over the years though, including, Dr. Bruce Banner form The Incredible Hulk, Allstar Seaworthy the main protagonist on The Snorks, Lance and Sven from the cult-classic, Voltron, John Thunder from the Centurions, Prowl and many others from, Transformers, and Drew Pickles on a variety of Rugrats projects. I don't want it to seem like he didnt do other things as well, but if I started listing the shows he provided minor roles or additional voices for, this page would be two times the size it already is. In recent years he has done a ton of work in video games as well as spending countless hours training new generations of voice acting talent. The voice acting world should be grateful that Michael Bell was and is a part of it. Finally, to continue are cool credit theme, although it was not a voice acting role, he, like Chris Latta has appeared in a live-action role in both Star Trek TNG and Deep Space Nine!

Peter Cullen

Iconic Role: Optimus Prime

Peter Cullen, like Pat Fraley began voice acting in 1962 by providing additional voices for the hit show, The Jetsons. He is easily most recognizeable for his 1980s work as the heroic, Optimus Prime. Many people may not realize, however, that Peter Cullen has voiced many, many other classic characters throughout his career.

Just going through the decade year-by-year is an incredible timeline of voices for Mr. Cullen. He provided the original Mario voice on Saturday Supercade in 1982, the classic Dungeons and Dragons villain, Venger in 1983, a pair of Voltron characters, King Alfor and Corran in 1984, Murky Dismal in Rainbow Brite in 1985, Optimus and Ironhide among others of course in the 1986 Transformers Movie, Cindarr of Visionaries fame in 1987, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and Gritty from the Gummi Bears in 1988, and finally Monterey Jack from Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers in 1989.

Since the eighties Cullen has continued to impress us but mostly has become known as the ever present voice of both Eeyore and Optimus Prime. His latest Optimus Prime role will come this fall when he once again dons the role for the new show, Transformers: Prime. Oh, and to keep on with our cool credits among the actors on this list, how about providing the voice of K.A.R.R. on the classic and remade versions of Knight Rider!

Frank Oz

Iconic Role: Yoda

In Frank Oz we have another example of a man that could have easily made our list for one voice and one voice alone. But, like most of the actors on our list, Mr. Oz has given us much more than just one legendary voice. Jim Henson's right had man for his entire career, Frank Oz had his first voice role in 1963 with a role he would later bring along with him to the Muppets, Rowlf the Dog. After that, Oz worked for parts of five decades as a writer, director, producer, and of coure as a voice actor.

The role he is most famous for of course is the iconic Star Wars character, Yoda. Some may not realize that he was also the voice of many other classic characters including; The Swedish Chef, Animal, Grover, Cookie Monster, Fozzie Bear, Bert from Sesame Street, Sam the Eagle, and even, yes this was him, Miss Piggy. And if all of that wasn't enough, the man has either won or been nominated for seven different daytime and regular Emmy Awards, among many other honors he has received over the years. Oh, and you don't need an extra cool credit like we have been pointing out with the others, when you are the voice of Yoda!

Neil Ross

Iconic Role: O.G. Readmore

I understand that my choice for Number 2 on this list may come as a surprise to many of you who at first glance would probably say any of the 3-5 Men should be in this spot. But let's take a closer look at my choice for Number 2. LIke his Transformers co-star, Dan Gilvezan, Ross has had a knack over the years for landing major 'good-guy' roles. The first of these such roles came in the legenday G.I. Joe series where he voiced none other than Shipwreck (as well as Dusty). Next he would go onto voice Keith and Pidge from Voltron, Herc Armstrong from Inhumanoids, The Hero, Ace McCloud from the Centurions, and John Rambo from...Rambo of course. Finally he has provided the voice of Springer from Transformers, and Leoric from Visionaries.

This is not where the story ends for Neil Ross though as he has equally proven his ability to voice the bad guys. His most noteable bad-guy voices have been; The Green Goblin, Buzzer from G.I. Joe, Hook and Bonecrusher from Transformers, Rotten Roland from Galaxy High School, The Overlord from Spiral Zone, Fin Fang Foom from Iron Man, Dr. Doom from the Fantastic Four, and Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat.

If I haven't convinced you yet than let me add the fact that not only has he become famous for his 'good' and 'evil' voices but he also is very well known for his ability to sound like a sports announcer. He provided the voice of Mean Gene in Hulk Hogans Rock n Wrestling, Hector Ramirez, the reporter that showed up in both Transformers and G.I. Joe and his announcing skills even led to Mr. Ross's cool credits; The Announcer from Gremlins 2, the Radio Announcer from Dick Tracy, and the Biff Tannen Museum Narrator from Back to the Future Part II.

Frank Welker

Iconic Role: Megatron

While you may be able to argue with various other spots on this Top Ten List, it is safe to say that NO ONE can argue with who comes in at Number 1. Frank Welker may even be some people's pick for the greatest voice actor of all-time. (But that is a whole nother list) It would be very foolish of me to try and list here all of the many classic roles that Frank Welker has played over his 40+ years in the business.

However, I will try to list some of my favorites; Megatron, Soundwave, Galvatron and MANY more from Transformers, Dr. Claw and Brain from Inspector Gadget, Darkseid from the Superfriends, Raffish Ralph from the Berenstain Bears, Scooter from the Challenge of the Go-Bots, Sheldon, Booker, & Bo from the Garfield and Friends, Garfield from the Garfield Show, Kermit from the Muppet Babies, and finally Ray Stantz and Slimer from Ghostbusters. He also has the honor of basically being the only person ever to voice the adult version of Freddy Jones from Scooby-Doo, something that cannot be said about any of the other characters from that mega-franchise.

Frank Welker is not only great at doing voices but also a complete genius when it comes to sound effects and animal noises. This talent has landed him a role in just about every Disney movie you could think of from Oliver & Company, to Beauty and the Beast to Tarzan. His work in over 90 films has also made him number one on the "All Time Top 100 Stars at the Box office" list. The revenue of films he has participated in have generated close to five billion dollars.

And from all accounts he is a great man to work with. His background as a stand-up comedian serves well for playing many practical jokes on both fellow voice actors and voice directors alike. As for his cool credits, although there are many it is only fitting that I give you at least two for Frank Welker. He provided the vocal effects for the Gopher in Caddyshack and the screaming voice of Spock in, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

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 male voice actor of the era in question, or at least your favorite? Can you truly change the self proclaimed, Expert's mind?

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


Add a Comment

said at 9:54 AM on Thu Apr 23 2015
Personally I would've voted Alan Oppenheimer if he was on here, so I'll vote Other
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 1:23 AM on Mon May 18 2015
@skeletonking1234 You would vote Oppenheimer over Welker...?
said at 10:52 AM on Sun May 24 2015
@OptimusSolo Yes Frank is definitely one of my absolute favorites, but Alan is in my top 5 favorite voice actors
said at 10:12 PM on Wed Jan 2 2013
My vote goes to Rocky Reilly as the Voice of Linus
voice of Chevron Tonka Trucks, Calif Milk Advisory Board Summer Camp commercial
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 8:15 AM on Sun Oct 26 2014
@beamerbarb You really think his work stands up against these guys?
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 5:10 AM on Fri Jan 21 2011
Wow, I must have been looking at my Henson notes when writing that one cause I definitely didn't credit Oz for those on all the various Muppet pages lol. Thanks for catching that!!
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 12:44 PM on Thu Aug 12 2010
Thanks for the kind comments Meaghan! Have you checked out my other Top Ten Lists?
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 2:11 AM on Tue Aug 3 2010
So apparently there is a Chris Latta fan out there trying to rig the poll??
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 5:29 PM on Sat Jul 24 2010
You must not have read closely enough my friend... :)

"The 80s is just the beginning of this trend as some actors you may expect to have seen here you will have to wait to see until the Top Ten 90s lists are featured."
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 11:57 AM on Tue Jul 20 2010
Wow, Thank you very much Steve or should I call you Megatron! :)
Foxwolf (Admin)
said at 2:04 AM on Tue Jul 20 2010
Mr. Welker definitely blitzes the competition. His range gives him the opportunity for so many different roles.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 8:15 PM on Mon Jul 19 2010
Always good to hear that!! Thanks NCZ :)
NCZ (Admin)
said at 7:12 PM on Mon Jul 19 2010
Man, I just can't argue with this list. Jolly great show!
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 6:52 PM on Mon Jul 19 2010
Perhaps the better question for this list is, Who do you think should be in that Number 2 spot?
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Frank Welker
Neil Ross
Peter Cullen
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Frank Oz
Pat Fraley
Dan Gilvezan
Greg Burson
Chris Latta
Joe Alaskey
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