William Richard Werstine
April 16, 1952
|Occupation||Voice actor, singer, musician, songwriter, radio personality|
William Richard Werstine (born April 16, 1952), known professionally as Billy West, is an American voice actor, singer, musician, songwriter and former radio personality. He is known for his voice-over work in a number of television series, films, video games, and commercials. He has done hundreds of voice-overs in his career such as Ren (season 3 to season 5) and Stimpy on The Ren & Stimpy Show; Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz on Doug; and Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan and a number of others on Futurama. He does voices for commercials and is the current voice of the red M&M and was also the voice of Buzz, the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee until 2004. In addition to his original voices, he has voiced Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Shaggy Rogers, Popeye and Woody Woodpecker during later renditions of the respective characters. He was a cast member on The Howard Stern Show, noted for his impersonations of The Three Stooges' Larry Fine, George Takei, as Lieutenant Sulu, of Star Trek fame, and Marge Schott, long-time President and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds baseball franchise.
Early and personal life
West worked at WBCN in Boston, performing daily on the air on The Big Mattress show, then moved to New York City in 1988, working at K-Rock Radio (92.3 FM WXRK). West became a regular on The Howard Stern Show at that time until leaving in 1995. West moved to Los Angeles, where he found success as a voice actor and performer.
West launched his career in the early 1980s, performing daily comedic routines on Boston's WBCN. He left the radio station in 1988 to work on the short-lived revival of Beany and Cecil, which was his first role in television. He was a cast member and impressionist on The Howard Stern Show during the 1990s, where he gained notice for his impersonations of Three Stooges middleman Larry Fine, Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, and Stern's head writer Jackie Martling. West's most notable film work was in Space Jam (1996), providing the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. He has provided the same voices for other Looney Tunes films and video games.
West's first two high-profile roles, on Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show, came almost simultaneously and were on two of the first original three Nicktoons (the other being Rugrats). Over his career, West has been the voice talent for close to 120 different characters including some of the most iconic animated figures in television history. He has become one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Mel Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, the voice Arthur Q. Bryan used for Elmer Fudd, as well as other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons. In 1998, Entertainment Weekly described West as "the new Mel Blanc" and noted his ability to mimic well-known voices, though he would rather develop original voices. West's favorite characters are Philip J. Fry and Stimpy, both of which he originated. West has been very outspoken over his displeasure about the influx of movie star actors providing voice-over for films and major shows. West has stated that he did not like the Disney version of Doug and that he "couldn't watch" the show. West was the voice of the show's namesake, Geeker, throughout Project Geeker's 13-episode run. West was the voice of Zim in the original pilot for Nickelodeon's Invader Zim. Richard Horvitz was chosen for the series role because West's voice was too recognizable, according to Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez during DVD commentary. West is the voice of "Red" in numerous M&M commercials as well as the 3-D movie "I Lost my M in Vegas", currently playing at M&M's World in Las Vegas, NV. West also voices a number of characters in the series Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World. He does not play a regular character in that series but appears in almost every episode of the show voicing various minor and one-off characters. West voiced the character Moobeard in Moobeard the Cow Pirate, a short animation featured on Random! Cartoons, and reprises his role as Elmer Fudd in Cartoon Network's series The Looney Tunes Show. West provides the voice for the elephant/van Ellyvan in the Playhouse Disney show Jungle Junction. In 1999, he also had a cameo in the Emmy Award-winning cartoon Dilbert.
The Ren & Stimpy Show
West provided the voice of Stimpy in Nickelodeon's The Ren & Stimpy Show from 1991 until 1996, and he later provided the voice of Ren Höek from 1993 to 1996 when Ren's original voice and series creator John Kricfalusi was fired by Nickelodeon for delivering un-airable episodes. West performed other characters on the series as well, such as Mr. Horse (another role that West was issued after Kricfalusi's departure) and the "Announcer/Salesman" of such shorts as the "Log" ads (a voice West would use years later as the Narrator for The Weird Al Show).
According to West, he was originally supposed to do the voice of both Ren and Stimpy (and performed both characters on the tape that was used to sell the show to Nickelodeon), but then Kricfalusi decided to do the voice of Ren himself once the show was sold and he had West on board as part of the selling point. However, West provided Ren's maniacal laughter when John Kricfalusi was the voice of Ren.
West's roles in Futurama include Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan, Dr. Zoidberg and various other incidental characters. As he and other Futurama cast and crew point out in DVD commentaries, West voiced so many characters throughout the series that conversations are often held entirely between characters he is voicing.
West went into the Futurama auditions and was asked to try out for, as he says, "just about every part"; eventually landing the Professor, Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan. West later got the role of Fry, which originally had gone to Charlie Schlatter. While West is known for doing many different and unique voices, the voice he does for Philip J. Fry is often considered to be closer to his natural voice than any other character he has done (in an audio commentary, he states Fry is just himself at age 25). This similarity, West acknowledges, was done purposefully in order to make it harder to replace him in the part along with placing more of himself personally into the role (DVD commentary).
The role of Zapp Brannigan was created for Phil Hartman, but he died before the show started and West was given the role. West has described his interpretation of Zapp Brannigan's voice as an imitation of Hartman, but described the actual vocalizations of the character as being based on "a couple of big dumb announcers I knew."
Futurama was renewed by Comedy Central as four direct-to-DVD films broken into 16 television episodes. West reprised his roles for these films and was signed on for two new 26-episode production seasons (four 13-episode air seasons) of Futurama which aired summers of 2010–2013.
West was the announcer of the program Screen Gems Network which ran from 1999–2001. He was the promotional announcer for The Comedy Channel before it merged with HA! to become Comedy Central. Over his career, Billy West has voiced multiple characters in television commercials. These include (but are not limited to):
- Red, the plain/milk chocolate M&M (1996–present) (after Jon Lovitz's departure from the role in 1996)
- Buzz, the honey nut bee for Honey Nut Cheerios (1990–2004)
- An alien for Pentium 4
- Popeye for Minute Maid
- Babe Ruth, Mickey Goldmill, and Bruce Lee for Brisk Iced Tea
- Marfalump, a mascot for Pepsi from 1999 to 2000; created to tie in with the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
West voiced the Speed Racer character in a late 1990s advertisement for Volkswagen, because the commercial's producers could not locate Peter Fernandez, the original voice of Speed. However, the producers did locate Corinne Orr, the original voice for the characters Trixie and Spritle.
West appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast on January 30, 2015. The episode was recorded live at The Smell in Downtown Los Angeles during the third annual Riot LA Comedy Festival.
West began his own podcast show in July 2015. It features him doing numerous characters per episode, recurring segments such as "Song Demolition" and "Billy Bastard – Amateur Human Being", and special guest Jim Gomez.
Perhaps West's most notable film work came in the 1996 film Space Jam, where he provided the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. West reprised the roles of Bugs and Fudd in subsequent Looney Tunes feature-length films and returned as Fudd in the theatrically released Looney Tunes: Back in Action. In 1998, West starred in the direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island as Shaggy Rogers, becoming the second person to portray the character (the first being Casey Kasem). He was one of the top contenders to replace Kasem after his retirement in 2009 but lost the role to Matthew Lillard. In 2000, he provided additional voices in Disney's Dinosaur. In 2004, West voiced the classic character Popeye in the 75th-anniversary film Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, and made his live-action film debut in Mark Hamill's Comic Book: The Movie. He also appeared in a cameo in Garfield: The Movie. Other films featuring West's vocal talents include Joe's Apartment, Cats & Dogs, Olive, the Other Reindeer, TMNT, The Proud Family Movie, and three Tom and Jerry direct-to-video movies.
West is a guitarist and singer-songwriter with a band called Billy West and The Grief Counselors. They have released their first album, Me-Pod. West has toured as a guitarist for Roy Orbison and Brian Wilson.
In 1982, West sang lead, doing an impersonation of Mike Love, on a Beach Boys-inspired tune, "Another Cape Cod Summer This Year," by studio band ROUTE 28, written and produced by Erik Lindgren on his Arf! Arf! Records label.
West has collaborated with Deborah Harry, Lou Reed, and Los Lobos, and he has played live on several occasions with Brian Wilson, including the guitar solo on the Beach Boys tune "Do it Again" on Late Show with David Letterman, in the mid-1990s.
Throughout the 1980s, West provided character voices on Charles Laquidara's Big Mattress radio show on Boston's WBCN. West was one-half of the award-winning WBCN Production team from 1980–1986. From 1989 through 1995, West provided The Howard Stern Show with character voices such as Jim Backus, Lucille Ball, Raymond Burr, Johnny Carson, Johnnie Cochran, Connie Chung, Pat Cooper, Jane Curtin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Doris Day, Louis "Red" Deutsch, David Dinkins, Mia Farrow, Larry Fine, Pete Fornatale, Frank Gifford, Kathie Lee Gifford, Rudolph Giuliani, Mark Goddard, Bobcat Goldthwait, the Greaseman, Jonathan Harris (as Dr. Zachary Smith), Leona Helmsley, Evander Holyfield, Shemp Howard, Lance Ito, Elton John, Don Knotts, Jay Leno, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Martling (as the Jackie puppet), Ed McMahon, Al Michaels, Bill Mumy (as Will Robinson), Cardinal O'Connor, Maury Povich, Soon-Yi Previn, Marge Schott, Frank Sinatra, Rae Stern (Howard Stern's mother), George Takei, Joe Walsh, and Robin Williams until eventually leaving the show over money. West was an occasional contributor to The Adam Carolla Show, a syndicated morning radio show that replaced Stern's show on CBS in LA. On February 19 and 20, 2007, The Howard Stern Show ran a special two-part retrospective of West's work with the show. It marked his first work with the show since leaving after his last show on November 1, 1995. On June 9, 2009, West appeared on Jackie Martling's Jackie's Joke Hunt on Stern's satellite radio channel Howard 101.
Characters most notably voiced by West are perhaps Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in numerous Looney Tunes video games.
Other video game characters voiced by Billy West include these:
- Stimpy in Nicktoons Racing (2000) and Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots (2007)
- Dr. Zoidberg in The Simpsons Game (2007)
- Additional voices in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (2002)
- Sparx in The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (2007)
- Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan in Futurama (2003)
- Ninja in I-Ninja (2003).
- Nash and Zam in Crash Nitro Kart (2003)
- Additional Voices, including two voice sets for the player character in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000).
- Murfy in Rayman M (2002) and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (2003).
- Muttley and L'il Gruesome in Wacky Races: Starring Dastardly and Muttley (2001)
- Some voices in Mad Dash Racing, for the Xbox
- Voice of Red, the red M&M in M&M's: The Lost Formulas (2000)
- Hamton J. Pig in Tiny Toon Adventures: Toonenstein
- Atomic Bomberman in Atomic Bomberman
- Emilio Baza in Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
- Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd in Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time
- The Yak in Nicktoons MLB (2011)
- Fire Kraken, Freeze Blade, Food Fight, Chill Bill and Rocky Roll in Skylanders: Swap Force, Skylanders: Trap Team and Skylanders: SuperChargers
- Narrator in Minecraft: Story Mode (2015)
|1996||Joe's Apartment||Ralph Roach|
|1996||Space Jam||Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd|
|1998||Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island||Norville "Shaggy" Rogers||Direct-to-video|
|1999||Olive, the Other Reindeer||Mr. Eskimo||Television film|
|2000||Rugrats in Paris: The Movie||Sumo Singer|
|2001||Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||Various|
|2001||Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring||Freddie||Direct-to-video|
|2003||Looney Tunes: Back in Action||Elmer Fudd, Peter Lorre|
|2004||Comic Book: The Movie||Leo Matuzik||Direct-to-video|
|2004||Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy||Popeye, Pappy||Direct-to-video|
|2005||Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars||Biff Buzzard
|2005||The Proud Family Movie||Board Member, Cab Driver||Television film|
|2005||Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry||Biff Buzzard
President of Hollywood
|2006||Queer Duck: The Movie||Bi-Polar Bear||Direct-to-video|
|2006||Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas||Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd||Direct-to-video|
|2007||TMNT||Anchorman, Jersey Devil, Various|
|2007||Futurama: Bender's Big Score||Philip J. Fry
|2008||Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs||Philip J. Fry
|2008||Futurama: Bender's Game||Philip J. Fry
|2009||Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder||Philip J. Fry
|2010||Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes||Tom||Direct-to-video|
|2011||Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz||Uncredited|
|2012||Daffy's Rhapsody||Elmer Fudd||Short film|
|2013||I Know That Voice||Himself||Documentary|
|2014||Movieactors: Giant 8 Classic Cartoons||Rancid Rabbit
The Amazing Ray
The Amazing Fay
|2015||The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water||Seagull|
|2015||Pixels||Additional Video Game Characters|
|2017||Best Fiends: Boot Camp||General Slug||Short film|
|1988||The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil||Cecil|
Joseph "Joe" Valentine
Mr. Sleech (Al and Moo's Dad)
|1991–96||The Ren & Stimpy Show||Stimpson J. "Stimpy" Cat
Ren Höek (1993–96)
Mr. Horse (1993–96)
|1994||The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show||France Bug|
|1997–98||The Wacky World of Tex Avery||Tex Avery, Freddy the Fly, Sagebrush Sid|
|1997||Cow and Chicken||Additional Voices|
|1997–2000||I Am Weasel|
|1997||The Weird Al Show||Show Announcer, Harvey the Wonder Hamster|
|1997||Extreme Ghostbusters||Slimer, Mayor McShane|
|1997||Space Goofs||Additional Voices|
|1997||King of the Hill||Cigarenders Leader
|1998–99||Mad Jack the Pirate||Snuk, Jon LeFeet, Additional Voices|
|1998–2000||Voltron: The Third Dimension||Pidge|
|1998–2005||The Powerpuff Girls||Additional Voices|
|1999||Queer Duck||Bi-Polar Bear, Additional Voices|
|1999||Detention||Emmitt Roswell, Additional Voices|
|1999||Rayman: The Animated Series||Rayman|
|1999||Dilbert||Marketing Guy, Additional Voices|
|1999–2002||The New Woody Woodpecker Show||Woody Woodpecker
|1999||Invader Zim||Zim||Pilot only|
|Futurama||Philip J. Fry
|1999–2002||Screen Gems Network||Announcer||Syndicated program|
|2000||Baby Felix||Felix the Cat, Additional Voices|
|2001||Horrible Histories||Stitch, Narrator, Various|
|2001||The Oblongs||George Klimer, Anita Bidet, Additional Voices|
|2001||Totally Spies!||Lester Crawley|
|2002||Jackie Chan Adventures||Monkey King||Ep. "Monkey a Go-Go"|
|2002||Crank Yankers||Confucious, Moo Shu|
|2002||Ozzy & Drix||Muscle Cell||Ep. "Reflex"|
|2002–06||The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||Sam, Additional Voices|
|2003||Duck Dodgers||Mother Fudd|
|2003–09||My Life as a Teenage Robot||Principal Razinski, Additional Voices|
|2004||Justice League Unlimited||Skeets||Ep. "The Greatest Story Never Told"|
|2004, 2006||Codename: Kids Next Door||Numbuh 13||Eps. "Operation M.A.C.A.R.O.N.I." and "Operation I.T."|
|2004–06||Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi||Additional Voices|
|2004–09||Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends|
|2005||The Buzz on Maggie|
|2005||The Life & Times of Juniper Lee|
|2005–07||Loonatics Unleashed||Electro J. Fudd, Sagittarius Stomper|
Mall Security Guard
The Lion in the Puddle
|2006||Zombie College||Skully, Graham||Web series|
|2006–07||Squirrel Boy||Kyle Finster|
|2007||El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera|
|2007–09||Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World||Dr. Hunk
George W. Bush
Log Cabin Tom
|2008||The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack||Additional Voices|
|2008||The Mighty B!|
|2008||Random! Cartoons||Finster #1
Johnny Space Guy
|2009||Batman: The Brave and the Bold||Skeets||Ep. "Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!"|
|2010||Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil||Additional Voices|
|2010||Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated||Gunther Gator|
|2010||Glenn Martin, DDS||Mr. Vernon||Ep. "Camp"|
|2011||Mongo Wrestling Alliance||Various|
|2011||Eric Kaplan's Sketch World||Additional Voices||Web series|
|2011–14||The Looney Tunes Show||Elmer Fudd|
|2012||The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange||Cranberry|
|2013||Ultimate Spider-Man||Rocket Raccoon|
|2014||The Simpsons||Philip J. Fry
|2014||Mixels||Lunk, Gobba, Balk|
|2014||Adventure Time||Goose, Dr. Erik Adamkinson, Mayor||Ep. "Everything's Jake"|
|2014||Turbo FAST||Fleagor, Mosquito, Adolfo, Waterbug|
|2014||TripTank||Sextus Scribnous||Ep. "Ahhh, Serenity"|
|2015–present||The Stinky & Dirty Show||Chill|
|2016||Rolling with the Ronks!||Godzi|
|2016||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Hungry Larry||Ep. "Hungry Larry/Spider with a Top Hat"|
|2016||Bunnicula||Friendless Sven the Destroyer||Ep. "Squeaky Doom"|
|2016||Robot Chicken||Doug Funnie, Roger Klotz, Waffleface||Ep. "Yogurt in a Bag"|
|2016||The Loud House||Baseball Commentator|
|2016||Mighty Magiswords||Herman, Pterodactyl, Spiffy the Sphinx|
|2017||Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!||Sheriff Boon, Paco||Ep. "How to Train Your Coward"|
|2017||Samurai Jack||Walrus Merchant||Ep. "XCIX"|
|2017–present||Wacky Races||Muttley, Tiny (Big Gruesome)|
|2018||Happy!||Raspberry (voice)||Ep. "The Scrapyard of Childish Things"|
|2018||Disenchantment||Sorcerio, The Jester, Mertz, Pops the Elf||Netflix original|
|1997||Atomic Bomberman||Atomic Bomberman|
|1999||Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time||Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd|
|1999||Tiny Toon Adventures: Toonenstein||Hamilton J. Pig|
|2000||M&M's: The Lost Formulas||Red|
|2000||Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn||Additional Voices|
|2001||Wacky Races: Starring Dastardly and Muttley||Muttley, L'il Gruesome|
|2001||Mad Dash Racing||Additional Voices|
|2002||Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly||Additional Voices|
|2003||Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc||Murfy|
|2003||Futurama||Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan|
|2003||Crash Nitro Kart||Nash, Zam|
|2007||The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night||Sparx|
|2007||Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots||Stimpy|
|2007||The Simpsons Game||Dr. Zoidberg|
|2011||Nicktoons MLB||The Yak|
|2013||Skylanders series||Fire Kraken, Freeze Blade, Food Fight, Chill Bill, Rocky Roll|
|2015||Minecraft: Story Mode||Narrator, Siggie, Fanboy|
- Billy West Bio (Retrieved from BillWest.com on 16 November 2018)
- Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast! Interview with Billy West - 1:30:57, Soundcloud, 2018-04-23, retrieved 2018-04-25
- 1970 Roslindale High School Year Book
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Registration for Billy Bastard by William R. Werstine a/k/a Billy West
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Second Registration for Billy Bastard by William R. Werstine a/k/a Billy West
- "Billy West: The Whole Story". BillyWest.com. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast! Interview with Billy West - 1:30:57, Soundcloud, 2018-04-23, retrieved 2018-04-25
- Wolk, Josh (February 19, 1998). "'Toon Voice: Billy West is the new Mel Blanc". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- Billy West official site. Retrieved October 26, 2006.
- Ryan, Kyle. "Billy West | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- "Slashdot | Futurama Star Billy West Answers Slashdot Questions". Interviews.slashdot.org. July 5, 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- on YouTube[dead link]
- on YouTube
- TVsquad.com interview (20th question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- TVsquad.com interview (31st question). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- "IGN.com interviews Billy West (3rd question)". Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- BioGamerGirl.com interview (9th question) Archived June 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- TVsquad.com interview (32nd question). Retrieved March 10, 2007.
- Joel Keller (June 15, 2006). "Billy West: The TV Squad Interview". Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- "article on Futurama's return". Tvsquad.com. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Salem, Rob. "Futurama cast members ink new deal with Fox". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Tea-K-O". digitalcontentproducer. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- "Website for Tofu the Vegan Zombie". Retrieved July 6, 2008.
- "Billy West Podcast". Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- "Billy West and the Grief Counselors on". Cdbaby.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Sound clip[dead link]
- Noyes, Mike (30 January 2011). "Futurama: Volume 5 – Blu-ray Review". Inside Pulse. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "Billy's Bio". Billywest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Interview with UGO.com (20th question) Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- "For the week of 06/08/2009 to 06/12/2009". Marksfriggin. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- Vicarious Visions. Skylanders: SuperChargers. Activision. Scene: Closing credits, 7:13 in, Voice Actors.
- "Minecraft: Story Mode - New Trailer, Additional Cast Details, AND World Premiere Event". Telltale Games. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Boot Camp - A Best Fiends Animation
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