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8 classic TV stars who appeared in animation

Everyboy knows their faces, but did you recogize their voices? Here are 8 classic TV actors who appeared in animated roles!

1

Ed Asner — Up

Image: Walt Disney Studios

If you're a fan of classic TV, then you're sure to have seen Ed Asner on your screens. With a career spanning multiple decades, Asner is best known for his role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-offs. Starting in the '90s Asner would also start appearing in animated projects. Arguably one of Asner's best animated outings is as Carl Fredricksen in Disney-Pixar's animated masterpiece Up. Up focuses on Carl, a grumpy old man who lost his wife, and with her, his love of adventure. With the help of Russell, his unlikely scout friend, Carl goes on an impromptu journey to the rainforest, in his house propelled by thousands of balloons, and regains his love for adventure along the way. 

2

Rhea Perlman — Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Image: Disney Platform Distribution

A big fixture in sitcoms in the late-'70s and early-'80s before starring in her own show Pearl in the '90s, Rhea Perlman is another sitcom actor who went into animation. Known for playing Zena Sherman on Taxi and Carla Tortelli on Cheers, Perlman's wit and loving snark shined through in her characters, making her a fan favorite. That snark transfers over into the Star Wars universe when she came on to voice Cid in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Cid is a Trandoshan fixer, helping people across the galaxy with jobs that are supposed to fly under the radar. She becomes a mentor for the titular Bad Batch when they have to come to terms with the the new state of the galaxy. under the reign of the new Galactic Empire.

3

John Ratzenberger — Toy Story

Image: Walt Disney Studios

Another Cheers alumnus, John Ratzenberger is a sitcom actor who dipped into the animation scene. He's best known for his role as Cliff Clavin, Norm's best friend on Cheers and one of the show's regulars, appearing on every single episode of the series' 270 episode run. After Cheers ended in 1993, Ratzenberger would jump headlong into doing voice work, starting with what is arguably his most recognizable voice role, Hamm in the the Toy Story franchise. A smart-mouthed piggybank, Hamm is always cracking jokes at the expense of his fellow toys, even if he does care for them deeply. Hamm has appeared in every single Toy Story sequel and most of its spin-off shorts, making this another long-lasting role for Ratzenberger.

4

Don Adams — Inspector Gadget

Image: Lexington Broadcast Services

If there was one thing Don Adams was known for, it was his portrayal of bumbling spies. Starting off in the wildly popular Get Smart as the titular character Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86, Adams would end up being typecast into the role of the bumbling and wasn't really able to get out of it. After Get Smart, Adams would have a stint on The Love Boat before going on to voice the Inspector Gadget in the show of the same name. Playing a character remarkably similar to Maxwell, Gadget was a buffoon who could never correctly control his cybernetic enhancements, more often than not making things worse before they became better. Adams would go on to voice Gadget in a few spin-offs before retiring from the role in 1999.

5

Danny Devito — Hercules

Image: Buena Vista Productions

Danny DeVito is one of those actors that's instantly recognizable in any role he's in. DeVito usually gravitates to roles that have a sort of mischievous side to them. One of Devito's best known roles is Louie de Palma, the head dispatcher of the Sunshine Cab Company. Louie is a shady character, typically boasting about his exploits and trying to take advantage of the other cast members. Despite this less-than-stellar demeanor, Louie is one of the show's most loved characters. After Taxi ended in 1983, DeVito would work on other projects and get into voice acting, landing the role of Philoctetes in Disney's Hercules in 1997. A grouchy, rude, old satyr, Phil would exhibit many qualities of DeVito's prior characters but he would become truly invested in training Hercules from Zero to Hero. 

6

Marilu Henner — Batman: The Animated Series

Image: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Alongside Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner was one of the main cast members of Taxi, appearing on every single episode. Her character, Elaine, was a divorced mother of two who took her job at Sunny Cab to try and make ends meet. Always trying to find her way in the world and become a famous artist,  Elaine would usually clash with Louie on multiple occasions. After Taxi, Henner would go on to do many roles in the sitcom space, before being brought on to Batman: The Animated Series. Henner would take on the role of Veronica Vreeland, a rich Gotham socialite who would throw extravagant parties. Veronica would become a target for multiple villains, always being saved by Batman.

7

Carol Kane — Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure

Image: Disney Television Production

Carol Kane was someone who was all over classic TV. Best known for her role as Simka Dahblitz-Gravas on Taxi, she would play against Andy Kaufman's character Latka. The two of them, coming from the same country but being from different cultures, would fight with each other frequently. The two would actually grow closer and marry towards the end of the series. Carol would go on to appear in Rhea Perlman's Pearl and other roles in sitcoms including a guest starring role on Cheers. Kane would make the jump to the animated space in the '90s but wouldn't have a consistent role until 2018, when she played Madame Canardist in Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure. Canardist is a minor antagonist on the show, attempting to swindle Rapunzel and her boyfriend Eugene with her pet monkey Vigor.

8

Bob Newhart — The Rescuers

Image: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Alongside Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner was one of the main cast members of Taxi, appearing on every single episode. Her character, Elaine, was a divorced mother of two who took her job at Sunny Cab to try and make ends meet. Always trying to find her way in the world and become a famous artist,  Elaine would usually clash with Louie on multiple occasions. After Taxi, Henner would go on to do many roles in the sitcom space, before being brought on to Batman: The Animated Series. Henner would take on the role of Veronica Vreeland, a rich Gotham socialite who would throw extravagant parties. Veronica would become a target for multiple villains, always being saved by Batman.

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