Can You Identify Famous Film Voices?

Famous Film Voices?In today’s guest post, reader Jack Ralph asks if you can identify film stars just by the sound of their voice:

Many movie and television fans can identify a great number of performers by name immediately by viewing the performers, both on the screen and even in person.

But when one’s eyes are closed, how many performers can one identify immediately by only hearing their voices? Facial characteristics may change, but there are many performers that have (or have had) a certain sound that one can identify immediately by merely hearing them speak.

They can “hide” from view, but can be recognized in many cases when they speak.

Unfortunately, for this “game,” this list of persons is predominately male. It may have been either a problem with my hearing, or perhaps my hearing could not discern the slight differences in resonance or vocal tone of many different women. Many women possess similarities in their voice, giving me difficulty detecting their slightly different dulcet and sultry vocal.sounds. Or, perhaps, the “certain something” of the voices of  Ava Gardner, Joan Crawford, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman and many other terrific actresses and noted women is either absent or is too similar to that of others.

Also, certain men, such as Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness, who have used many voices, makes it  difficult for me to decide which voice to choose for this list.

And I certainly must have forgotten the sounds of many others.

Let’s get down to business. How well do you listen? Can you recognize some of these voices that I can identify? Start counting.

Claude Akins

Eddie Albert

Gracie Allen

Woody Allen

June Allison

Don Ameche

Eddie “Rochester”Anderson

Ann-Margret

Eve Arden

Henry Armetta

Louis Armstrong

James Arness

Desi Arnaz

Edward Arnold

Bea Arthur

Jean Arthur

Fred Astaire

Lew Ayres

Lauren Bacall

Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo)

Pearl Bailey

Lucille Ball

John Banner

Lionel Barrymore

Wallace Beery

Ralph Bellamy

William Bendix

Jack Benny

Gertrude Berg

Willie Best

Charles Bickford

Vivian Blaine

Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, etc.)

Humphrey Bogart

Ray Bolger

Ward Bond

Shirley Booth

Charles Boyer

Eddie Bracken

Terry Bradshaw

Neville Brand

Marlon Brando

Walter Brennan

Charles Bronson

Mel Brooks

Joe E. Brown

Yul Brynner

Billie Burke

Edgar Buchanan

Lester “Smiley” Burnett

George Burns

Raymond Burr

Sam Butera

Pat Buttram

Nicholas Cage

James Cagney

Louis Calhern

Eddy Cantor

Harry Carey, Sr.

Leslie Caron

Jack Carson

Johnny Carson

Jimmy Carter

Jeff Chandler

Carol Channing

Maurice Chevalier

E, J, Cobb

Charles Coburn

James Coburn

Claudette Colbert

Nat Cole

Ronald Coleman

Perry Como

Elisha Cook

Gary Cooper

Howard Cosell

Lou Costello

Joseph Cotton

Wally Cox

Broderick Crawford

Bing Crosby

Tony Curtis

Dan Dailey

Royal Dano

Bette Davis

Doris Day

Sammy Davis, Jr.

William Demarest

Andy Devine

Danny De Vito

Colleen Dewhurst

Billy DeWolfe

Marlena Dietrich

Brian Donlevy

KirkDouglas

Paul Douglas

Howard Duff

Jimmy Durante

Clint Eastwood

Buddy Ebsen

Billy Eckstein

Sam Elliot

Marty Feldman

W.C. Fields

Barry Fitzgerald

Errol Flynn

Henry Fonda

Jane Fonda

Redd Foxx

Clark Gable

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Greta Garbo

John Garfield

Judy Garland

Jamea Garner

Betty Garret

Hermione Gingold

Jackie Gleason

James Gleason

Whoopi Goldberg

Ruth Gordon

Leo Gorsey

Robert Goulet

CaryGrant

Sidney Greenstreet

Andy Griffith

James Gregory

Tom Hanks

Oliver Hardy

Phil Harris

Rex Harrison

Goldie Hawn

SterlingHayden

George “Gabby” Hayes

Van Heflin

Hugh Herbert

Charlton Heston

Alfred Hitchcock

Judy Holliday

Sterling Holloway

Oscar Homolka

Bob Hope

Lena Horne

Edward Everett Horton

Leslie Howard

Rock Hudson

Betty Hutton

Wilfred Hyde-White

Lou Jacobi

Allen Jenkins

Glynis Johns

Van Johnson

James Earl Jones

Al Jolson

Victor Jory

Marvin Kaplan

Boris Karloff

Gene Kelly

Patsy Kelly

Percy Kibride

Werner Klemperer

Jack Klugman

Don Knotts

Otto Kruger

Alan Ladd

Bert Lahr

ArthurLake

Charles Laughton

Stan Laurel

Jack Lemmon

Sheldon Leonard

Oscar Levant

Jerry Lewis

Sophia Loren

Peter Lorre

Joe Louis

Frank Lovejoy

Bela Lugosi

Moms Mabley

Shirley MacLaine

John Madden

Marjorie Main

Dean Martin

Strother Martin

Lee Marvin

Chico Marx

Groucho Marx

Jackie  Mason

James Mason

Raymond Massey

Johnny Mathis

Walter Matthau

Mike Mazurki

Mercedes McCambridge

Reba McEntire

Butterfly McQueen

Steve McQueen

Joel McCrea

Audrey Meadows

Donald Meek

Jack Mercer (Popeye)

Ray Milland

Carmen Miranda

Millard Mitchell

Robert Mitchum

Marilyn Monroe

Alan Mobray

Robert Morley

Audy Murphy

J. Caroll Nash

Patricia Neal

Willie Nelson

David Niven

Jack Nicholson

Lloyd Nolan

Jack Oakie

Edmund O’Brien

Margaret O’Brien

Pat O’Brien

Donald O’Connor

Maria Ouspenskaya

Franklin Pangborn

Alice Pearce

Minnie Pearl

Gregory Peck

Nat Pendleton

LincolnPerry (“Stepin Fetchit”)

Joe Pesci

Brock Peters

Sidney Poitier

Elvis Presley

Robert Preston

Louis Prima

Mae Questel (Betty Boop, Olive Oyl)

Anthony Quinn

Claude Raines

Basil Rathbone

Aldo Ray

Martha Raye

Debby Reynolds

Don Rickles

Thelma Ritter

Joan Rivers

Doris Roberts

Edward G. Robinson

Ginger Rogers

Roy Rogers

Will Rogers

Mickey Rooney

Eleanor Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Rosalind Russell

Margaret Rutherford

S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall

George Sanders

Arnold Schwarzenegger

George C. Scott

Randolph Scott

Tom Selleck

Rod Serling

DinahShore

Jay Silverheels

Phil Silvers

Frank Sinatra

Red Skelton

Walter Slezak

Pete Smith

Smith and Dale (Dr. Kronkeit)

Ann Sothern

Sylvester Stallone

Arnold Stang

Barbara Stanwyck

Jean Stapleton

Rod Steiger

Jimmy Stewart

Barbra Streisand

Ed Sullivan

Shirley Temple

Spencer Tracy

Arthur Treacher

Claire Trevor

Sarah Vaughn

Clint Walker

Nancy Walker

Eli Wallach

Barbara Walters

Rachel Ward

John Wayne

Jack Webb

Orson Welles

Mae West

Betty White

Richard Widmark

Chill Wills

Shelley Winters

Monty Woolley

Loretta Young

How many could you identify?  If you are interested, I can tell you about some of the persons that you may not recognize by name. Can you add any to your own list?

Jack was born in Chicago, grew up in Easton, Pa., attended Lafayette College, Georgetown University, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He served three years in the U.S. Navy as an X-ray technician, but he devoted most of his life both as a volunteer and as a professional working in the field of civil rights where he earned the Secretary’s (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Exceptional Achievement Award for developing printing and publishing guidelines for persons with communication problems. He has been published in several government publications concerning the problems of minorities, handicapped persons and the aging population.

 

  • Wolfingham

    I’m doing this off the cuff, as they say, and I won’t have time for a full reply now. I just want to give you my immediate reaction to some of the names you listed — and it’s quite a list, Jack! Some of those actors and actresses evoke a quote or at least an approximate piece of dialogue that I can hear distinctly, together with their tone of voice. I’m quoting from memory, though, so these examples won’t necessarily be accurate quotes. Here are some:

    Betty White and Bea Arthur on “Golden Girls” talking about a Norwegian dish: (Rose:) “… Geflökenöke!” (Dorothy, gravely:) “So we could say that you brought Genökeflöke into the eighties — ?!”

    Louis Armstrong in “High Society” after he and Crosby played and sang an impromptu number: “NOW we’re gettin’ warm!”

    Fred Astaire affecting a Russian accent as “the great Petrov” in (I believe) “Shall We Dance”: “I mus’ go — to Moscow! Funny, njet?”

    Lew Ayers, as the President of the Quorum of Twelve in the pilot movie of “Battlestar Galactica” (shows you what generation I’m from): “Noble delegates … as we approach the seventh millennium of time, the human race will at last find peace — thanks to you!” (How wrong he was.)

    Lauren Bacall (… need I say it?) in “To Have and Have Not”: “You do know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and — blow!” (Now who was her singing voice, really???)

    Jack Benny in “To Be Or Not To Be”: “So they call me Concentration Camp Erhardt”, as well as: “… that great, great Polish actor, Joseph Tura …”

    Humphrey Bogart … how to choose one line over others? Maybe his answer to Claude Rains’s question why he should have come to Casablanca for the waters: “I was misinformed.”

    Ray Bolger is forever the Scarecrow who gets brains from Frank Marshall’s Wizard of Oz: “The square on the hypothenuse of an isosceles triangle …” and however that goes on (it’s wrong anyway, Pythagoras’ rule refers to a right triangle, famously set to music for Danny Kaye in [I confess I had to look this title up] “Merry Andrew”).

    Charles Boyer … no direct quote comes to my mind, but his accent was distinctive and very nicely parodied in that lovesick cartoon skunk, Pepe le Pew. And of course, who could forget “Knichi”?

    Marlon Brando: “Here in Louisiana we got something called the Napoleonic Code …”, much to the chagrin of Blanche and her sister “Stella!!!!”

    Walter Brennan: “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”, the silly-but-wise test-of-character conundrum only transparent to Lauren Bacall’s “Slim” in “To Have and Have Not”. (Actually, I don’t think I could readily identify Walter Brennan’s voice in any other part than Eddie the rummy.)

    Mel Brooks: Harvey Korman (as Count de Monet): “I’ve got it! Your Majesty, you look like the piss-boy!” Mel Brooks (as Louis XVI): “Wha–?! And you look like a bucket of sh…” (Okay, let’s fade out of the “History of the World Part I”.)

    Joe E. Brown: “Pray do not have me play a woman — I have a beard coming!”, when he is assigned the part of “Thisbe” (“Thisne — Thisnay-bay” according to Cagney’s Bottom) in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

    Yul Brynner I can hear primarily discoursing about Moses to Western diplomats in “The King and I”.

    George Burns: “Have you seen this one?”, when he performs card tricks for the judge to prove that he is you-know-who in “Oh, God!”.

    Well, well — I actually got as far as the B’s! Maybe at some other time I’ll foist some more of my eclectic actors’ sound bite memories on you. The story behind this is, actually, that I am a “secondary” listener to English language movie voices, since I grew up as a German speaker in a German-speaking country with only German-dubbed movies for the first ten or eleven years of my life. Imagine my glee when I discovered what I’d missed: a whole new world of authentic sounds and memorable dialogue! I have grown fond of some classic dubbed versions of mostly classic films and some of the German voices that really did a great job of “transposing” actors into my language. Sometimes one German actor gave his voice to several American movie actors and managed to be convincing, even distinctive, in each characterization. Would you believe that German movie audiences heard the same man do these three comedians in some of their most important films: Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, and Jack Lemmon, and that they “got” and “bought” the personality of each? I am not alone in my appreciation of those talented voice artists: there are websites devoted to identifying and listing them, in all eras of moviedom (and TV-land) (e.g. http://www.deutsche-synchronsprecher.de; http://www.synchrondatenbank.de; http://www.synchronkartei.de).

    But of course, nobody could “do” Bogart, or Brando, or indeed anyone, and really do them justice. That’s why I enjoy English language movies, especially American ones, so much in their original language.

    (I wonder … does anyone read endlessly long posts like this one? Once I get carried away there’s no stopping me. Sorry!)

  • Cara

    Quite a list. Some of them I don’t even recognize much less have a voice to give them. But I don’t agree that women are harder. Kathryn Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Greer Garson, Jeanette MacDonald, Deborah Kerr, Olivia deHavilland, Julie Andrews, Sally Field, Grace Kelly, and that’s just off the top of my head.

    • Cara

      Don’t forget Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Judi Dench.