Being a voice actor is a relatively thankless job. People don't know your face, they hardly know your name and unless you're at the level of "The Simpsons," it's pretty much a daily job like anything else. But I remember even at a young age noticing, and falling in love with Christine Josephine Cavanaugh's fantastic voice work.
Part of that is probably because she was such a large part of not just my childhood, but the childhood of pretty much everyone reading this article. Cavanaugh created distinctive voices like the bizarre, semi-European child genius Dexter from "Dexter's Laboratory, Chuckie on "Rugrats" and Babe the pig from "Babe" and "Babe: Pig In The City."
It was Cavanaugh's raspy tone in the last in particular that first brought her name to my attention, as I would watch that movie approximately once a week. Once I realized that there was an actual person behind the adorable pig's voice, I started to see Cavanaugh's name everywhere -- and I started to appreciate the breadth of her incredible body of work even more.
The reason why Cavanaugh was so noticeable amongst the different voices and accents? It was most prominent in Babe, but even in Dexter there was a kindness and warmth that came through in Cavanaugh's voice. She became her characters effortlessly, and as a viewer you couldn't help but warm to them.
That's why it's so heartbreaking to learn that she passed away on December 22.
The news was reported by the Los Angeles Times in an announcement on December 30, along with a brief bio and the heartbreaking note that, "A Memorial Stone ceremony was held in her honor on Antelope Island, a place she loved and visited often with her papa."
Though -- as stated in the announcement -- Cavanaugh retired from voice acting in 2001 to be closer to her family, the world suffered a great loss this week by no longer hearing her voice. Whether it was Dexter shouting, "Dee Dee, get out of my laboratory!" or Babe kindly commanding, "Baa-ram-ewe," the world is a little quieter, and a little sadder than it was before her passing.