Franklin Wendell "Frank" Welker (born March 12, 1946) is an American actor who specializes in voice acting and has contributed character voices and other vocal effects to American television and motion pictures. As of September 2010, Welker had voiced or appeared in 93 films with a combined gross revenue of $5.7 billion making him the top grossing actor by this standard (and over $800 million ahead of the next highest grossing actor, Samuel L. Jackson).
Welker's first on camera film role was as a bar fight participant in Stan Dragoti’s Dirty Little Billy. His next film role was in The Trouble with Girls, portraying a college kid from Rutgers University who befriends Elvis Presley. He later co-starred with Don Knotts in Universal's How to Frame a Figg. Welker also appeared in two Disney films, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, and Now You See Him, Now You Don't.
His on camera television appearances included roles in Love American Style, The Partridge Family, and The Don Knotts Show. He played a prosecutor in highly acclaimed ABC special The Trial of General Yamashita and as Captain Pace beside Richard Dreyfuss' Yossarian inParamount television’s pilot, Catch-22. He also appeared on Laugh In, The Dean Martin Roast, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show,Merv Griffin, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour, Laugh Trax, and as one of the cast members in the 1985 special of That Was the Year That Was with David Frost. In the latter show, he was appeared alongside Jim Staahl and Howie Mandel. Frank also played an on camera role of a voice actor on an episode of Simon and Simon and in the film The Informant as Matt Damon's father.
Welker's first voice role came in 1969, as Fred Jones in Scooby Doo, Where Are You!. As of 2000, Welker is the voice of both Fred Jones and Scooby-Doo, including the most recent Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Welker is so closely connected with the character Fred, that anytime he appears in a cartoon (with the exception of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo), it is Welker providing the voice. The next major character he would come to provide the voice for was Marvin White, in the 1973 Hanna Barbera series Super Friends. Once again, he would also provide the voice for a dog character in the show named Wonder Dog (which was inspired by Scooby Doo). From that point on, Welker would voice over many other cartoon characters for the Hanna Barbera Company for several years.
During the 1980's and 1990's, Welker became a very busy actor, providing the voice for many popular cartoon characters in multiple shows including the villainous Doctor Claw in Inspector Gadget, Mister Mxyzptlk and Darkseid in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, various G.I. Joe heroes and villains, and Ray Stanz and Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters. He also provided the voice (both speaking and non-speaking) of Nibbler in the cartoon TV series Futurama.
Welker voiced many characters in films including being a voice double for Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Thing in 1986's The Golden Child, Sil in Species, and Malebolgia in 1997's Spawn. He's also created the vocal effects for different animals in films including: the monkey Abu in Aladdin, its two sequels and the TV series adaptation, Arnold the Pig in the TV film Return to Green Acres, and the baby Godzillas in 1998's American Godzilla film.
In 2005, Welker became the new voice of Garfield, succeeding the original actor Lorenzo Music, who passed away in 2001 (whom he also worked together with in The Real Ghostbusters). He has portrayed the cat in Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest, Garfield's Pet Force, and also in the new series The Garfield Show.
In the 1980s, Welker voiced many recurring characters in the Transformers animated series. He voiced several Decepticons, including the leader Megatron, Soundwave, Skywarp, Mixmaster, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Ratbat, as well as Autobots,Mirage, Trailbreaker, and Sludge. With the release of The Transformers: The Movie animated film in 1986, he took on the role of the AutobotWheelie and afterwards, took over the role of Galvatron (which coincidentally was voiced by his Star Trek III castmate Leonard Nimoy).
Welker also returned to two of his Transformers roles when he portrayed Megatron and Soundwave as part of a spoof in the third season episode of Robot Chicken, aired shortly after the release of the live action film. In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, he reprises the roles of Soundwave and Ravage, and also provides voices for Grindor, Devastator, and Reedman. He did not voice Megatron in either of the two live action films (Hugo Weaving was chosen for the role, instead). However, Frank did voice Megatron in the two video games based on the first two films.
- ^ "All Time Top 100 Stars at the Box Office". The Numbers. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- ^ BotCon 2010 Hasbro panel