Actor Mark Hamill From Star Wars to “Spongebob”
By Patrick Douglas
He made a name for himself saving a galaxy far, far away in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It’s hard to find someone over the age of 25 these days who doesn’t instantly recognize his face from the Star Wars films ~ and then do a bad “Luke, I am your faaaather.” He’s part of cinematic and cultural history.
But what people may not know about Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker, is that he’s also got a knack for camouflaging his voice and adapting to just about any cartoon character he’s asked to add personality to from behind the scenes.
Surprisingly, Hamill chooses to mostly dodge press involving his two-plus decades in animation.
“Part of the reason I’m reluctant to do a lot of press about the voice over thing is that it kind of ruins the illusion,” said Hamill from his home in Malibu. “It’s an illusion, so when you see a person doing the voice without the cover of the animation, some people find it unsettling.”
That person doing the voice on the other side isn’t just another actor. He’s the face of a generation and has been for nearly 35 years and despite not wanting to be tied exclusively to that role forever, he respects what it means to be the face of Star Wars.
“I love the Star Wars fans,” he said. “They’re like family to me. I appreciate their passions.”
Hamill’s big breakthrough in voice over work came in the “Batman” series from the early ‘90s. His version of the Joker was so spot-on in that series that he was asked to write the introduction to the DC coffee table book on the famed character.
“I think the flood gates flung open with Joker because so many people were surprised that I had the chops,” said the 59-year-old actor. “It’s just one of those things where I did [have them]. I just never got to use them as Luke or playing whatever characters I played.”
Hamill has appeared in well over 100 different animations and video games since then, including “Batman,” “Scooby Doo,” “Metalocalypse,” “Ren & Stimpy,” “Tigger and Pooh,” “Spongebob,” and “Family Guy,” to name a very few. Your grandkids may not remember him from Star Wars, but chances are they now know his voice.
Hamill’s newest endeavor is voicing numerous characters on Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show,” most notably Skips, the white ape.
“It’s sort of slacker humor. It’s sort of good natured guys avoiding work, a timeless comedy concept,” he said. “My character … a Yeti, I think has the only nipples in animation. I was looking at the storyboards and said ‘Hmm, that’s nice. That’s a nice distinction to have.’”
Voicing cartoons is a dream, said Hamill, who lists himself as a serious comic book buff and cartoon fan.
“This is the life for me,” he said.