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This article is about the voice actor. For the silent film-era actor, see Billy West (silent film actor). For the 19th-century blackface minstrel show performer, see Primrose and West. For the 19th-century baseball player, see Billy West (baseball).

William Richard "Billy" West (born April 16, 1952) is an American voice actor. He launched his career in the early 1980s performing daily comedic routines on Boston's WBCN shortly after moving on to do the revival of Beany and Cecil and was also a castmember on The Howard Stern Show during the early to mid 1990s.

West is best known for his voice-work on Ren & Stimpy, Doug and Futurama. His favorite characters are Philip J. Fry (Futurama) and Stimpy (Ren and Stimpy), both of which he originated. West's most notable film work was in Space Jam (1996) providing the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd; he has provided the same voices for other Looney Tunes films and video games. West has been very outspoken over his displeasure about the influx of movie star actors providing voice-over for films and major shows.[1][2]

As well as a voice artist, West is also a guitarist and singer-songwriter with a band called Billy West and The Grief Counselors.

Television

West has been in television since the late 1980s. His first role was for the 1988 revived version of Beany and Cecil. West's first two high-profile roles came almost simultaneously: Doug and Ren & Stimpy, which were two of the first original three Nicktoons (the other being Rugrats). Over his career West has been the voice talent for close to 120 different characters including some of the most iconic animated figures in television history. He has become one of few voice actors who can impersonate Mel Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons. In 1998, Entertainment Weekly described West as "the new Mel Blanc" and noted his ability to mimic well-known voices,[3] though he would rather develop original voices.[3] West's favorite characters are Philip J. Fry and Stimpy.[4] West has been very outspoken over his displeasure about the influx of movie star actors providing voice-over for films and major shows.[1][2] West has stated that he did not like the Disney version of Doug, and that he "couldn't watch" the show.[5][6]

West was the voice of the show's namesake, Geeker, throughout Project Geeker's 13 episode run.

West was the voice of Zim in the original pilot for Nickelodeon's Invader Zim.[7] Richard Horvitz was chosen for the series role because West's voice was too recognizable, according to Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez during DVD commentary.

West is also the voice of "Red" in numerous M&M commercials as well as the 3-D movie "I Lost my M in Vegas", currently playing at M&M's World in Las Vegas, NV.

West also voices a number of characters in the series Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World. He does not play a regular character in that series, but appears in almost every episode of the show voicing various minor and one-off characters.

West voiced the character Moobeard in Moobeard the Cow Pirate, a short animation featured on Random! Cartoons.

Ren and Stimpy

West provided the voice of Stimpy in Nickelodeon's The Ren and Stimpy Show from 1991 until 1996, and he provided the voice of Ren from 1993–1996 (after Ren's original voice and series creator John Kricfalusi was fired by Nickelodeon for delivering un-airable episodes). West performed other characters on the series as well, such as Mr. Horse (another role that West was issued after Kricfalusi's departure) and the "Announcer/Salesman" of such shorts as the "Log" ads (a voice West would years later use as the Narrator for The Weird Al Show).

According to West, he was originally supposed to do the voice of both Ren and Stimpy (and performed both characters on the tape that was used to sell the show to Nickelodeon), but then Kricfalusi decided to do the voice of Ren himself once the show was sold and he had West on board as part of the selling point.[8] However, West provided Ren's maniacal laughter when John Kricfalusi was the voice of Ren.

Futurama

File:Billywestcropped.jpg

Billy West's roles in Futurama include Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan, as well as various other incidental characters. As he and other Futurama cast and crew point out in DVD commentaries, West spoke to himself quite often during recording.Template:Huh

West went into the Futurama auditions and was asked to try out for, as he says, "just about every part";[9] eventually landing the professor, Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan. It wasn't until some casting changes were made that West got the part of Fry, which originally had gone to Charlie Schlatter.[10] While West is known for doing many different and unique voices, the voice he does for Philip J. Fry is often considered to be closer to his natural voice than any other character he has done (in an audio commentary, he states Fry is just himself at age 25). This similarity, West acknowledges, was done purposefully in order to make it harder to replace him in the part[11] along with placing more of himself personally into the role (DVD commentary).

The part of Zapp Brannigan was created for Phil Hartman, but he died before the show started and West was issued the role. West has described his interpretation of Zapp Brannigan's voice as an imitation of Hartman, but described the actual vocalizations of the character as being based on "two big, dumb radio announcers I know."

Futurama was renewed by Comedy Central as four direct-to-video movies broken into 16 television episodes.[12] West reprised his roles for these films, and has been signed on for a new 26-episode season of Futurama which began airing in June 2010.[13]

Jungle Junction

West has voiced the regular character Ellyvan on the children's CGI animated television show Jungle Junction since its start in 2009.

Movies

Perhaps West's most notable film work came in the 1996 movie Space Jam. Starring alongside Michael Jordan, West provided the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. West reprised the roles of Bugs and Fudd in subsequent Looney Tunes feature-length films and returned as Fudd in the theatrically-released Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

In 1998, West starred in the direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island as Shaggy Rogers, becoming the second person to portray the character (the first being Casey Kasem). He was one of the top contenders to replace Kasem after his retirement in 2009, but lost the role to Scott Innes.

In 2004, West voiced the classic character Popeye in the 75th anniversary film Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, and made his live-action film debut in Mark Hamill's Comic Book: The Movie. He also appeared in a cameo in Garfield: The Movie.

Other films featuring West's vocal talents include Joe's Apartment, Cats & Dogs, Olive, the Other Reindeer, TMNT, The Proud Family Movie, and three Tom and Jerry direct-to-video movies.

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Felix the Cat: The Movie additional voice Voice only
Animated film
1993 The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show France Bug Voice only
Animated series
1991–1994 Doug Doug Funnie (1991–1994)
Roger Klotz (1991–1994)
Voice only
until sale of series to Disney.
Animated series
1991–1996 The Ren and Stimpy Show Stimpson J. "Stimpy" Cat
Ren Hoek (1993–1996)
Mr. Horse (1993–1996)
Voice only
Animated series
1996 Joe's Apartment Ralph Roach Voice only
Space Jam Bugs Bunny
Elmer Fudd
Voice only
Live-action/Animated film
1997 The Wacky World of Tex Avery Tex Avery, Freddie the Fly, Sagebrush Sid Voice only
Animated series
Project G.e.e.K.e.R. GeeKeR Voice only
Animated series
The Weird Al Show Show announcer
Harvey the Wonder Hamster
Television series
Extreme Ghostbusters Slimer
Mayor McShane
Voice only
Animated series
1998–2001 Histeria! Chit Chatterson
Bugs Bunny
Elmer Fudd
Voice only
Animated series
1998–2002 CatDog Rancid Rabbit
Mr Sunshine
Voice only
Animated series
1998 Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island Norville "Shaggy" Rogers Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
1999 Invader Zim Invader Zim Voice only
Animated series
Unaired pilot only
Mad Jack the Pirate Snuk, Jon LeFeet, additional voices Voice only
Animated series
Queer Duck Bi-Polar Bear
Other characters
Voice only
Animated series
The New Woody Woodpecker Show Woody Woodpecker
Wally Walrus
Smedley
Doug Knutts
Voice only
Animated series
Olive, the Other Reindeer Mr. Eskimo Voice only
Animated television film
Rayman: The Animated Series Rayman Voice only
Animated series
1999–2003
2008–2009
2010–present
Futurama Philip J. Fry
Professor Hubert Farnsworth
Dr John Zoidberg
Captain Zapp Brannigan
Richard Nixon's Head
Additional characters
Voices only
Animated series
2000 Baby Felix Felix the Cat
Additional characters
Voice only
Animated series
Poochini's Yard Poochini
Walter White
Mr. Garvey
Lockjaw
Voice only
Animated series
2001 Horrible Histories Stitch, Narrator, various Voice only
Animated series
The Oblongs George Klimer
Anita Bidet
Additional characters
Voice only
Animated series
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Various characters Voice only
Animated film
2002 Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring Freddie Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
Crank Yankers Confucious
Moo Shu
Voice only
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Elmer Fudd
Peter Lorre
Voice only
Duck Dodgers Captain Star Johnson
Mother Fudd
Voice only
2004 Comic Book: The Movie Leo Matuzik Direct-to-video
Live-action
Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy Popeye
Pappy
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Computer-animated film
2004–2007 Loonatics Unleashed Electro J. Fudd
Sagittarius Stomper
Voice only
Animated series
2005 Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars Major Biff Buzzard Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
Tom and Jerry Tales Tom Voice only
Animated series
The Proud Family Movie Board Member
Cab Driver
Voice only
Animated television film
2005 Baby Looney Tunes Floyd Minton
Additional characters
Voice only
Animated series
2005 Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry Biff Buzzard
President of Hollywood
Squirty
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2006 Curious George Manager Voice only
Animated film
Squirrel Boy Kyle Finkster Voice only
Animated series
Queer Duck: The Movie Bi-Polar Bear Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
Zombie College Skully
Graham
Voice only
Web series
Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas Bugs Bunny
Elmer Fudd
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2007 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) Anchorman
Jersey Devil
Various characters
Voice only
Futurama: Bender's Big Score Philip J. Fry
Professor Farnsworth
Dr. Zoidberg
Zapp Brannigan
Richard Nixon's Head
Additional characters
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2008 Random! Cartoons Finster #1
Pilot #1
Johnny Space Guy
Space Thug
Moobeard
Voice only
Animate series
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs Philip J. Fry
Professor Farnsworth
Dr. Zoidberg
Zapp Brannigan
Richard Nixon's Head
Additional characters
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
Futurama: Bender's Game Philip J. Fry
Professor Farnsworth
Dr. Zoidberg
Additional characters
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2009 Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Philip J. Fry
Professor Farnsworth
Dr. Zoidberg
Zapp Brannigan
Leo Wong
Richard Nixon's Head
Additional characters
Voice only
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2009 Jimmy Two-Shoes Jimmy
Additional characters
Voice only
Animated series
2010 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Gunther Gator Voice only
Animated Series
Preceded by
Casey Kasem
Norville "Shaggy" Rogers Voice
1998
Succeeded by
Scott Innes

Other media

Radio

Throughout the 1980s, Billy West provided character voices on Charles Laquidara's Big Mattress radio show on Boston's WBCN. West was also one half of the award winning WBCN Production team from 1980–1986.

From 1989 through 1995,[14] West provided The Howard Stern Show with character voices such as Jim Backus, Lucille Ball, Raymond Burr, Connie Chung, Pat Cooper, Sammy Davis, Jr., Doris Day, Louis "Red" Deutsch, David Dinkins, Mia Farrow, Larry Fine, Pete Fornatale, Frank Gifford, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mark Goddard, Bobcat Goldthwait, the Greaseman, Rudolph Giuliani, Jonathan Harris (as Dr. Zachary Smith), Leona Helmsley, Shemp Howard, Lance Ito, Elton John, Jay Leno, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Martling (as the Jackie puppet), Ed McMahon, Al Michaels, Bill Mumy (as Will Robinson), Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, Maury Povich, Soon-Yi Previn, Marge Schott, Frank Sinatra, Rae Stern (Howard Stern's mother), George Takei, Joe Walsh, and Robin Williams until eventually leaving the show over money.[15] West was an occasional contributor to The Adam Carolla Show, a syndicated morning radio show that replaced Stern's show on CBS in LA.

On February 19 and 20, 2007, The Howard Stern Show ran a special two-part retrospective of West's work with the show.[16] It marked his first work with the show since leaving after his last show on November 1, 1995.

On June 9, 2009, West appeared on Jackie Martling's Jackie's Joke Hunt on Stern's satellite radio channel Howard 101.[17]

Commercial television

Billy West was the announcer of the program Screen Gems Network which ran from 1999–2001. He was also the promotional announcer for The Comedy Channel before it merged with HA! to become Comedy Central.

Over his career, Billy West has voiced multiple characters in television commercials.

These include (but are not limited to):

Speed Racer for Volkswagen

West voiced the Speed Racer character in a late-1990s advertisement for Volkswagen,[3] because the commercial's producers couldn't locate Peter Fernandez, the original voice of Speed. However, the producers did locate Corinne Orr, the original voice for both the "Trixie" and "Spritle" characters.[citation needed]

Video games

West's talents have also extended into the realm of video games. Characters most notably voiced by West are perhaps Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in numerous Looney Tunes video games.

Other video game characters voiced by Billy West include:

Music

West is also a guitarist and singer-songwriter with a band called Billy West and The Grief Counselors. They've released their first album, Me-Pod.[18] West has toured as a guitarist for Roy Orbison and Brian Wilson.[3]

In 1982, West sang lead, doing an impersonation of Mike Love, on a Beach Boys-inspired tune, "Another Cape Cod Summer This Year," by studio band ROUTE 28, written and produced by Erik Lindgren on his Arf! Arf! Records label.[citation needed]

West has collaborated with Deborah Harry & Lou Reed, Los Lobos and played live on several occasions with Brian Wilson, including the guitar solo on the Beach Boys tune "Do it Again" on Late Show with David Letterman, in the mid 1990s.[citation needed]

Internet entertainment

He also provided voices for the Eric Kaplan-created webtoon Zombie College as well as voicing two characters in Tofu the Vegan Zombie.[19]

Personal life

During Billy West's childhood, his father was abusive.[20]

Billy West is a Vegan.[21]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ryan, Kyle. "Billy West | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Slashdot | Futurama Star Billy West Answers Slashdot Questions". Interviews.slashdot.org. 2006-07-05. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Wolk, Josh (February 19, 1998). "'Toon Voice: Billy West is the new Mel Blanc". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  4. Billy West official site. Retrieved October 26, 2006.
  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCvt5srVQwA
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te0ja61nb3w
  7. "Billy West (II)". Internet Movie Database. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  8. TVsquad.com interview (20th question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  9. TVsquad.com interview (31st question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  10. IGN.com interviews Billy West (3rd question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  11. TVsquad.com interview (32nd question). Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  12. "article on Futurama's return". Tvsquad.com. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  13. Salem, Rob. "Futurama cast members ink new deal with Fox". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  14. "Billy's Bio". billywest.com. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  15. Interview with UGO.com (20th question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  16. "For the week of 02/19/2007 to 02/23/2007". Marksfriggin. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  17. "For the week of 06/08/2009 to 06/12/2009". Marksfriggin. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  18. "Billy West and the Grief Counselors on". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  19. "Website for Tofu the Vegan Zombie". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  20. Script error
  21. "Billy West, Ren, Stimpy, and Geekza.". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 

External links

bg:Били Уестit:Billy Westuz:Billy Westru:Уэст, Билли

sq:Billy West sr:Bili Vest fi:Billy West sv:Billy West uk:Біллі Вест

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