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.
His 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.
He asserts that voice acting is not about funny voices, but about acting. His mentor was the great voice actor Daws Butler, the man behind many of Hanna-Barbera's characters. He taught Farmer that when doing cartoon voices, you're not merely doing a funny voice, you're an actor and the acting is premier and you have to think like the character you're doing.
Farmer's very first voice over audition was for Goofy. When he auditioned for the voice, he studied the way the original actor Pinto Colvig performed as Goofy in the 1930s and 1940s cartoons. He studied the hilarious laugh and the distinctive "gawrsh". He inherited the voice of Goofy (as well as Pluto), around the same time Tony Anselmo inherited Donald Duck, and Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor did likewise for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, respectively. Farmer also played Goofy in A Goofy Movie (1995), its sequel, An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000), the Kingdom Hearts series of video games, Goof Troop (1992), which centered around the character and his son, Mickey Mouse Works (1999), House of Mouse (2001), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006).
He originated the voice of Horace Horsecollar in Disney's version of The Prince and the Pauper and has played him ever since. Farmer also performed additional voices on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse (1987), and Astro Boy (2004).
Other significant characters he has played include Yosemite Sam, Sylvester, and Foghorn Leghorn in the movie Space Jam (1996). He has also done several guest 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, 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 and Sam and others in the cult classic adventure game Sam & Max Hit the Road.
Farmer has also played Secret Squirrel on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Stinkie in Casper: A Spirited Beginning and Casper Meets Wendy, Willie Bear in Horton Hears a Who! and Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in Robot Chicken 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.
Bill Farmer still regularly performs comedy routines at the Laugh Factory.
In September 2009, Farmer was named a Disney Legend. In 2011, the International Family Film Festival awarded Bill Farmer the 'Friz Award' for Animation.
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