We love talking about the stars. We’re fascinated by their work, their lives and their looks. When it comes the latter, there’s a weird little side effect to speaking about someone’s appearance: peeps get offended. So, let’s clear the air a bit. We’re not trying to be mean. When we call someone weird looking, all we’re trying to say is that the actor doesn’t look as good as other people. Is that acceptable? OK, good. No, seriously, we’re looking at people who have a very singular look. No matter how much we may think they’re special because of their looks, their looks limit the type of work they get. It’s the basic math of Hollywood.
Speaking of weird, acting is a weird profession. If you look too “normal,” you’ll almost certainly never make it. If you look too different, like the actors on this list, you’ll find roles, but they won’t be starring roles and they might not be the type of roles you want. The most unique looking actors often find themselves typecast as villains, monsters and, well, weirdos. It’s not ideal in a PC world but this is the reality we live in.
As one of these “special-looking” actors, one of the ways of overcoming the typecasting difficulties they face in the industry is by switching to voicework. Voicework in animation allows actors to use their voice talents as opposed to their looks and their bodies. It just so happens that unique-lookers are also commonly unique-sounders, so it’s a mutual attraction between actor and industry.
We’ve gone through and identified some of these “weird” looking actors to see which of them have made the switch to voice acting. This isn’t an activity in shaming; it’s a celebration. So, let’s smile and congratulate these actors on their accomplishments. Here are 15 weird looking actors who have turned to voice acting.
15. Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment is back with a flurry of work in the last few years, but there was a time when voice acting seemed like it was where he would land. After The Sixth Sense, Osment would do the odd true acting gig, like Secondhand Lions, but the vast majority of his work was voicework. Like many new child actors, this little guy found transitioning into his teenage years a bit awkward. Voice acting hid this change splendidly and he could continue to use his talents without being looked at. Today, he looks even stranger than he did then, but he’s embraced his inner comedian and, everyone knows comedians can look weird. Plus, he’s far too talented to keep off the screen anyways, so we’re glad he’s back.
14. Brad Garrett
Being a hulking 6’8″ man has its advantages in Hollywood, but it also has its drawbacks. Take Brad Garrett for example. He will likely always be best known as Robert from Everybody Loves Raymond, though he’s done some excellent work since then (see Fargo for a recent example), but it’s tough for him to fit into ordinary roles. You see, he is far from ordinary. With his big voice and such a specific look, Garrett has become a prime suspect for voice work. Over the years, he’s voiced some major characters in massive films, like Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, the Night at the Museum franchise and countless others. It’s not a secret that Garrett has a weird look, so we won’t shy away from saying it, but we also won’t be looking way up to say it to his face either.
13. Whoopi Goldberg
The reasons why Whoopi Goldberg isn’t front and center on TV shows and in film anymore are many, but we’ve included her in this list because she looks different than your typical movie star. She’s also looked that exact same way for the last 30 years. But good on her for not crumbling under the pressure of the industry. One of the reasons why she’s not everywhere anymore is because she’s been one of the hosts of The View for many years. You know how many times Whoopi has played Whoopi in a show or movie? Like 20 times. Even when she isn’t playing Whoopi, she’s playing Whoopi, if you catch our meaning. In terms of her voice acting, she’s also got a really unique voice and she’s a great comedian, both things which work well in animation. All of that combined makes it unsurprising that she’s drifted from the front of the camera and has voiced characters in The 7D, Robot Chicken, Liberty’s Kids and Toy Story.
12. Atticus Shaffer
Saying someone looks weird is bad enough, but when they have a condition like Atticus Shaffer does, you become an animal for doing so. Shaffer has osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that causes fragile bones and has led to Shaffer’s small stature. At 18, this actor looks much younger and smaller than he really is. This has had its pros and cons for Shaffer. It has allowed him to portray characters younger than himself but also has limited the roles he can play in Hollywood. You may say bahooey to this, or you may use another term, but it doesn’t matter what you say because it’s true. Stars are limited by their looks all the time and Shaffer is no different. What this young actor did to overcome this, however, is get into voice acting. When he hasn’t been acting on The Middle in person, Shaffer has had voice roles on The Lion Guard and Steven Universe. He’s also voiced characters in Super Buddies and Frankenweenie.
11. Jon Lovitz
You’re thinking, What the heck? Jon Lovitz is still a normal actor! Why is he on this list? Well, where has he been then? In the last several years, with the exception of a recurring role in the TV series Mr. Box Office, Lovitz has stuck mainly to voice roles. Is it because of his iconic voice and quick wit or do his looks have anything to do with it? Who knows for sure, but it’s clear that Hollywood is more willing to pay him as a voice actor than as a seen actor. Or maybe Lovitz is at a point in his career that he doesn’t need to act with his skin and body anymore and he just wants to use that voice of his, that incredibly annoying and pitchy voice.
10. Edie McClurg
Edie McClurg is a comedian who was type casted as the happy Midwestern gal early on, but she has been able to find an amazing amount of work throughout her career. Her biggest roles to date still have to be Mrs. Patty Poole on The Hogan Family, Mrs. Burns in A River Runs Through It and Grace in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Even in the early years, McClurg was doing voice work, so it’s not like this is a new transition for her, but she was never going to be the star of the show. So, over time, her focus became the voices and animated work. She grew her resume with an incredible amount of work, voicing characters in Cars and Cars 2, The Little Mermaid, Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen.
9. Jaleel White
One of TV’s greatest mysteries is what the hell the crowd was woooooing about whenever Jaleel White came on set as Stefan and not Steve Urkel on Family Matters. Dude looked exactly the same. He just changed his clothes. Did people really think he was attractive or were they just trying to be nice? Since then, White’s done a lot of work, so we’re not trying to say that he is only a voice actor, but we are saying that his best work was on Family Matters as Steve Urkel and on Sonic the Hedgehog as the voice of Sonic. After Family Matters finished, White went back to the Sonic well and voiced the character in Sonic Underground for two more years. If you’re wondering, he’s still acting and doing voice work. Most recently, he was the voice of Kahn in The Guardians of Luna.
8. Mara Wilson
Remember Mara Wilson, that cute little girl from Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Miracle on 34th Street? Well, she disappeared for about 12 years after 1999’s Balloon Farm, an actual movie, and 2000’s Thomas and the Magic Railroad. One of her last roles was a voice role for the Batman Beyond TV series in 1999, when she voiced Tamara. Well, she’s back, sort of. Though we haven’t seen a lot of her, we’ve heard her voice on BoJack Horseman as Jill Pill and Quail Mother. You’re like, aww, but she’s so cute. Nah, the industry didn’t think so. When asked why she left in the first place. Wilson says that it was because of image-obsessed Hollywood that made her leave, which makes this awkward for everyone. “I realized, ‘I don’t fit their idea of what a Hollywood actress looks like, so there’s no room for me here,’” she said. “It’s hard to come out of that sane and without some serious doubts about yourself.”
7. Ron Howard
Sometimes, as humans, we start out as cute or handsome and we grow into other things. For Ron Howard, the legendary director and former child star, the thing he grew into was an ugly person. Ok, maybe ugly is not the right word, but he’s never been called attractive. What’s the opposite of attractive? Howard went from a cute kid on The Andy Griffith Show to a semi-handsome teenager on Happy Days to a strange looking director. Howard still got to act though, by the magic of hiding your real face behind animation or in a voiceover. Since 1999, Howard has done almost all his acting work with his voice, sounding off in Arrested Development, The Simpsons, Osmosis Jones and more. You go girl.
6. Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Hold your horses for a second. We admit that Thomas Brodie-Sangster was really cute as a kid and a young teen. You could even make the argument that he’s still a cute kid. The problem, and the reason why he’s on this list, is because he’s not a kid. He’s like 30 years old and he still has his 12-year-old face on. It’s off-putting and we don’t like it. That being said, he’s a hell of an actor and were glad that Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw through all that weirdness and cast him. Back in 2007, when Brodie-Sangster realized that he was going to look 11 for the rest of his life, he did the smart thing and started voicing animated characters. He took on the voice of Ferb in Phineas and Ferb and has been doing it ever since. Most recently he also got a voice role on Thunderbirds are Go.
5. Tahj Mowry
We hope that the 500,000 or so viewers of Baby Daddy excuse us on this one because Tahj Mowry has been acting in-person recently and he’s a really handsome guy now, but that’s a recent development. Back in the mid to late 90s, Mowry was a child star. He was on Full House and Sister, Sister and even had his own show, The Smart Guy. In each of these shows, Mowry played the weirdest kid alive, T.J. Henderson (Teddy). After The Smart Guy ended, this weird little bugger couldn’t land anymore bigtime roles, so he did what any smart, weird looking kid would do and went into voice acting. Soon after, he was voicing Wade Load in Kim Possible and was bringing home the bacon once more. Father time blessed him with good looks in his later life too, so he was even allowed to come back in front of the camera.
4. Ron Perlman
Of all the actors on this list, Ron Perlman is our favorite. He’s brilliant, but he’s got a face only a mother could love. It’s a powerful face, don’t get us wrong, but it’s not the look that Hollywood typically seeks out in a leading man, unless that face is going to be covered in makeup or a mask like Hellboy. Well, Perlman realized this but he didn’t want to forsake his talents. He took his big ol’ face and hid it behind animated characters. He’s done voices for Adventure Time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Archer, numerous video game characters and countless comic book characters. The guy is awesome. He’s just not very “Hollywood handsome.”
3. Wallace Shawn
Wallace Shawn, if you didn’t recognize the name, played Vizzini in The Princess Bride. If you haven’t seen his work on Mozart in the Jungle, you might think that he had disappeared from acting, but that’s not the case. He’s just taken on a new form of acting. Can you guess it? Nope, not that. Voice acting was the answer we were looking for. Despite his weird face, Shawn has put together a stellar resume of voicework over the past 20 years on films such as the Toy Story franchise, Family Guy and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. His is a story of empowerment and overcoming unspeakable odds, no pun intended.
2. Tony Todd
Is it weird to be terrifying? We thought so and that’s why Tony Todd makes the list. Todd had been making a living as an actor since the mid 80s, but he never really rose to prominence until he landed the role of Candyman in 1992. While that role made him a very recognizable face in the industry and a legend in the world of horror, it also made him into something he couldn’t escape. Years later, Todd is still doing a lot of work in front of the camera, but he’s doubled down on his voice, bringing to life characters in Transformers Prime and The Flash TV series and many others.
1. Mark Hamill
A lot has been written about Mark Hamill‘s face and how he went from cute to weird after his horrific car accident in 1977. It’s difficult to say if it was the accident or time that had the most to do with Hamill’s degrading looks, but we’re going to go ahead and call a spade a spade. Luke got uglier and not even the force could save him. It doesn’t make him any less of a man or any less awesome; it is what it is. Either way, after the original Star Wars trilogy and Luke Skywalker, Hamill turned to voice acting. There were a number of rumors as to why he made the switch, from his shaken confidence in front of the camera to his scars becoming more visible. Only he knows for sure. What we know for sure is that Hamill has become one of the most prolific voice actors of all time. That and he looked badass as a grizzled Jedi in Force Awakens.