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Peter Cullen (born December 1, 1944) is a Canadian voice actor who is arguably best known as the voice of Optimus Prime and Ironhide, in the original Transformers series and the narrator in both American Voltron series (he would subsequently reprise his role as Optimus in Michael Bay's live-action Transformers film series).

Private Life

Cullen was born in Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker on December 1st 1944 He is a member of the first graduating class of the National Theatre School of Canada, which graduated in 1963.

Cullen has three children: Clay, Claire, and Pilar E. Cullen; and one grandchild.

Career

In addition, he has played Coran and King Alfor in the Lion Voltron series, the transforming spaceship/robot Ramrod in the 1980s anime series Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Commander James Hawkins in the Vehicle Voltron series, Eeyore in Winnie-the-Pooh, KARR in Knight Rider, Antor and Bomba, and Gunner, in Dino-Riders, and Mantus in The Pirates of Dark Water. In 1968, he appeared as 'Giles' with Joan Stuart as 'Penelope' in 'L'Anglaise', a CBC comedy about a French-Canadian husband with an English-Canadian wife (CBC's 'Funny You Should Say That'). He also performed a French-Canadian astronaut character named Bebe LaToque alongside Ted Zeigler for a 1969 children's show on CFCF-TVmarker in Montrealmarker.

In the 1980s and the 1990s, Cullen appeared on a number of television shows, including My Little Pony, Pound Puppies as Captain Slaughter, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and My Friends Tigger and Pooh as Eeyore, Filmation's Ghostbusters, The Smurfs, Dungeons & Dragons as Venger, Snorks, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry Kids Show, DuckTales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Challenge of the GoBots, Rude Dog and the Dweebs as Herman, Rainbow Brite as Murky Dismal, The Biskitts as Scratch, Robotix, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers as the original voice of Monterey Jack, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, The Little Engine That Could as Pete, the powerful freight engine, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, The Jetsons and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. He also had a voice part in Gremlins as a gremlin and in both the first season of the Original Knight Rider Series and the first season of the 2008 Knight Rider Series as KARR. He also did voicework in The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible series, notably as the king of Nineveh in the Jonah episode. He played the evil sorcerer Renwick in the lesser known series Little Wizards and played Cindarr in the short-lived series Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light.

Among many other television shows and movies, he has also lent his basso voice to many movie trailers and television commercials, including announcing for the blocks Toonami and You Are Here on the Cartoon Network. Cullen spent some of his early professional years in Montreal as a radio announcer/DJ on CKGMmarker; and as a character in a then-popular local television kids show. He acted the role of a French-Canadian astronaut, along with writer and his partner on the show, Ted Ziegler. Both Ziegler and Cullen were spotted in the credits and doing small cameo walk-ons in various comedic roles on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, as well as other network comedies of the era.

He also voiced Nintendo's mascot Mario in the Donkey Kong segments on Saturday Supercade, making him the first person to ever provide a voice for the character.

Cullen has also done voicework on drum and bass DJ Dieselboy's 2004 album, The Dungeonmaster's Guide. He also did voicework for the unreleased Blizzard Entertainment game Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, and provided narration for the Star Wars fan film I.M.P.S.: The Relentless.

Cullen reprised the role of Optimus Prime in the 2007 Transformers live-action movie, and its sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He himself originally had a short cameo in Revenge of the Fallen, but this was eventually removed from the final cut. He is signed on for the third movie in the franchise. Jess Harnell was cast to voice Ironhide, who Cullen voiced in the original series. Cullen was offered the chance to reprise Optimus in an episode of Robot Chicken, but refused, as he took the role too seriously to make fun of it, which the crew respected enough to accept his rejection. He has stated that of all the voices he has done, Optimus is his favorite.

In interviews, he has said that he had no idea of Optimus' popularity until the character's controversial death in the 1986 animated film, as the studio had never given him fan letters from children addressed to Optimus. The public backlash over Optimus' death surprised producers greatly. Children were leaving the theaters because of them killing Optimus Prime, despite the writers' intent to revive the character in Season 3 during the "Return Of Optimus Prime" two-part episode.

References

  1. [1]
  2. Blizzard Entertainment - Press News - Coming Soon Magazine


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