Billy West


Billy West

Infobox actor voice | name = Billy West


birthname = William Richard West
birth_date = birth date and age|1952|04|16
birth_place = Detroit, Michigan
occupation = Voice actor
alias =
gender = Male
status =2
title =
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
ethnic =
religion =
salary =
networth =
credits = "Futurama"
as Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan
"Ren & Stimpy"
as Stimpy (1991-96) and Ren (1993-1996)
"Doug"
as Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz
"Extreme Ghostbusters"
as Slimer
"Brandy and Mr. Whiskers"
as Mr. Whiskers and Gaspar LeGecko| URL = http://www.billywest.com
agent = [http://www.icmtalent.com International Creative Management]

William Richard "Billy" West (born on April 16, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American voice actor, known for roles on television shows such as "The Ren and Stimpy Show", "Futurama", "Doug" and "Queer Duck".

Major roles

Television

West has been in television since the late 1980s. His first role was for the 1988 revived version of "Beany and Cecil". West's first two high-profile roles came almost simultaneously: "Doug" and "Ren & Stimpy", which were two of the first original three Nicktoons (the other being "Rugrats"). Over his career West has been the voice talent for close to 120 different characters including some of the most iconic animated figures in television history. He (along with Joe Alaskey) has become one of few voice actors who can impersonate Mel Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons. West's favorite characters are those he originated: Philip J. Fry and Stimpy. [http://www.billywest.com/index4.htm Billy West F.A.Q.] . Accessed October 26, 2006.]

"Ren & Stimpy"

West provided the voice of Stimpy in Nickelodeon's "The Ren and Stimpy Show" from 1991 until 1996, and he provided the voice of Ren from 1993-1996 (after Ren's original voice and series creator John Kricfalusi was fired by Nickelodeon). West performed other characters on the series as well, such as Mr. Horse (another role that West assumed after Kricfalusi's departure) and the "Announcer/Salesman" of such shorts as the "Log" ads (a voice West would years later use as the Narrator for "The Weird Al Show").

According to West, he was originally supposed to do the voice of both Ren and Stimpy (and performed both characters on the tape that was used to sell the show to Nickelodeon), but then Kricfalusi chose instead that he would voice Ren. [ [http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/15/billy-west-the-tv-squad-interview/ TVsquad.com interview (20th question)] Accessed January 29, 2007] However, West provided Ren's maniacal laughter when John Kricfalusi was the voice of Ren.

"Project Geeker"

West was the voice of the show's namesake, "Geeker" throughout "Project Geeker"'s 13 episode run.

"Futurama"

Billy West's roles in "Futurama" include Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan, as well as various other incidental characters. As he and other "Futurama" cast and crew point out in DVD commentaries, West spoke to himself quite often during recording.

West went into the "Futurama" auditions and tried out for, as he says, "just about every part"; [ [http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/15/billy-west-the-tv-squad-interview/ TVsquad.com interview (31st question)] Accessed January 29, 2007] eventually landing the professor, Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan. It wasn't until some casting changes were made that West got the part of Fry, which originally had gone to Charlie Schlatter. [ [http://movies.ign.com/articles/652/652770p1.html IGN.com interviews Billy West (3rd question)] Accessed January 29, 2007] While West is known for doing many different and unique voices, the voice he does for Philip J. Fry is often considered to be closer to his natural voice than any other character he has done (In an audio commentary, he states Fry is just himself at age 25). This similarity, West acknowledges, was done purposefully in order to make it harder to replace him in the part. [ [http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/15/billy-west-the-tv-squad-interview/ TVsquad.com interview (32nd question)] Accesed March 10, 2007]

The part of Zapp Brannigan was created for Phil Hartman, but he was murdered before the show started and West assumed the role. West has described his interpretation of Zapp Brannigan's voice as an imitation of Hartman, but described the actual vocalizations of the character as being based on old-time radio announcers. [ [http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/15/billy-west-the-tv-squad-interview/ TVsquad.com interview (59th question)] Accessed January 29, 2007] However, West has contradicted himself somewhat in other interviews in saying that he was not, in fact, imitating Hartman. [ [http://movies.ign.com/articles/652/652770p1.html IGN.com interviews Billy West (2nd page, 1st question)] Accessed January 29, 2007]

"Futurama" has been renewed by Comedy Central for at least 16 new episodes [ [http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/22/new-episodes-of-futurama-coming-to-comedy-central-for-real/ TVsquad.com article on Futurama's return] ] broken into four direct-to-video movies, the first of which is "". West is confirmed to reprise his original roles.

"Invader Zim"

West was the voice of Zim in the original pilot for Nickelodeon's "Invader Zim". cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0921942/ |title=Billy West (II) |accessdate=2007-07-11 |work=Internet Movie Database |publisher=Internet Movie Database ] Richard Horvitz was chosen for the series role because West's voice was too recognizable, according to "Invader Zim" creator Jhonen Vasquez during DVD commentary.

Movies

Perhaps West's most notable film work came in the 1996 movie "Space Jam". Starring alongside Michael Jordan, West provided the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. West reprised the roles of Bugs and Fudd in subsequent Looney Tunes feature-length films and even returned as Fudd in the theatrically-released "".

In 1998, West starred in the direct-to-video film "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island" as Shaggy, becoming the second person to portray the character (the first being Casey Kasem).

In 2004, West voiced the classic character Popeye in the 75th anniversary film ', and made his live-action film debut in Mark Hamill's '. He also appeared in a cameo in "".

Other films featuring West's vocal talents include "Joe's Apartment", "Cats & Dogs", "Olive, the Other Reindeer", "The Proud Family Movie", and three Tom & Jerry direct-to-video movies.

Selected filmography

Other media

Radio

Throughout the 1980s, Billy West provided character voices on Charles Laquidara's "Big Mattress" radio show on Boston's WBCN. West was also one half of the award winning WBCN Production team (with Boston radio vet Dave Wohlman) from 1981-1983.

From 1989 through 1995, West provided "The Howard Stern Show" with character voices such as Jim Backus, Raymond Burr, Connie Chung, Pat Cooper, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis "Red" Deutsch, David Dinkins, Mia Farrow, Larry Fine, Pete Fornatel, Frank Gifford, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mark Goddard, Bobcat Goldthwait, the Greaseman, Rudolph Giuliani, Jonathan Harris, Leona Helmsley, Lance Ito, Elton John, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Martling (as the Jackie puppet), Ed McMahon, Al Michaels, Bill Mumy, Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, Maury Povich, Soon-Yi Previn, Marge Schott, Frank Sinatra, Rae Stern (Howard Stern's mother), George Takei, Joe Walsh, and Robin Williams until eventually leaving the show over money. [ [http://www.ugo.com/channels/dvd/features/billywest/default.asp Interview with UGO.com (20th question)] Accessed January 29, 2007.] West has also been an occasional contributor to "The Adam Carolla Show", a syndicated morning radio show that replaced Stern's show along West Coast American cities, generally sitting in for an extended portion of the show every other Thursday.

On February 19 and 20, 2007, "The Howard Stern Show" ran a special two-part retrospective of West's work with the show. It marked his first work with the show since leaving after his last show on November 1, 1995. West has since claimed that he left the Stern show because WXRK/CBS management refused to give him a sufficient pay raise.

Commercial television

Billy West was the announcer of the program "Screen Gems Network" which ran from 1999-2001. He was also the promotional announcer for The Comedy Channel before it merged with HA! to become Comedy Central.

Over his career, Billy West has voiced multiple characters in television commercials.

These include (but are not limited to):
* The red M&M.
* BuzzBee, the honey nut bee for Honey Nut Cheerios.
* An alien for Pentium 4.
* "Popeye" for Minute Maid.
* "Babe Ruth" and "Bruce Lee" for Brisk Iced Tea.
* "A Midget Priest" for Oxy

"Speed Racer" for Volkswagen

West voiced the "Speed Racer" character in a late-1990s advertisement for Volkswagen's GTI, because the commercial's producers couldn't locate Peter Fernandez, the original voice of Speed. However, the producers did locate Corinne Orr, the original voice for both the "Trixie" and "Spritle" characters.Fact|date=December 2007

Video games

West's talents have also extended into the realm of video games. Characters most notably voiced by West are perhaps Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in numerous Looney Tunes video games.

Other video game characters voiced by Billy West include:
* Dr. John Zoidberg in "The Simpsons Game" (2007)
* Sparx in "" (2007)
* Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, and Dr. John Zoidberg in "Futurama" (2003).
* Ninja in "I-Ninja" (2003).
* Nash and Zam in Crash Nitro Kart (2003).
* Murfy in "Rayman 3" (2003).
* Murfy in "Rayman Arena" (2002).
* Muttley and L'il Gruesome in "Wacky Races" (2000, 2001, 2008).
* Voice of Red, the red M&M in "M&Ms: The Lost Formulas" (2000).
* Hamton J. Pig in
* Atomic Bomberman in Atomic Bomberman
* Screaming Angry Pizza Guy in ""
* Emilio Baza in ""

Music

West is also a guitarist and singer-songwriter with a band called Billy West and The Grief Counselors. Their first album, "Me-Pod", is now available for purchase. [ [http://cdbaby.com/cd/billywest Billy West and the Grief Counselors on CDbaby.com] ]

In 1982, West sang lead, doing an impersonation of Mike Love, on a Beach Boys-inspired tune, "Another Cape Cod Summer This Year," by studio band ROUTE 28, written and produced by Erik Lindgren on his Arf! Arf! Records label.Fact|date=June 2008

West also sang on a Christmas song from a WBCN limited release with Tom Sandman called "Christmas in Kenmore Square".Fact|date=June 2008

He also raps on the "Space Jam" soundtrack as Bugs Bunny.

West appears as Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly-Joe DeRita as the Three Stooges on the album "Christmas Party with Eddie G." There are fake "outtakes" from a Three Stooges Christmas recording session, where they attempt to record "The 12 Days of Christmas" intercut with tracks of Christmas tunes. The last track, entitled "One More Try", features the recording engineer ruining the tape and asking if the boys can come back and do it again.Fact|date=June 2008

Internet entertainment

Billy West briefly worked on the short-lived Internet show, "Billy Bastard: Amateur Human Professional Asshole". He also provided voices for the Eric Kaplan-created webtoon "Zombie College" as well as voicing two characters in "Tofu the Vegan Zombie".cite web|url=http://www.tofutheveganzombie.com|title=Website for Tofu the Vegan Zombie|accessdate=2008-07-06]

The voice acting industry

West has been very outspoken over his displeasure about the influx of movie star actors providing voice-over for films and major shows. [ [http://www.avclub.com/content/node/240/1/1 Interview with AVclub.com (11th question)] Accessed January 29, 2007] [ [http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/05/1555200 Interview with Slashdot.org] Accessed January 29, 2007]

Personal life

West revealed on the October 4, 2006 edition of "The Adam Carolla Show" that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He said it was the scariest moment of his life, especially since he considered himself a healthy person. West had surgery to eliminate the cancer, and the crew of the show commented on how good he looked, considering that the surgery had taken place only two weeks prior. [ [http://adamradio.wordpress.com/2006/10/04/adam-with-billy-west-tommy-la-sorta-and-dimitri-martin/ The Adam Carolla Show Blog] . Accessed November 1, 2006.]

Billy West is also a vegan.cite web|url=http://www.geekza.com/?p=147|title= Billy West, Ren, Stimpy, and Geekza.|accessdate=2008-07-06]

Quotes

* "I pretty much felt I did all that I could with the character. I was ready to move on to different projects and opportunities." -On why he didn't continue voicing Doug Funnie when the show moved to ABC and became "Disney's Doug".
* "I didn't even tell my mom about this junk until I was out of the woods. The whole thing just sneaked up on me but never, ever did I play the victim or bemoan my fate. Life is for the living. I was a little scared before surgery 'cause of the release you sign that says there's always a very small percent chance that you'll die during the operation." - On his scare with prostate cancer. [http://billywest.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2981&PN=7&TPN=2 "Posted on October 4, 2006 by Billy West"] in his [http://billywest.com/forum "fan forum"] .
* "I hate the picture of myself on my Wikipedia page. Looks like I'm angry or something. Yes, I do regularly read my own Wikipedia article." [ [http://adamradio.wordpress.com/2006/10/04/adam-with-billy-west-tommy-la-sorta-and-dimitri-martin/ The Adam Carolla Show Blog] . Accessed November 1, 2006.]

References

External links

* [http://www.billywest.com/ Billy West's Official website]
*
*
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=EsW_wBRv1qI Interview with Billy West on CNBC (Youtube)]

Persondata
NAME=West, William Richard
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=West, Billy
SHORT DESCRIPTION=United States voice actor
DATE OF BIRTH=April 16, 1952
PLACE OF BIRTH=Detroit, Michigan
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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