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Maurice LaMarche (born March 30, 1958) is an American voice actor and former stand up comedian. He is best known for his voicework in Futurama as Kif Kroker, as Egon Spengler in The Real Ghostbusters, Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukum in Captain Planet and the Planeteers and The Brain in Animaniacs/Pinky and The Brain.

Early life

LaMarche was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but his family moved to Timmins, Ontario very soon after he was born.[1] LaMarche's childhood was filled with his "own little world of cartoons and sixties television".[2] It was not until his sophomore year of high school that he learned of the popularity his talent for mimicry could garner him. This realization came from a coincidental performance in a high school "variety night" when a couple of friends urged him to enter. The act he performed at the variety night was "celebrities as waiters" which he actually used all the way up until the end of his stand up career.[3]

Stand up

File:Maurice LaMarche.jpg

At the age of 19, LaMarche took his high school act to an open mic night in New York, performing to a reaction in which, as he describes, "they just totally ignored me".[4] This reaction was coupled with the backlash LaMarche received from fellow Canadian comedians who LaMarche describes as discouraging him from pursuing a career outside of Canada.[5]

Three years later, at the age of 22, LaMarche moved straight to Los Angeles to further his stand up career. This move, LaMarche says, would always be something he regretted doing instead of moving to New York.

"... in retrospect, I thought it was a mistake. I think that a couple of years in New York would have made me a stronger comedian." - Maurice LaMarche[6]

Over the next five years, LaMarche's career would gradually progress, playing comedy clubs all over the U.S., with several appearances on Merv Griffin and "An Evening At The Improv", but in spite of such interest, LaMarche always believed that, while his impersonations and stage presence were strong, he needed to develop funnier comedy material. Despite being so critical of himself, LaMarche would be granted the opportunity of being part of the 1985 HBO production, Rodney Dangerfield Hosts the 9th Annual Young Comedians Special, on which also appeared Bob Saget, Rita Rudner, Louie Anderson, Yakov Smirnoff, and the breakout first appearance of Sam Kinison. Although he was received (and reviewed) favorably, in looking back on his own performance in that special, LaMarche believed he was "probably about five years away from going from being a good comedian to being a great comedian" and being the "only impressionist that actually comes from somewhere".[7] Unfortunately, LaMarche would not get that chance.

On March 9, 1987, LaMarche's father was murdered, shot to death by a lifelong friend in a Toronto hotel lobby, in front of dozens of witnesses. This sent LaMarche into depression and alcoholism for the next two years, effectively stalling his stand up career.[8] After getting sober on Inauguration Day in 1989, LaMarche embarked again into the world of his first love, standup comedy, in the early part of 1990. However, just as he was regaining lost momentum, tragedy struck once more, as his 18-year-old sister was killed in a car accident in September of that year.[9] At this point, though he remained sober, LaMarche decided he just couldn't do standup comedy anymore.

"Oh, that's it. I don't have any funny left in me. I'm done."[9] - Maurice LaMarche

During his standup career, LaMarche opened for such acts as Rodney Dangerfield, George Carlin, Howie Mandel, David Sanborn and Donna Summer, usually in the main showrooms of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.[10]

Voiceover acting

LaMarche's first entrance into the voiceover industry was in 1980 in Easter Fever and Take Me Up to the Ball Game, two Canadian films from Nelvana.[11] LaMarche did not venture into voiceover acting again until years later as a side endeavor during his full-time standup comedy career.

Television

LaMarche began on Inspector Gadget and went on to Dennis the Menace, Popeye and Son and The Real Ghostbusters. After The Real Ghostbusters, LaMarche became a regular mainstay of the voiceover industry appearing in such shows as Talespin, Tiny Toon Adventures, GI Joe, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series, Taz-Mania, Where's Waldo, The Little Mermaid, Batman: The Animated Series, and Bonkers before landing perhaps his most recognized role in 1993 as The Brain on Animaniacs (and later its spin-off show Pinky and the Brain). Following this, LaMarche worked on The Critic, Freakazoid!, and The Tick before then reprising his role of Egon in Extreme Ghostbusters. The stretch of two years after this saw LaMarche portray characters in such shows as Duckman, Hey Arnold! as Big Bob Pataki, Queer Duck, King of the Hill, The Chimp Channel, and Sonic Underground as Sleet. It was at this time, 1999, that LaMarche began work on Futurama. Since Futurama LaMarche has continued to work steadily in television, including guest roles on The Simpsons (where he once again parodied Orson Welles). His most recent regular role came as Hovis the butler on the Nickelodeon series Catscratch.

LaMarche has done various voice work for many Warner Bros. Animation and DiC Entertainment cartoons. He also delivered the protracted belches for the "Great Wakkorotti" shorts on Animaniacs, in which Wakko Warner performed various pieces of music.

Pinky and the Brain

LaMarche plays the character of The Brain in Pinky and the Brain. In creating the voice for Brain, LaMarche says he looked at a picture of the character and immediately thought of Orson Welles,[12] although the character wasn't modeled after Welles.[13] Voicing Brain gave LaMarche the opportunity to make use of his signature impersonation of Welles. Many Pinky and the Brain episodes are nods to Welles' career. LaMarche won an Annie Award for his role as the Brain, and was nominated for an Emmy.

The Critic

While working on The Critic, LaMarche once voiced 29 characters in one 30-minute episode.[14]

His time on The Critic also afforded LaMarche the opportunity to once again parody Orson Welles, this time after a video reading of a will (the Sherman family was so wealthy, they had hired Welles to narrate it) dissolves into a commercial for Mrs. Pells Fishsticks (as well as another for Rosebud Frozen Peas, and another for Blotto Bros. wine).

The Inspector Gadget universe

LaMarche has voiced Inspector Gadget (originally voiced by Don Adams) in two Inspector Gadget films (direct-to-video and television movies) as well as two television series (the original, and Gadget and the Gadgetinis), plus two live-action appearances in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. LaMarche also voiced Chief Quimby.

Heroes

LaMarche acted, voice only, in the second episode of the hit NBC show Heroes, "Don't Look Back", as the villain Sylar. His voice is heard in a chilling recorded phone conversation on Chandra Suresh's answering machine. The role of Sylar was later played by Zachary Quinto.[15]

Film

LaMarche has appeared in many films including the voice of Orson Welles in Ed Wood, Pepe Le Pew in Space Jam, the voice of Alec Baldwin in Team America: World Police and reprising his roles from Queer Duck and Futurama in the direct-to-video films Queer Duck: The Movie and Futurama: Bender's Big Score, respectively.

His one on-camera theatrical film performance was in the 1981 Canadian feature Funny Farm, not to be confused with a later Chevy Chase vehicle of the same name. The film follows the story of a young standup comedian's attempt to break into the big-time on the L.A. comedy scene. LaMarche played Dickie Lyons, an impressionist who befriends the main character, Mark Champlin. The film also starred Howie Mandel, Eileen Brennan, and Miles Chapin.

In Mark Hamill's 2004 movie Comic Book: The Movie, LaMarche made a rare live appearance to be in the special features of the DVD alongside Pinky and the Brain co-star Rob Paulsen. Among other gags, he re-enacted his impression of Orson Welles' famous frozen peas commercial outtake.

Outside of film, television, and radio, LaMarche's repertoire includes audio-books, as he recently served as narrator for a collection of H.P. Lovecraft short stories.

Roles in television, film, and video games

Year Film Role Notes
1980 Easter Fever Don Rattles
Steed Martin
Peter Easter Bat
Animated special
1980 Take Me Up to the Ball Game Animated special
1983 Inspector Gadget Chief Quimby Animated series
1986 The Real Ghostbusters Egon Spengler Animated series
1986 Transformers Six-Gun Animated series
1986 Dennis the Menace George Wilson
Henry Mitchell
Animated series
1986 Popples Puzzle Animated series
1987 The Facts of Life Rod Sperling Live action
1987 Popeye and Son Popeye Animated series
1988 Beany and Cecil Dishonest John Animated series
1990 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Verminous Skumm Animated series
1990 Tiny Toon Adventures Dizzy Devil Animated series
1990 TaleSpin General Patton Animated series
1990 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series Zoltan
Ketchuck
Tomato Guy
Animated series
1991 Taz-Mania Hugh Tasmanian Devil Animated series
1991 Cool World Interrogator #2
Mash
drunken bar patron
Dr. Vincent "Vegas Vinnie" Whiskers
Live action/Animated film
1991 Felix the Cat: The Movie The Grandfather Direct-to-video
Animated film
1993 Animaniacs Brain
Spartacus
Bob Hope
Squit
Wakko (burping only)
Animated series
1993 Bonkers Mr. Blackenblue Animated series
1994 The Tick Human Ton & Handy
Pigleg
Mr. Smartypants
Various other characters
Animated series
1994 The Critic Jeremy Hawke
Orson Welles
Additional Voices
Animated series
1994 Ed Wood Orson Welles Voice only
1995 Duckman Merv Griffin Animated series
1995 Freakazoid! Longhorn
The Lobe
Dan
Captain "K"
Animated series
1995 Napoleon Snake and frill-Necked Lizard Voice only
1995 The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries Yosemite Sam
others
Animated series
1995 Pinky and the Brain The Brain Animated series
1996 Space Jam Pepe Le Pew Animated film
1996 Dexter's Laboratory Simion Animated series
1996 Rocko's Modern Life Conglomo Lizard Animated series
1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Lost & Found Officer Animated film
1997 Space Goofs Etno Animated series
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Egon Spengler Animated series
1998 Histeria! Abraham Lincoln Animated series
1999 Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets Inspector Gadget
Chief Quimby
Voice only
Animated film
1999 Wakko's Wish Brain
Squit
Direct-to-video
Animated film
1999 The Chimp Channel Harry Waller
Bernard the Sarcastic Cockatoo
Voice only
1999 Dilbert The World's Smartest Garbageman Animated series
1999 Queer Duck Oscar Wildcat
Mr. Duckstein
Other Characters
Animated series
1999 Futurama Kif Kroker
Morbo
Calculon
Lrrr
Horrible Gelatinous Blob
Walt
Hedonism Bot
DonBot
Additional characters
Animated series
1999 Sonic Underground Sleet
SWATbots
Animated series
2000 Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman Mr. Lawrence Talbot Voice only
Animated film
2000 Hard Drinkin' Lincoln John Wilkes Booth Animated series
2001 The Oblongs Tommy Vinegar Animated series
2002 Inspector Gadget's Last Case: Claw's Revenge Inspector Gadget Direct-to-video
Animated film
2002 Hey Arnold!: The Movie Big Bob Pataki
Head of Security
Animated film
2002 Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring Spike and Alley Cat Direct-to-video
Animated film
2002 My Gym Partner's a Monkey Mr. Hornbill
Mr. Blowhole
Pixie Frog
Mandrill
Animated series
2002 Codename: Kids Next Door Father Animated series
2002 Balto II: Wolf Quest Balto Direct-to-video
Animated film
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Horace Direct-to-video
Animated film
2003 K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments Omri and Amos Animated series
2004 Team America: World Police Alec Baldwin Voice only
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Balto Direct-to-video
Animated film
2004 Felix the Cat Saves Christmas Rock Bottom Direct-to-video
Animated film
2004 Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Shorty, one of The Beagle Boys Direct-to-video
animated film
2004 Comic Book: The Movie Himself "Behind the Voices"
Special feature
Live action
2005 Tripping the Rift Gus CGI-animated series
2005 Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever Inspector Gadget Direct-to-video
Animated film
2005 Catscratch Hovis Animated series
2005 Pom Poko Narrator Animated film (English dub)
2006 Tak & the Power of Juju Chief Animated series
2006 Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas Yosemite Sam Animated film
2006 Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Apache Chief
Fred Flintstone
Wally Gator
Quick Draw McGraw
Inch High Private Eye
Atom Ant
Various
Animated series
2006 Shuriken School Mr. No
Naginata
Kubo Utamaro
Zumichito
Daisuke Togakame
Animated series
2006 Operation: Z.E.R.O. Father Animated television film
2006 Casper's Scare School Pirate
Thurdigree Burns
Animated television film
2006 Barnyard Igg the Cow Animated film
2006 Queer Duck: The Movie Oscar Wildcat Direct-to-video
2007 Futurama: Bender's Big Score Kif Kroker
Morbo
Calculon
Lrrr
Additional characters
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2007 Random! Cartoons Klemp
Birdsdorf
Pickle Cop
Dog Catcher
Elecaptain Sam
Bjorn
Working Troll #1
Animated series
2008 Crash: Mind over Mutant Dr. Nitrus Brio Uncredited
Video game
by Radical Entertainment
2008 Futurama: Bender's Game Various characters Direct-to-video
Animated film
2008 The Jewish Nudist Buddhist God Independent film
2008 Guild Wars: Eye of the North Vekk Video game expansion pack
2008 Dead Space: Downfall White
Bavaro
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2008 Tripping the Rift: The Movie Gus Direct-to-video
CGI-animated film
2008 Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs Kif Kroker
Various Characters
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2009 Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder Kif Kroker
The Donbot
Clamps
Calculon
Morbo
Lrrr
Various characters
Direct-to-video
Animated film
2009 Bob & Doug Various characters Animated series
2010-
present
Futurama Kif Kroker
Morbo
Calculon
Lrrr
Horrible Gelatinous Blob
Walt
Hedonism Bot
DonBot
Additional characters
Animated series
2011 Batman: Arkham City Mr. Freeze Video game
by Rocksteady Studios

Other media

References

  1. Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (5th question) Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (8th question)
  2. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (12th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  3. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (18th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  4. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (questions 19-21)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  5. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (Questions 22-26)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  6. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (40th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  7. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (Questions 42-43)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  8. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (43rd question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (51st question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  10. Plume, Ken. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (45th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  11. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (2nd page, Questions 33 and 39". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  12. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (5th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  13. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (3rd page, 27th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  14. "Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (4th page, 19th question)". Quickstopentertainment.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  15. Salem, Rob (2008-09-20). "Zachary Quinto interview: Vulcan vs. Villain". TheStar.com. Retrieved 2008-09-20. Before Quinto was cast, the character's early, off-camera presence was the uncredited work of Toronto-born voice veteran Maurice LaMarche 
  16. "Blatant Bias: Opposite of Dream Creatures". Blatantbias.blogspot.com. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  17. "Axe Cop Episode THREE". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 

External links

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