Rob Paulsen is an American voice actor, singer, and former actor who has done many voice roles in various films, television shows and video games. He is best known for providing the voices of Raphael and Donatello from the 1987 cartoon and 2012 cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yakko Warner and Dr. Otto Scratchansniff from Animaniacs, Pinky from Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs, and the title character in The Mask. In total, Paulsen has been the voice of over 250 different animated characters.
Robert Fredrick Paulsen III was born on March 11, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan. Paulsen grew up in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Paulsen sang in choirs throughout his youth and adolescence and began performing in plays in grammer schools. However, his idol growing up was Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings; he considered the arts to be a secondary career choice, primarily interested in becoming a professional hockey player.
He began his voice-over career in 1983 with the mini-series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, where he played "Snow Job" and "Tripwire." A few years later, his career launched into more roles such as "Cobra Slavemaster" and reprising "Snow Job" and "Tripwhire" on G.I. Joe, "Corky" on The Snorks, "Marco Smurf" on the later seasons of The Smurfs, "Boober" on the animated version of Fraggle Rock, "Hadji" in The New Adventures of Jonny Quest and the title character - "Saber Rider" and the villain "Jesse Blue" on Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
During the 1980s, Paulsen also explored the field of live action films. His first movie was Eyes of Fire in 1983. He played supporting roles in Body Double, Stewardess School, Warlock, and Mutant on the Bounty. He appeared in television shows during this time as well, such as MacGyver and St. Elsewhere. He mentioned in an interview, regarding his role in Body Double, that he would not want his child (who was very young at the time of the interview) to see the movie, so he could not really be proud of his work.
Paulsen became more prevalent in the world of advertising as well. In the 1980s, he had been the announcer for the sitcom Cheers and continued to secure roles as an announcer. He appeared as the voice of "Mr. Opportunity", spokesman of Honda commercials on TV and radio, the announcer for Buffalo Dick's Radio Ranch, and the spokesman for Lucky Stores, a West Coast grocery store chain, before it was acquired by Albertsons in 1998. He provided the voice of "Dog" in the Taco Bell kids meal commercials from 1996 to mid-1997, with Eddie Deezen as the voice of "Nacho" the cat.
However, Paulsen's most famous advertising role was in the original commercial of the now ubiquitous Got Milk? campaign. The famous commercial, Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?, aired in 1993, and launched the Got Milk? campaign into a monstrously successful enterprise. Paulsen continues to be one of the most sought-after commercial voice actors in the industry.
He can currently be heard as the voice of singing Mini-Wheat in the Mini-Wheats commercials in Canada.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
From 1987 to 1995, Paulsen voiced Raphael and various supporting characters in the original 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Originally starting as a five-part miniseries, the series continued for ten seasons and 193 episodes. It was a great success and became an instant pop culture symbol. Paulsen has said that Raphael's voice is very similar to his natural voice.
He returned to the franchise as Donatello for the new 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on Nickelodeon.
Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain
Throughout the early 1990's, Paulsen continued to co-star in animated series, which allowed him to branch further into radio and television announcements and dropped live action acting form his repertoire. In 1993, he voiced "Antoine D'Coolette" in ABC's series Sonic the Hedgehog, and "Arthur", an insecure accountant in a moth costume (wings included). in the superhero series The Tick in 1995, replacing Micky Dolenz, who had originally played Arthur.
In1993, he starred as the title character in both Mighty Max and The Mask: Animated Series. Also at this time, he starred in what became one of his most popular roles, "Yakko Warner" of Animaniacs. Paulsen also provided the voice of "Pinky" from both Animaniacs and it's spin-off Pinkey and the Brain, a show which won him several Annie Awards and a Daytime Emmy in 1999. He also did a number of characters in Tiny Toons Adventures, including "Fowlmouth", "Arnold the Pit Bull", and "Concord Condor". In the direct-to-video movie Tiny Toons Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, he did the voices of "Banjo Possum", "Mr. Hitcher" (who would also appear in other episodes), and "Johnny Pew".
Paulsen has provided voices for a great amount of characters, among which are Yakko Warner, Dr. Otto Scratchansniff and Pinky in Animaniacs, Steelbeak in Darkwing Duck, "Brick" and "Boomer" in The Powerpuff Girls, Atchan in Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost in The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, Ogden O. Ostrich in Channel Umptee-3, Hathi in Jungle Cubs, "Reuben" in Lilo & Stitch: The Series, "Jack Fenton", "The Box Ghost", "Nicolai Technus", and "The Vulture Ghost" in Danny Phantom, "Carl Wheezer" and "Butch" in Jimmy Neutron, "Mark Chang", "King Grippulon" and "Bucky McBadbat" in The Fairly OddParents, Peck the Rooster in Barnyard and Back at the Barnyard, and "Gordon" in the Nickelodeon cartoon Catscratch. He was also the voice of "Rothchild" in the early episodes of Samurai Jack. Additionally, Paulsen provided the voices of "P.J. Pete" in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie and an Extremely Goofy Movie, as well as the voices of Ratchet and Dr. Debolt in the TaleSpin pilot episode and introductory TV movie Plunder & Lightning.
He also voiced "Zeek" and "Joshua" in K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments, Rude Dog in Rude Dog and the Dweebs, and Archie the Raccoon, A.K.A. Ze Archer, in "Mask of the Raccoon" on The Penguins of Madagascar. He reprised his role as "Throttle" in the 2006 Biker Mice from Mars, and also provided the voices of 2T Fru-T, Mike Ellis, Dark Comet and ronald in the 2001 ccartoon series Butt-Ugly Martians. He also portrayed the voice of Chomper and Strut in The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventures, Spike and Rinkus in The Land Before Time sequals and Spike in the TV series, but Spike was played anonymously in the original The Land Before Time. Paulsen also played Mo in the Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water. Paulsen also voiced the robot "D.E.C.K.S." in the early 90's TV series Wake, Rattle, and Role.
Paulsen was best known to Transformers fans as the voices of the Autobots Air Raid, Chase, Haywire, Fastlane and Slingshot in The Transformers.
In video games, much voice talent has bled over from television and radio voice actors. Paulsen has appeared in video games such as Doom 3 and ClayFighter 63⅓. He played "Fluffy", the Chinese-crested dog, in 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue, an Irish-talking pubtender in the 1996 video game Toonstruck, and "Morte", a floating, talking skull, in Planescape: Torment, as well as "Anomen Delryn" in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and "Gray Fox" in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an assist trophy. He provided the voice for Erik the Swift of The Lost Vikings in it's second installment. He portrayed "Tobli" and "Lian Ronso" in the English version of Square Enix's Final Technology X-2 and has played the lead character in Bubsy. Although an extremely minor role, Paulsen has also done the voice for the Greek soldiers in God of War. He voiced Jaq and The Grande Duke from the Cinderella world in Square Enix's and Disney's Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. In the video game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, he did the voice of "Igor". He also reprised his role as "Yakko Warner", "Dr. Otto Scratchansniff", and "Pinky" in Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt. Rob Paulsen voiced the lead character, Lazarus Jones, in the PS2 game Ghosthunter, and played The Duck Avenger in Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows. Rob also voiced Alfredo Fettuccini, Bob the Ghost Pirate, Lookout and Ghost Priest in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. He voiced the Fox and the Mouse in the Green Eggs and Ham PC game. He also voiced "Tlaloc" in Tak and the Power of Juju. Most recently he has voiced The Riddler in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, a role he reprised in Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite. Rob is the voice of talking alien dog Beak-Beak in Armikrog, Paulsen also voices Smash Hit in skylanders: SuperChargers.
Paulsen is also the off camera voice of the syndicated television series Funniest Pets & People, which is seen on Superstation WGN and other television stations throughout the United States and abroad.
It was not long before Paulsen returned to Warner Bros. Animation, which had diverged into a new era of television serials (following what is sometimes referred to as the "Silver age of Animation"). Paulsen appeared as "Rev Runner" on Loonatics Unleashed and starred in Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island. He was also the voice of the character "Squeeky" on the TV show Danger Rangers. He voiced "Ichabeezer" and "Tom Celeriac" (a play on Tom Selleck) in Veggie Tales in the House for Netflix. Paulsen also provides the voice for the Honda character "Mr. Opportunity." In the Rob Zombie animated film, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Paulsen voiced the characters "El Gato" and "Commandant Hess", among some others. He also has a role as "Ditto", one of the alien forms on Ben 10, as Rhomboid Vreedle of the Vreedle Brothers and Baz-El in Ben 10: Alien Force, two characters that he reprised, along with a new character, Magister Patelliday on Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Ben 10: Omniverse.
Paulsen is also the current voice of classic Disney character "Jose Carioca." Rob became the new voice of "Prince Eric" of Disney's The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea since Christopher Daniel Barnes failed to reprise the role in 2000. Though Barnes did return to voice the character in the Kingdom Hearts series when Paulsen was unavailable. He is also the voice of Peck the Rooster and other minor characters in the Nickelodeon computer-animated series Back at the Barnyard and various characters on the Disney Channel animated series The Replacements. He is the voice of Bobble in the Tinker Bell movies. He also did the voices of Boober Fraggle, Sprocket and Marjory the Trash Heap in the animated version of Fraggle Rock, as well as Gwizdo in the Dragon Hunters movie. Paulsen also played the titular character for an animated web series based on the video game Bravoman for Bandai Namco's ShiftyLook for Bandai Namco's ShiftyLook division.
Awards and nominations
Paulsen has been nominated for an Annie Award for his role of Pinky for 4 consecutive years, which he won in 1996, 1997, and 1999. In 1999, he also won the Daytime Emmy Award for voicing Pinky.
In 2004, he was nominated for his role of the Troubadour in Mickey, Donald, Goffy: The Three Musketeers, and in 2005, he was nominated for his role in The Happy Elf.
Paulsen has been a regular industry guest and featured panelist at San Diego Comic-Con International over the past several years. He has also appeared at animation industry-related events, such as the World Animation Celebration in 1998, among many others. He has also been a guest at several anime conventions, including JACON, Mikomicon, and anime Overdose. Paulsen was a guest of honor at Anthrocon in 2007. He has recently started doing "Rob Paulsen Live" seminars acrss the U.S. to talk of his career, sign autographs, and talk with fans.
Sometimes, people in attendance would request to sing the famous Yakko's World number, where he sings all the nations of the world with his Yakko voice in a fast-paced delivery without rehearsing.
In May 2011, working with social media and web producer Chris Pope, Paulsen rolled out a brand new website RobPaulsenLive.com, as well as a weekly audio podcast called Talkin' Toons with Rob Paulsen, which is managed and deployed by The Tech Jives Network. episodes are currently recorded before a live audience at The Improv in Hollywood, California on a biweekly basis.
In June 2011, Paulsen made announcements that he was taking his show on the road with his "Lots of laughs and autographs" tour. Working closely with a team that included Chris Pope, his publicist and others he made his first successful tour in atlanta, Georgia, which happened on July 30, 2011, and another in Dallas, Texas on September 17, 2011, that required two seminars, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, as they were so popular.
Rob Paulsen is married to Parrish Todd and has one son, Ashton. In an interview with a Chicago TV station, Paulsen described himself as "a singer who decided to become an actor."
Paulsen has long supported charity organizations, and donated considerably for cancer research. He has worked a lot for GOALmodels, a program for adolescents, and is a sponsor of Camp Will-A-Way, a camp for mentally and physically disabled children. Paulsen also donates funds from autographs to the Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Smile.