|Born||Franklin Wendell Welker
March 12, 1946 
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Alma mater||Santa Monica City College|
|Agent||Cunningham, Escott, Slevin, Doherty|
|Notable credit(s)||Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
as Freddy Jones
as Doctor Claw
Franklin Wendell "Frank" Welker (born March 12, 1946) is an American actor who specializes in voice acting. Due to the large number of films he is able to work on in a given year, films with Frank Welker had grossed more than those of any other actor in Hollywood from 1980 until 2011, when he was surpassed by Samuel L. Jackson. He is notable for being cast as Fred Jones across most of the animated Scooby-Doo franchise.
Welker was born in Denver, Colorado. He then moved to California and attended Santa Monica City College in Santa Monica, California, where he majored in theatrical arts. In 1966, he received honors for his performance as the Cowardly Lion in the college's theater production of The Wizard of Oz. During his transition between college and his voice acting career, his first voice-over role was in a commercial for Friskies dog food. The producer's girlfriend informed him of auditioning for Hanna-Barbera during the casting of Scooby Doo, where he initially auditioned for the title character but instead got the role of Fred Jones.
Live-Action acting career
Welker's first on camera film role was as a bar fight participant in Stan Dragoti’s 1972 film Dirty Little Billy. His next film role was in The Trouble with Girls, portraying a college kid from Rutgers University who befriends Elvis Presley. He later co-starred with Don Knotts in Universal's How to Frame a Figg. Welker also appeared in two Disney films, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and Now You See Him, Now You Don't.
His on camera television appearances included roles in Love American Style, The Partridge Family and The Don Knotts Show. He played a prosecutor in highly acclaimed ABC special The Trial of General Yamashita and as Captain Pace beside Richard Dreyfuss' Yossarian in Paramount television’s pilot Catch-22. He also appeared on Laugh In, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour, Laugh Trax, and as one of the cast members in the 1985 special of That Was the Year That Was with David Frost. In the latter show, he appeared alongside Jim Staahl and Howie Mandel. Frank also played an on camera role as a voice actor on an episode of Simon & Simon, in The Duck Factory, where he played a rival actor trying to steal the role of Dippy Duck from fellow voice actor Wally Wooster (Don Messick) and also appeared in the film The Informant as Matt Damon's father. In 1978, Frank Welker appeared on The Dean Martin Roast to George Burns. While saluting Burns, he showed his abilities as an impressionist by honoring George Burns with the voices of Walter Cronkite, Henry Kissinger, Muhammad Ali, David Frost and Jimmy Carter.
Voice acting career
Welker's first voice role came in 1969, as Fred Jones in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. As of 2012, Welker is the voice of both Fred Jones and Scooby-Doo. Welker is so closely connected with the character Fred, that any time the character appears in a cartoon (with the exception of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo), Welker provides the voice. He even provided Fred's voice for a cutaway gag in Family Guy. His next major character voice was for Marvin White in the 1973 Hanna-Barbera series Super Friends. He also provided the voice for Marvin's dog, Wonder Dog (which was inspired by Scooby-Doo). Welker would continue to provide voices for many cartoon characters for the Hanna-Barbera Company for several years, which include Jabberjaw, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Pudge in Bailey's Comets and The Shmoo in The New Fred and Barney Show and its spin-off The Flintstones Comedy Show. Welker described the voice he used for The Shmoo as "a bubble voice" (one he would later use for Gogo Dodo in Tiny Toons Adventures).
In 1978, he played the title character in Fangface and later in its spin-off Fangface and Fangpuss, and also voiced Heckle & Jeckle and Quackula in The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, and Droopy in The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Welker became a very busy actor, providing the voice for many popular cartoon characters in multiple shows including the villainous Doctor Claw in Inspector Gadget, Mister Mxyzptlk and both Darkseid and Kalibak in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, various G.I. Joe heroes and villains, Ray Stantz and Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters, the villainous Dr. Jeremiah Surd in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, and Hefty Smurf in The Smurfs. He also voices various characters on The Simpsons such as Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II. He also provided the voice of Fall Apart Rabbit in the 1993 Disney series Bonkers and other various voices for the series, as well as the voices of Mr. Plotz, Runt, Ralph the Guard and various other characters in Animaniacs and McWolf the main antagonist to Droopy and his nephew Dripple in Tom and Jerry Kids and Droopy, Master Detective. He also provides the voice (both speaking and non-speaking) of Nibbler in Futurama. He has voiced several characters for Family Guy, including a parody of Fred Jones. He played the voices of multiple characters in TaleSpin.
Welker performed as voice double for Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and provided voices for The Thing in The Golden Child (1986), Sil in Species (1995) and Malebolgia in Spawn (1997). He has also created the vocal effects for different animals in films including the monkey Abu in Aladdin, its two sequels and the television series Aladdin, Arnold the Pig in the television film Return to Green Acres, he was also the voice of Totoro from the English version of the Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro, and a variety of animals from Tiny Toon Adventures.
In 2005, Welker became the new voice of Garfield, succeeding the original actor Lorenzo Music, who died in 2001 (Welker and Music had previously worked together in The Real Ghostbusters and the original Garfield and Friends). Welker voiced Garfield in Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest, Garfield's Pet Force, and also in the new series The Garfield Show, which has been running from 2008 to present.
Welker has also provided voices for many video game characters including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and The Shadow Blot in Epic Mickey and its sequel Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, as well as Zurvan, also called the "Ancient One", on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
Welker provided the voice of Batman in a Scooby-Doo crossover segment of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, "Bat-mite presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!" In the same episode, he also voiced the MAD magazine counterpart of Batman, Bat Boy.
Some of his most recent work is performing the voice of George in the popular children's series Curious George. He has also performed for the live action film Mr. Popper's Penguins. He also voiced Gargamel's cat Azrael for the 2011 live action film The Smurfs. However, Welker did not reprise his role as Hefty Smurf.
In the 1980s, Welker voiced many recurring characters in the original Transformers animated series. He voiced several Decepticons, including the leader Megatron, Soundwave, Skywarp, Mixmaster, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage and Ratbat, as well as Autobots Mirage, Trailbreaker, Chromedome and Sludge. With the release of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986, he took on the role of the Autobot Wheelie and afterwards, took over the role of Galvatron (which coincidentally was voiced by his Star Trek III castmate Leonard Nimoy).
Welker also returned to two of his Transformers roles when he portrayed Megatron and Soundwave as part of a spoof in the third season episode of Robot Chicken, aired shortly after the release of the live action film. In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he reprises the roles of Soundwave and Ravage, and also provides voices for Grindor, Devastator and Reedman. He does not voice Megatron in any of the three live action films (Hugo Weaving was chosen for the role, instead). However, Welker did voice Megatron in the two video games based on the first two films as well as the theme park attractions at Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida, Transformers: The Ride.
- "Frank Welker," Behind the Voice Actors, www.behindthevoiceactors.com/
- Bradshaw, Peter (9 August 2011). "Frank Welker: the most successful Hollywood actor you've never heard of". The Guardian.
- Powers, Lindsay (27 October 2011). "Samuel L. Jackson Is Highest-Grossing Actor of All Time". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Two Dorothys, Lion Earn Top Prizes". Santa Monica City College Corsair. June 8, 1966.
- Frank Welker: Master of Many Voices, Bob Miller, ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE, ISSUE 5.01, April 2000
- Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two - Warren Spector Extended Cut, Game Trailers TV, March 26, 2012
- BotCon 2010 Hasbro panel
- Official website
- Frank Welker @ The Numbers
- "Frank Welker performing on Dean Martin Roast To George Burns", c. 1978, 5 minutes
- Frank Welker at the Internet Movie Database
- Frank Welker at AllRovi