VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
These stars' voices are among the most recognizable in the business! For this list, we're looking at male actors whose distinctive manners of speech make their voices unmistakable. Our list includes iconic actors such as Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonard Nimoy, John Wayne, and more! Did we leave our someone who YOU think deserves to be in this list? Let us know in the comments!
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Special thanks to our user Antoine Martel for suggesting this idea!
Script written by Michael Wynands
Top 10 Another Male Actors with Iconic Voices
When it comes to these stars, you don’t need to see their faces to know who’s talking. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Male Actors With Iconic Voices.
For this list, we’re looking at actors whose distinct style of speaking and vocal timbre make their voice unmistakable. Whether they’re voicing a CGI character, an animated animal, a voice over a loudspeaker or a live action character… you always know it’s them.
#10: Jack Nicholson
No one plays the sarcastic, combative outsider quite like this man. Jack’s voice is hard to describe, but you know it when you hear it. And when he’s playing one of his more twisted roles, like Jack Torrance in “The Shining,” or the Joker in “Batman,” it has the ability to send chills down even the stiffest of spines. Somewhat nasal, high but raspy and dripping with sardonic attitude, his voice has proven the perfect vessel for many an unforgettable line. As he’s gotten older, as with so many of his contemporaries, Nicholson’s voice has grown deeper and more gravelly, but even so, it remains unmistakably Jack’s.
#9: Liam Neeson
People with unremarkable voices don’t get to play gods onscreen. It takes a certain awe-inspiring quality to tackle these larger than life roles. Liam Neeson has not only played Zeus, but also lent his robust speaking voice to the lion god figure in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Aslan. Of course, it also works wonder for a benevolent monster, or a villain. If you’re ever lucky enough to have Liam Neeson call your house, there’s pretty much zero chance that you WON’T recognize him. Should that happen, you better hope he’s calling for a good reason, because no one wants to hear that voice deliver this chilling speech.
#8: John Wayne
When you think of westerns… John Wayne is likely the first face that comes to mind. When you imagine the voice of a cowboy, well, his is likely the one you hear in your head too. As the story goes, Wayne once gave this little bit of advice to fellow actor Michael Caine: "Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much." Looking across his filmography, it’s a rule that Duke clearly lived by. He might’ve been given a name that’s usually given to women - Marion - but his deep, commanding voice was about as masculine as they come.
#7: Leonard Nimoy
Where does Spock begin and Leonard Nimoy end? In the early days of “Star Trek,” it may have just been a role, but over the decades, reality and fiction have blurred. The two shared so much in common that Nimoy’s two autobiographies were both named after his pointy-eared alter ego, and in terms of speech patterns and vocal qualities, they are indeed one and the same. If you were to describe Nimoy’s voice in one word, it would be “gravitas.” SO MUCH gravitas. Nimoy’s voice was one that inspired trust and carried authority. He could say just about anything in that distinct delivery and we’d believe it.
#6: James Stewart
Few men have left a more lasting impression on the film industry than Jimmy Stewart. In fact, the American Film Institute has him ranked as the third-greatest male screen legend from that era of cinema. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window” - he’s got countless classic films under his belt, in which not only his acting talent, but also his distinct drawl are on display. Early in his film career, it was actually his voice that made him stand out - so much so that comedians soon started doing impersonations of him. Though his unique voice has inspired countless imitators, no one has done it quite so well since.
#5: Sam Elliott
He’s the type of actor who you don’t even need to see to recognize, all thanks to his slow but deep southern drawl. Sure, he’s got distinctive looks and a trademark mustache, but it’s his voice, which got progressively lower and lower as he grew older, that really allowed Sam Elliott to stand out. Starting off as a character actor who often appeared in Westerns as cowboys and ranchers, his resonant vocals - and his acting chops - had him playing alongside Tom Selleck, in many TV movies and as the voice of several commercials. But he’s also held his own in feature films, ultimately earning his first Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor in 2018’s “A Star Is Born.” What a treat it would’ve been to hear him give his acceptance speech at the Dolby Theatre had he won!
#4: Patrick Stewart
The “Star Trek” franchise sure has a knack for picking lead actors with unique voices, doesn’t it? You’d think that after Nimoy and Shatner they’d have just accepted the fact that they’d set the bar too high and settled. But then in walks Patrick Stewart, an English thespian with a background in theater who can monologue with the best of them. From Jean-Luc Picard to Professor Charles Xavier, Stewart has applied his distinctively soothing but powerful voice to many a rousing speech and delivered countless words of wisdom in times of cinematic need.
#3: Christopher Lee
We’ll always remember him as Count Dracula, Count Dooku and Saruman. And while his acting skills are undeniable, his characteristic and powerful voice is what helped cement him into pop culture. But Christopher Lee wasn’t just an actor; he was an author and a singer! Okay, that may not be much of a surprise if you’ve seen or heard him in… well, just about anything. Instead, it’s just more evidence of his talents as a performer, as Lee recorded music in genres as different as opera and heavy metal. Despite having played many a villain, in real life, Lee was the type of man to be recognized by British royalty - and was, in fact, knighted for his services to drama and charity in 2009.
#2: Sylvester Stallone
Sly has played a lot of roles over the years, and most of them share a few things in common. His characters are tough, they know how to fight, and they all have Sylvester Stallone’s natural voice. He doesn’t really do accents, except, of course, his own. But there’s more to it than that. When Stallone was born, the use of forceps by the medical staff reportedly left his face partially paralysed. For some, that might’ve been a source of self-consciousness and a reason to avoid the limelight, but not for Stallone. He’s taken his distinctive voice and speech and owned. When Sly speaks, people take notice!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions
#1: Samuel L. Jackson
There isn’t another actor in the world who can deliver a line with attitude and intensity quite like Samuel L. Jackson. His voice has this deep, low, resonating quality to it, which adds a certain gravitas to whatever role he’s tackling. He knows how to make words pop, increasing the volume in all the right places to ensure that the delivery is always entertaining. Then, of course, there’s that distinct little trick he does where he ups the pitch of certain syllables throughout a sentence. He’s delivered countless memorable lines over the years, but we can’t help but wonder… would those lines have made such a lasting impression had they been delivered by someone else?