Robert Fredrick Paulsen, III (born March 11, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan) (sometimes credited as "Rob Paulson" or "Vocal Magic") is an American voice actor best known for his extensive roles as the voices of animated characters. He has appeared in the films Body Double, Eyes of Fire, Stewardess School and Warlock.
Paulsen is best known as the voice behind Yakko Warner from Animaniacs and Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. The former won him a Daytime Emmy Award for male vocal performance.
In total, Rob Paulsen has been the voice of over 250 different animated characters and performed in over 1000 commercials. He continues to play minor parts in dozens of cartoons as well as supporting characters in animated movies. He is represented by Sutton, Barth, & Vennari Talent Agency in Los Angeles, California, where he lives with his wife, son, and his two Yorkshire terriers, Tala and Pooshie.
Paulsen is married to Parrish Todd and has one son, Ashton Paulsen, born September 10, 1984. In an interview with a Chicago TV station, Paulsen described himself as "a singer who decided to become an actor". Growing up in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Paulsen sang in choir throughout his youth and adolescence and began performing in plays in grammar school. 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.
Paulsen has long supported childrens' charity organisations, 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.
He began his voice over career on The Smurfs animated television show as an extra in 1981. A few years later, his career launched into more substantial roles such as G.I. Joe and The Snorks. He had an impressive turn as the villain Jesse Blue in the series Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. The character has a bit of a cult following, due in part to Paulsen's excellent portrayal.
During the 1980s Paulsen also explored the field of live action cinema. His first movie was Eyes of Fire in 1983. He played supporting roles in Body Double, Stewardess School, and Warlock. He appeared in television shows during this time as well, such as MacGuyver and St. Elsewhere. However Paulsen preferred to work on shows for children. 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's first major role was in 1987, as Raphael in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series.
Paulsen became more prevalent in the world of advertising as well. In the 1980s he had been the announcer for the popular 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, announcer for Buffalo Duck's Radio Ranch, and the spokesman for Lucky Stores, a West-coast grocery store chain, before it was acquired by Albertsons in 1998.
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?, 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.
Tuning in to SpielbergEdit
Throughout the early 1990s, Paulsen continued to co-star in popular animated series, which proved so successful that he branched further into radio and television announcements and dropped live-action acting from his repetoire. In 1993, he voiced Antoine D'Coolette in ABCs series Sonic the Hedgehog, and Arthur, an insecure accountant in a moth costume (wings included), in the superhero series The Tick in 1995.
With a plethora of voice acting roles under his belt, it was only a matter of time before Paulsen was given the starring role. In 1993, he starred as the title character in both Mighty Max and The Mask. Also at this time he starred in what became one if his most popular characters, Yakko Warner of Animaniacs. Paulsen also provided the voice of Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, a show which won him several Annie Awards and a Daytime Emmy in 1999.
Paulsen recently took on the role of Reuben (Experiment 625) in Lilo & Stitch: The Series. Rob also currently does the roles of Jack Fenton, Box Ghost, and Technus in Danny Phantom, Carl Wheezer in Jimmy Neutron, Mark Chang and Peppy Happy Gary of The Fairly OddParents, and Gordon on the Nickelodeon cartoon Catscratch. He was also the voice of Rothchild in the early episodes of Samurai Jack.
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 of the new show Loonatics Unleashed and stars in Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island. He also voiced The Source in the Teen Titans episode "Employee of the Month". Paulsen also provides the voice for the Honda character "Mr. Opportunity."
In the new generation of video gaming, much voice talent has bled over from television and radio voice actors. Paulsen has appeared in video games such as Doom 3 and Clay Fighter 63 1/3. He plays Morte, a floating, talking skull, in Planescape: Torment and the Cyborg Ninja in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. He also voiced Crash Bandicoot in many of the later games for Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Xbox platforms. More notably, he portrays Tobli and Lian Ronso in the English version of Square Enix's Final Fantasy X-2 and has played the lead character in Bubsy. Although an extremely minor role, Paulsen also has done the voice for the Greek soldiers in God of War.
Rob 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 2004 he was nominated for his role The Troubador in The Three Musketeers, and in 2005 he was nominated for his role in The Happy Elf. In 1999 he also won the Daytime Emmy Award for the role of Pinky.
- Official website
- Rob Paulsen at the Voice Chasers Database
- Rob Paulsen at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)