Lion King Lion King


Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Zazu with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Lion King

Zazu is a little bird whom is one of the secondary protagonists of the Lion King franchise. Zazu is initially known as King Mufasa's Majordomo as one of his jobs is to give the King of Pride Rock the Morning Report on Pride Rock. While Zazu's voice is depicted as a classic example of "British Stuffiness" but he is not a bad little bird whom is genuinely loyal to the likes of Mufasa and later Simba, he may come off as cowardly but to be fair there isn't much he can do against the evil Lions and Hyenas in the franchise. While Zazu has been lets just say been bothered by how reckless young Simba can be he did predict about how one day Simba and Nala will grow up to be married though.
Created by Pokejedservo on Jul 4 2011
The Lion King (1994)
ZazuRowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
The Lion King (1994)
ZazuJeff Bennett
Jeff Bennett
Timon & Pumbaa (1995)
ZazuMichael J. Gough
Michael J. Gough
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998)
ZazuEdward Hibbert
Edward Hibbert


Today on the Lion King VC section we have a little something for this little majordomo... ZAZU! We shall begin with the original Lion King movie in which he was voiced by Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson. Apparently the fact that Rowan voiced Zazu has surprised people in the past (but then again plenty of US viewers mainly know Rowan as "Mr. Bean" so in other words they are not quite use to hearing him actually talk). Anyways Rowan played up Zazu's stuffiness well enough but has done a good job in trying to make Zazu likable as well (and even occasionally sympathetic). So in other words Rowan's work as Zazu is another example of the quality voice work from the original Lion King.

Now for the TV series Timon and Pumbaa in which Zazu made occasional appearances (and had an episode to star in) he was voiced by Michael Gough. While Michael's Zazu voice does sound a bit different from Rowan's Zazu voice but it still does genuinely work for the role nevertheless.  Much like his celebrity counterpart did Michael Gough also played up Zazu's stuffiness well but still made him likable (and also a bit more sympathetic but to be fair that could also be due to the episode he was starring in). Anyways Michael Gough's performance as Zazu is commendable and a pretty good example of the "Stand-in" performances in Disney Productions.

Last is the Lion King II Simba's Pride in which Edward Hibbert gets to take over the role here. While Zazu has a smaller role in this movie Edward's performance as Zazu is a slight mixed bag. While Edward's voice for the role is not bad as it does have a suitably British accent however Edward's performance made Zazu seem a bit more arrogant than just plain stuffy. Granted I wouldn't necessarily call Edward's performance as Zazu to be bad per say but it was a bit overdone in certain ways. Overall I clearly liked Rowan and Michael the most here with Edward at an okay second. 

(Update: Apparently Disney added in a new song called "Morning Report" for one of their re-releases of the film and Jeff Bennett is the one whom sings the song. Jeff's singing was good but I especially like on how he sounded very much like Rowan Atkinson. While Jeff only voiced Zazu for this song so far he has shown that he has excellent potential to do a regular speaking performance as Zazu rather well. I say that Jeff's work as Zazu definitely ties with Michael Gough as my 2nd place choice for the role.)



Add a Comment

said at 6:18 AM on Mon Feb 12 2018
Rowan is easily the winner. He made character every bit of what he is. Autovolt remarked on the surprise that Zazu and Mr. Bean are played by the same guy. Well, I remember when my sister felt the same way. We had seen "Bean" once a long time ago, and somehow she had forgotten about Bean ever speaking and had thought Rowan Atkinson was genuinely mute.

Jeff Bennett does a very credible job providing Zazu's singing voice. As for the other two, at first I thought Edward was the better, but after comparing them a little more, I've changed my mind. I think Michael slightly edges him out.
said at 10:37 AM on Wed Sep 6 2017
Rowan Atkinson is too classic in this role for me. He was a perfect choice for Zazu, giving him a snobby and comedic tone with a distraught personality. He's just Zazu plain and simple.

I think Jeff Bennett and Edward Hibbert are tied for my favourite successor. Jeff sounds more close to Rowan but the fact that he has to sing that unnecessary song added to the film on the DVD doesn't do him justice.

Edward sounds like he's doing his own thing and it works really well. Granted he didn't get much dialogue but for what its worth it was a solid performance.

Michael J. Gough is definitely the weakest. He's too low pitched and he gets a little out of character especially at the beginning of the clip ("Jolly good"? I know the character's English but since when did Zazu speak like that in the film?).
said at 7:38 PM on Tue Jul 25 2017
1. Rowan Atkinson
2. Jeff Bennett
3. Edward Hibbert
4. Michael J. Gough
said at 3:29 PM on Sat Oct 29 2016
1. Rowan Atkinson:

Easily has one of the funniest and memorable performances in the Lion King franchise, sounding pretty smug, clever, and intelligent, also with a sarcastic wit.

2. Jeff Bennett:

The closest of the group to replicating Rowan Atkinson's performance, but can be a bit more nasally than the former sometimes.

3. Edward Hibbert:

He puts too much emphasis on certain words at times in his performance, despite his voice being pretty fitting for Zazu.

4. Michael J. Gough:

He's too low pitched, and can get a bit too nasally as well as squeaky at times.
said at 9:16 AM on Tue Jul 12 2016
 3 Shout Outs!
1. Rowan Atkinson: Atkinson has one of the funniest performances in the movie, He fits Zazu's no nonsense and uptight personality.
2. Jeff Glenn Bennett: It is amazing how remarkably similar he sounds to Atkinson. Plus his Zazu singing voice is very energetic.
3. Edward Hibbert: Hibbert's a good stand-in but he lacks the enthusiasm that Atkinson and Bennett have.
4. Michael J. Gough: Gough doesn't really try to sound like Atkinson at all. Plus he puts way too much emphasis on certain words/phrases.
said at 9:45 PM on Sat Apr 2 2016
 1 Shout Out!
After Lion Guard's clip I'm going to flip Jeff and Edward but Rowan is still king of the character and Michael J was too bored sounding
said at 11:51 AM on Sun Feb 7 2016
 2 Shout Outs!
Rowan Atkinson is hilarious as the often beleaguered and uptight Zazu. The performance he gives is just excellent, full of energy and the songs he was doing in his clip I felt like he was having fun performing them. It sometimes blows my mind that it was Mr. Bean voicing Zazu since Mr. Bean is a very unintelligible character, a character whose actions speak far louder than words. He's a comedic genius and I feel it shows in his performances and Zazu is no exception.

Jeff Bennett I'm very impressed with, he does a really spot on impression of Rowan and his signing voice too is really good. He also brings a lot of the energy that Rowan had in to the role for his take on Zazu which is nice.

Edward Hibbert is a serviceable replacement but the lack of material I think holds him back.

Michael J. Gough I think tried way too hard personally and not at all. I feel he doesn't really try to emulate Rowan Atkinson in anyway which would be fine if he didn't come off as annoying and unlikable at times. I feel he comes off as way too stereotypically British. However I do think its kind of funny he's talking about Gopher considering he's his voice in Winnie The Pooh.

In the end Rowan Atkinson originated the role and definitely gave the most enjoyable performance of the bunch and I'm going with him. Jeff Bennett's take on Zazu is also a great commendable effort.
said at 3:05 AM on Thu Jul 9 2015
 1 Shout Out!
1. Rowan Atkinson
2. Edward Hibbert
3. Jeff Bennett
4. Michael J. Gough
said at 2:41 PM on Wed Jan 7 2015
Gough sounds like he is trying too hard to do a British accent.
said at 9:28 AM on Thu Oct 30 2014
That's weird, I look at the Zazu voice compare and whoops! His German voice dies.
said at 3:05 AM on Fri Jun 27 2014
 1 Shout Out!
when was there a tv series ?????????
said at 10:10 PM on Sat Aug 30 2014
@lillypills Back when Disney Afternoon was on it's out.
said at 6:16 AM on Mon Jun 16 2014
1 Rowan
2 Jeff
3 Edward
4 Michael
said at 6:36 PM on Mon Apr 7 2014
Rowan Atkinson wins easily,through Jeff Bennet does a suprisingly good impression,and speaking of with why didnt they use him for the series insted of Michael Gough who sounds like hes doing a parody of Zazu,insted of the real Zazu.Edward Hibbert is okay.
said at 5:01 AM on Tue Nov 12 2013
 1 Shout Out!
Rowan Atkinson, definitely.

I also like Eberhard PrĂ¼ter as a non-English role, even though it's basically most of the roles he plays.
said at 1:54 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 1 Shout Out!
Rowan Atkinson was hilarious in this role. While he's the best, Jeff Bennett does a fantastic impression, as usual.

Edward Hibbert doesn't really sound like Zazu: he just sounds British and that's it. And Michael...I can't agree with the editor opinion's praise of him. This performance was just ANNOYING.
said at 4:41 PM on Wed Jul 17 2013
Jeff was kinda singing so he doesn't count.

Rowan because he is hilarious though Edward wasn't too bad.

Michael just doesn't fit.
said at 9:47 PM on Sat Apr 2 2016
@Ross123 It's three years since then but now Jeff finally spoke! Although I kinda agree with what you said in the end
said at 11:01 AM on Thu Jun 6 2013
RA: First, classical voice.
MG: Not suit but acceptable replacement
EH: Really?
JB: I like this guys and he is making great suit for Rowan
I cant decide between Rowan and Jeff.
said at 1:25 PM on Wed Apr 10 2013
 1 Shout Out!
said at 2:21 PM on Mon Jul 30 2012
I'm juest so used to hearing Michael Gough as Zazu. No, not the late actor who played Alfred in the Batman films.
said at 6:11 PM on Fri Jul 6 2012
1. Rowan Atkinson - He can definitely bring out his personality. (Although, he does sound a lot like the main character from the Blackadder series)
2. Jeff Bennet - To me, sounds similar to Rowan.
3. Micheal Gough II - Good attempt, but it really doesn't suit the character that much.
4. Edward Hibbert - Doesn't suit him at all, sounds too posh, and spiteful.
said at 11:51 AM on Fri Jun 1 2012
I'm agreeing with MatthewC17 on this one.
Blue Paratroopa
said at 1:09 PM on Mon May 28 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Rowan was awesome, but Bennett is a close second! He does a mean impression!
said at 4:14 PM on Fri Mar 30 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Rowan was pretty much perfect for the job, but Jeff's impression was quite unbelievable!
said at 5:11 PM on Thu Sep 1 2011
 1 Shout Out!
1. Rowan Atkinson - He gives Zazu his personality
2. Jeff Bennett - His performance was in leiu of Atkinson
3. Edward Hibbert - His take on Zazu is not bad but he's missing something
4. Michael Gough II - What is he trying to do he's not mimicking Rowan at all
said at 10:42 AM on Sun Jan 1 2012
@MatthewC17 I would have to agree that Rowan Atkinson did pretty nice.
Faved by 12 BTVA Members

Support Behind The Voice Actors on Patreon
What is Patreon?
Who do you think has been the best from these Zazu voice actors?
Rowan Atkinson
Michael J. Gough
Edward Hibbert
Jeff Bennett