In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Jim Cummings
Profession: TV Voice Actor
Notable Work: Darkwing Duck, Winnie The Pooh, CatDog
“I realize this is retrospect, but I’ll give everybody a leg up on this one. Do impressions of your relative’s and/ or anybody you just see on TV and if you do a bad impression it’s a new character.”- Jim Cummings
Did you grow up watching cartoons in the 90s? Then you most likely already know Jim Cummings and one of his voices is also likely to be one of your favorite cartoon characters. Jim Cummings is one of those voice actors who has been around since I have been born, creating some of the most iconic and well loved characters among the animated kingdom and helping other actors in times of need such as helping Jeremy Irons sing “Be Prepared” in The Lion King since Irons was having voice trouble at the time.
Jim Cummings grew up in Ohio, but he moved to New Orleans when he got older and started off by designing and painting floats for Mardi Gras as well as worked as a deck hand and played drums and sang in the band, FUSION. He married his wife Stephanie and shortly after moved down to California where he continued to be an working stiff by running a video store, which now do not exist now that Blockbuster is gone sadly. He started his voice acting career in 1984 but didn’t get a credited role until 1985 starting off as Lionel the Lion in the TV show Dumbo’s Circus, and then just the next year, he went on to voice General in the Studio Ghibli classic, Castle in the Sky. His roles started to grow, as well, as did the amount of work, landing him roles in the The Transformers as multiple transformers including: Afterburner, Sharkticon, and Rippersnapper. He also voiced El Capitan in Ducktales. But most people will know him as the replacement for Hal Smith to voice Winnie the Pooh – a character he has voiced since 1988 – and Tigger, too, a role he took over from Paul Winchell as Tigger in 1990 (although Winchell would voice him a couple times later as well). Up until the time where his Winnie the Pooh fame came to be, he continued to voice multiple small roles and some more iconic ones including extra voices on The Little Mermaid and voicing Monterey Jack, Fat Cat and others in Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, solidifying his talent of playing mustached anthropomorphic animals.
If Chip ‘n’ Dale was not your cup of tea, then hold on to your seats because Launchpad McQuack is flying this ship now, and blasting him to some of his even more iconic roles. His next roles in the early ‘90s including Don Karnage in TaleSpin, the title character in Bonkers, Pete in Goof Troop, Taz in Taz-Mania, Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog, and my personal two favorites: Mr. Bumpy in Bump in the Night and Shredder (in season 7 when James Avery could not), Genghis Frog and additional voices in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh, and then, of course, there’s Darkwing Duck. This is arguably the point where his career blew up and the point where his voice was heard the most around the world.
Jim continues to revolutionize the field of voice acting, and his list of credit is almost never ending with over 400 credits to his name and it just continues to grow more and more it seems each day. Once you go into the late ‘90s he still continues to bring some of the most memorable characters from the ‘90s as he plays multiple roles in: Gargoyles, The Tick, Mighty Ducks, Earthworm Jim, The Mask, Freakazoid, Animaniacs, and more. Not to mention major roles as Fuzzy Lumpkins in Powerpuff Girls, and Cat from CatDog, which both even further his credit of being one of the masters of making you enjoy life as we know it when you are a child. Now don’t think he was just an ‘80s and ‘90s guy because, to this day, he still voices Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and the bad guy Pete for almost all Disney projects, including the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He also has created a whole bunch of new characters for this new generation of kids including Ray the firefly from The Princess and the Frog, Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Karu from The Legend of Korra. Jim Cummings will definitely go down into the voice actor hall of fame with the likes of Mel Blanc and Peter Cullen, especially knowing that all he has achieved is just going to get better and even more great character from him are bound to show every year.
Cummings is not just a legendary amazing voice actor he also is a great person to boot. He has worked with Make-a Wish Foundation in the past to call sick children who are under going treatment in hospitals, and he does it in the voice of their favorite character. Can you even imagine being sick as a kid and getting a call from Tigger to wish you well and tell you to get better soon. Heck, if that happened to me in 1995, I may have just beaten my Diabetes altogether. So to grow up and have Cummings’ characters be your heroes, and have them contact you is beyond any dream I could have imagined. Even a call from Shredder would boost my spirits up to a un human like degree. Beside his wonderful charity work, he enjoys having fun with fans at various Cons, making headlines when he read lines of Darth Vader’s from the Star Wars films as Winnie the Pooh during a panel at last year’s ConnectiCon. If that doesn’t impress you, it may just be my tummy rumbling for honey but I would find your lack of humor disturbing…
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (Disney, Nickelodeon Network, Peter Hannan Productions). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with big-time nerd and Walking Dead‘s Merle, Michael Rooker.