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Franklin W. "Frank" Welker (born March 12, 1946) is a veteran Americanmarker actor, who specializes in voice acting. He is responsible for a broad spectrum of character voices and other vocal effects that have appeared over the last 40 years in American television and motion pictures.

Welker is listed as number one on the "All Time Top 100 Stars at the Box Office" list by the film website The Numbers, not as a box office draw, but in terms of the total revenue generated by the films he has participated in.

Biography

Early life

Welker was born in Denver, Coloradomarker. He attended college in Californiamarker, where he later began his career appearing in commercials. While in college he appeared in numerous plays, and developed a stand-up comedy act which got him started on the concert circuit touring with The Righteous Brothers and Sergio Mendes. He continued with stand up, appearing in places including Las Vegasmarker and Lake Tahoemarker as the opening act for headliners like Sonny and Cher, Diana Ross, Loretta Lynn, Ann-Margret and Neil Sedaka.

Acting career

Welker's first on camera film role was as a bar fight participant in Stan Dragoti’s Dirty Little Billy. However, his first film role was in The Trouble with Girls, portraying a college kid from Rutgers Universitymarker who befriends Elvis Presley some time in the motion picture. He later co-starred with Don Knotts in Universal’s How to Frame a Figg. Welker also appeared in two Disney films, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and Now You See Him, Now You Don't.

His on camera television appearances included Love American Style, The Partridge Family and The Don Knotts Show. He played a prosecutor in highly acclaimed ABC special The Trial of General Yamashita and as Captain Pace beside Richard Dreyfuss' Yossarian in Paramount television’s pilot, Catch-22. He appeared on Laugh In, The Dean Martin Roast, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour and Laugh Trax. In the latter show, he was a cast member alongside Jim Staahl and Howie Mandel. Frank also played an on camera role of a voice actor on an episode of Simon and Simon. He returned to an on-camera role in the film The Informant, playing Matt Damon's character's father.

Voice acting career

Welker has been referred to as a "voice acting god" (by John DiMaggio and Billy West in the DVD commentary for Futurama) in Hollywoodmarker for the sheer number of voices he has done—over 1,200—ranging from his work on Scooby-Doo to the present day. His voice acting credits include television shows and films such as Curious George, Aladdin, Pocahontas and computer games such as the Baldur's Gate series, and CarnEvil. Frank's ability goes beyond creating human voices and is often cast as animals, monsters, or aliens and used for creature vocals, for example Stripe the gremlin from Gremlins, and Godzilla from the movie of the same name.

Welker starred in more live action movies during the 1990s. His work includes vocal effects for the character of Sil in Species, Goro in 1995's Mortal Kombat, the Devil in 1986's The Golden Child, and Malebolgia in 1997's Spawn. Welker also provided the voice (both speaking and non-speaking) of Nibbler in the cartoon TV series Futurama.

As of 2002, Welker is the voice of both Fred Jones and Scooby Doo. This includes the most recent What's New, Scooby-Doo?, and the series-based spinoff, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!. Welker is so closely connected with Fred that anytime Fred appears (with the exception of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo), it is Welker providing the voice. Also, Welker starred in most of the 2000s Scooby-Doo projects as Fred Jones and Scooby-Doo. He also was Sasquatch in The Legend of Sasquatch. Welker's talent was also recognized in Disney's Stitch: Experiment 626, voicing the jealous and maniacal Experiment 6-2-1.

For the cartoon SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Welker provided the voice of the villainous Dr. Viper. Welker is also (as of 2005-present) the new Garfield voice. He has voiced him in Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest, and Garfield's Pet Force. He also portrays Garfield in the new cartoon series The Garfield Show. Welker voices Vastus and does the effects of Vorox in the upcoming film Bionicle: The Legend Reborn.

Transformers

In the 1980s, Welker voiced many recurring characters in the Transformers animated series. He voiced nine Decepticons: Megatron, Soundwave, Skywarp, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Ratbat. He also did voicework as the Autobots Mirage and Trailbreaker. With the release of the animated film in 1986, he took on the role of the Autobot Wheelie and afterwards, took over the role of Galvatron from Leonard Nimoy. Having already provided the screams for Nimoy's character Mr. Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, this marked the second time he had inherited a role from Nimoy. Welker was asked to audition to reprise his original role of Megatron in the 2007 live action Transformers movie. Apparently due to a conflict in schedules, Welker never met with the producers or director Michael Bay. Bay, however, had Welker send him a couple of recorded lines and concluded that Welker's Megatron did not fit his new interpretation of the character and that having him use a different voice would defeat the purpose of casting him. Although this did not occur in the film itself, Welker reunited with Transformers co-star Peter Cullen in the 2007 Transformers: The Game, with both returning to voice their signature roles. He also reprised his role in the animated prequel, a bonus premium of the DVD package.

Welker also returned to two of his most famous Transformers roles when he portrayed Megatron and Soundwave as part of a spoof in the third season episode of Robot Chicken, aired shortly after the release of the live action film.

Michael Bay's website reported that he was in talks with Frank Welker to reprise his role as the voice of Soundwave for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Roberto Orci later confirmed that Welker was voicing Soundwave. Welker also provides the voice of Devastator, Grindor, Ravage and Reedman.

Filmography

Television animation



Live-action roles



Theater animation



Video games



References

  1. http://www.the-numbers.com/people/records/


External links




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