Animated characters are so believable that you often forget there’s an actor behind the role. The animation delivers the facial and bodily expressions, so the actor’s main role is to deliver the voice.

The following talented actors were so completely absorbed into their character that you might not recognize them as the voice behind the animation. Check out the list below.

1. Shark Tale’s Lola


Will Smith played the standout character, Oscar, in the hit movie Shark Tale. It should have been all about him, but the evil and vivacious Lola somehow stole the show. Lola played a vengeful villain – aptly described by her theme song, “Gold Digger.”

The animators did a marvelous job bringing Lola to life, but it was the smooth tones of Angelina Jolie that made the character stand out.

Jolie’s delivery highlighted the character’s greed and vengeance, so it will always be remembered as one of the best animated villains.

2. Atlantis: The Lost Empire’s Kashekim Nedakh


Leonard Nimoy has such a distinguished career that you’d hardly expect him to be a part of an animated project. However, the actor’s commitment to excellence was evident – even when he’s unseen – in his portrayal of Kashekim Nedakh.

Working alongside Michael J. Fox and Cree Summer – a known voice-acting veteran- Nimoy still takes charge and transforms the weary King into a wise Emperor.

The Lost Empire is Disney’s first attempt to move past the traditional song and dance routines and into uncharted territory. The film carries a more mature subject matter but still appeals to the younger Disney fans.

Nimoy managed to strike the right balance, so everyone enjoyed the filmed.

3. Finding Nemo’s Dory


Ellen DeGeneres was well known before she played Dory in Finding Nemo – but the character made her a household name.

This list of the best vocal performances of our time wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Dory. Ellen does an excellent job of making viewers fall in love with the naïve and insufferable character.

It’s hard to imagine another voice that could highlight Dory’s wisdom and humor as well as Ellen did. Every step of the way, Ellen was on point and, in the process, made Dory one of the most memorable animated characters.

4. The Simpsons’ Mr. Bergstrom


An all-time American classic and much loved show, there are many notable Simpsons’ episodes. However, the episode titled, “Lisa’s Substitute” is one of the greatest. This is in part due to Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a teacher that most people wish they had.

It’s unfortunate that the show’s credits didn’t list Hoffman for his role in this episode but diehard fans picked up the actors voice and the show’s references to his role in The Graduate. The episode is unforgettable, and that’s mainly due to Hoffman’s incredible performance.

5. The Looney Tunes’ Lola Bunny


Kristen Wiig’s performance in Bridesmaids helped her career take off in Hollywood. So there were some raised eyebrows when her name came up as a possible candidate for the role as Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend, Lola.

Fortunately, Wiig stuck to her guns and accepted the role, and she gave new light to the foolish, ditzy, jealous, looking for love oddball that was Lola.

Characters are only as memorable as the voices behind them, and Lola made her way into numerous hearts due to Kristen Wiig’s vocal excellence.

6. Arthur – The Backstreet Boys as Themselves


Arthur, the beloved kids TV show, have always featured celebrity voices. However, the creators outdid themselves when they brought in the Backstreet Boys for the show’s second TV special.

Muffy Crosswire, annoying and adorable, has a dream to take over Backstreet Boys’ management, but her father’s success at the car dealership cannot help her here. She holds on to her dream and somehow gets a compliment from Howie – although she would have preferred one from Nick.

The Backstreet Boys’ presence on this TV special makes it a memorable and touching one.

7. A Bug’s Life – Hopper


Kevin Spacey might have been out of his comfort zone when he took up the challenge to play an exuberant kid at Halloween. Still, his performance as Hopper in A Bug’s Life trumps all his other roles.

In a movie where every word mattered, Kevin’s vocal acting turned Hopper into such a force that he became king of his colony. His intimidating words and attitude brought all the other bugs into subservience. It’s a role that kids won’t easily forget.

8. Lilo and Stitch – Nani


Playboy and Disney don’t traditionally go together; except for that one time when a Playboy cover model, Tia Carrere made her mark on Disney. Carrere’s selection for the role had little to do with her physical appearance though.

Her talent is evident in the superb job she does of portraying a loving sister who has to care for her younger sibling. Little more than a child herself, Nani takes up her responsibilities without complaints. She and her sister Lilo face challenges that go beyond the depth of traditional Disney movies.

Carrere’s ability to capture the essence of the character she portrays is one reason why the movie became an instant hit.

9. Kung Fu Panda – Monkey


Jack Black does an amazing job as Panda in the hit show, but he’s in good company. Although his role is extremely underutilized, Jackie Chan brings it when he provides the voice to Monkey in Kung Fu Panda.

Truly, no martial arts comedy, will be the same – even animated ones- without Jackie Chan. So despite his almost insignificant role, Jackie Chan still makes the few lines delivered by Monkey memorable ones.

The next time you’re privileged to watch the movie, listen carefully for Chan’s voice, and it will give you a new appreciation for the talented Monkey.

10. Despicable Me’s Gru


Gru’s white picket fence home in a suburban neighborhood provides the perfect cover for his secret hideout. The evil villain and his small army of minions plan the biggest heist in world’s history – they plan to steal the moon.

Gru loves everything evil, and armed with an arsenal of freeze rays, shrink rays and battle-ready vehicles, he gets rid of anyone who stands in his way.

Steve Carell played several different roles in his extensive career, but none so well as the evil villain Gru.

While Gru’s vocation is somewhat questionable, the unbelievably sweet moments between him and three orphan girls, who see him as a potential dad, makes this movie one of the best family films.