by Ryan Rigley
There are certain actors whose voices you can recognize almost instantly. Danny DeVito is certainly high up there on that list. And with the release of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” this weekend, it’s safe to say that we’ll be hearing a lot more of that unmistakable voice over the next couple of weeks.
“The Lorax,” based on the children’s book of the same name, is an environtment-friendly romp through the woods through the eyes of a 12 year old boy, named Ted. In order to win the affection of the girl of his dreams, Ted must first discover the story of the Lorax, a grumpy woodland creature with a huge mustache.
Over the past four decades, Mr. DeVito has lent his vocal talents to a wide array of feature films and television shows. Some of these roles have been more memorable than others; Whiskers from “Last Action Hero,” anyone? Didn’t think so. The following is a list of the best, most memorable characters that Danny DeVito has provided a voice for over the course of his ever expanding film career.
» 5. Wolfie, “Little Red Riding Hood”
This straight to TV movie, based on Roald Dahl’s version of the popular fairy tale, was released in the UK back in 1995. In the film, Danny DeVito plays Wolfie, a smaller, bad wolf with a potbelly and a snout as large as his appetite for grandmas. Watching DeVito’s voice come out of a very realistic wolf’s head is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
» 4. Rocks, “Look Who’s Talking Now”
In this third edition of the popular “Look Who’s Talking” franchise, DeVito plays a dog that John Travolta brings home for his now-old-enough-to-speak children. Rocks, named after the rock-like poop he left in the backseat of a taxi, is a boisterous, ill-behaved mutt that will be put down if returned to the kennell. Eventually, the family learns to love Rocks and his troublesome behavior. As does Daphne, the family’s other dog, voiced by Diane Keaton.
» 3. Herbert Powell, “The Simpsons”
Homer Simpson’s older half-brother, Herbert, is the product of a brief affair that Abe Simpson had with a female carnival worker. Putting himself through college by working various odd jobs, Herb was able to create his own car company. The Detroit-based Powell Motors was really successful up until Herb made the fatal mistake of letting Homer design a car, causing the company to go bankrupt.
» 2. Swackhammer, “Space Jam”
This evil extraterrestrial is the proprietor of a failing alien amusement park, called “Moron Mountain.” In an attempt to save his business, Mr. Swackhammer sends his tiny henchmen, the Nerdlucks, down to Earth in order to kidnap the Looney Toons. But they get more than they bargained for when Michael Jordan joins the picture. Swackhammer, seeing Jordan as a potential game changer, cuts a deal with the basketball star: If Swackhammer’s team wins, Jordan will be enslaved on “Moron Mountain” and forced to lose basketball games to paying customers for all eternity.
» 1. Philoctetes, “Hercules”
The fabled trainer of heroes who lives on a desolate island in the middle of nowehere, Philoctetes, or Phil for short, is the spitting image of Danny DeVito. Phil has trained all of the great would-be heroes: Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus. “A lot of ’yeuseus.'” But none of them could go the distance quite like Hercules. Whether it be spying on bathing nymphs or randomly bursting into song, DeVito’s likeness is all too obvious in this grumpy, shirtless satyr.
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