Farmer at the 2014 Annie Awards
November 14, 1952
Pratt, Kansas, U.S.
|Occupation||Voice actor, comedian|
|Known for||The voice of Goofy|
|Spouse(s)||Jennifer Farmer (m. 1985)|
Farmer was born William Farmer on November 14, 1952 in Pratt, Kansas.
Ever since his childhood, Farmer was enamored with cartoons. He learned that he had a knack for doing voices and of all the characters he liked, the character Goofy was whom he liked best.
Farmer's first job, at the age of 15, involved doing voices, especially those of Western stars like John Wayne or Walter Brennan. He and his friends would sometimes go through fast food drive-thrus and order foods in his character voices. Bill attended the University of Kansas, and is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In college, he found work in radio and TV and then moved on to stand-up comedy as an impressionist until he moved out to Hollywood, where he began voicing Goofy in January 1987. In 1982, while he was still doing stand-up comedy, Farmer worked at a comedy club called the Comedy Corner in Dallas, Texas. He continued to work there until his move to Hollywood in 1986.
Farmer's decision to move to California came from a Dallas commercial agent who suggested that, given his talent for voices, he should try his luck in California. He was recently married, but he and his wife talked it over and came to an arrangement. She stayed back in Dallas while he commuted for a year after he got an apartment. Then four months after his moving out to Hollywood, his agent asked him if he could do any Disney characters. His very first animated character audition was for Goofy. When he auditioned for the voice, he studied all the cartoons with Goofy in them, especially the ones released in the 1930s. He studied the hilarious laugh and the distinctive "gawrsh". He inherited the voice of Goofy (as well as Pluto and Horace Horsecollar), around the same time Tony Anselmo inherited Donald Duck, and Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor did likewise for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, respectively. Farmer believes that cartoon voices are not about funny voices, but rather acting. His mentor was Daws Butler, the voice behind many of the Hanna-Barbera characters. Butler put it in Farmer's mind that when doing cartoon voices, you're not merely doing a funny voice, you're an actor and the acting is premier and that you have to think like the character you're doing.
Farmer has starred in House of Mouse (2001), Mickey Mouse Works (1999), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006), Goof Troop (1992), The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse (1987), and Astro Boy (2004). He is best known for his voice acting for Goofy and Pluto, two famous Disney characters, and more recently he has also played Horace Horsecollar. Another big role he played was in the movie Space Jam (1996), where he voiced Yosemite Sam, The Road Runner, Sylvester, and Foghorn Leghorn. He also has done several minor voices, both on TV (including The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy) and in video games, including the Destroy All Humans! series, Namco's Tales of Symphonia, where he voiced Governor-General Dorr, in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series reprising the role of Goofy, Detective Date in the SEGA game Yakuza, and Sam and others in cult classic adventure game Sam & Max Hit the Road. Farmer has also voiced Secret Squirrel in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, in both the animated series and its spin-off video game. He also voiced Gaston in one part of Beauty and the Beast, when Gaston eats eggs.
His other voice roles include Stinkie in Casper: A Spirited Beginning and Casper Meets Wendy, Willie Bear in Horton Hears a Who!, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in Robot Chicken, Captain Wedgewood and Frill Lizard in Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, many voices on EverQuest II, Cletus Samson, Floyd Sanders, Jeff Meyers and Ryan LaRosa in the video game Dead Rising.
In September 2009, Farmer was named a Disney Legend. In 2011, the International Family Film Festival awarded Bill Farmer the 'Friz Award' for Animation.
Bill Farmer still regularly performs comedy routines at the Laugh Factory.