Ellen McLain

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Ellen McLain
Ellen McLain by Gage Skidmore.jpg
McLain at the 2017 Game On Expo
Born (1952-12-01) December 1, 1952 (age 66)
OccupationSinger, voice actress

Ellen McLain (born December 1, 1952) is an American opera singer and voice actress from Nashville, Tennessee. She is best known for providing the voice of GLaDOS, the computer antagonist of the Portal video game series and "The Witch", a crying female zombie who can easily incapacitate or even kill any player who startled her, from Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Her voice roles also include the Jaeger A.I. in Pacific Rim, the Combine Overwatch in Half-Life 2 and the Administrator, the announcer of the video game Team Fortress 2.[1]


McLain provides voices for many characters in several video games from Valve Corporation. Among them are GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence antagonist in Portal (for which she won an AIAS Interactive Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance), Portal 2 and Bridge Constructor Portal; the announcer in Team Fortress 2; and the voice of the Combine Overwatch for the Half-Life 2 series.[2]

McLain sang "Still Alive" and "Want You Gone", the ending credits songs to Portal and Portal 2, respectively, both of which were written by Jonathan Coulton.[3] She sang "Cara Mia Addio" at the end of Portal 2. It is sometimes called the "Turret Opera".[4] In December 2011, McLain won the Spike Video Game Award in the category "Best Performance by a Human Female" for her voice acting as GLaDOS in Portal 2.[5]

In 2013, she lent her public support to gathering donations for the Kickstarter-funded LGBT gaming convention GaymerX.[6] She later was a special guest at the convention in August 2013. In 2015, she portrayed Lisa Clarke in the gay independent film, Winning Dad.[7] This film was also promoted on Ellen's youtube channel.

Personal life[edit]

McLain has been married to fellow voice actor John Patrick Lowrie since 1986.[8] In Half-Life 2, her husband voiced the citizens who assist the protagonist. In Team Fortress 2, Lowrie voices the Sniper.[9] McLain now spends her days as a voice instructor, teaching at local community and children's theatres.


Year Game/film Role Notes
2004 Half-Life 2 Combine Overwatch[10]
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One
2007 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Portal GLaDOS / Turrets / Curiosity Sphere / Cake Sphere[11][10] AIAS Interactive Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance
Sings "Still Alive"
See also: Critical reception to Portal and reception to GLaDOS
Team Fortress 2 The Administrator[10] Also referred to as "The Announcer" or "Helen".
Godzilla: Unleashed Vorticia Features only in cutscenes.
2008 Left 4 Dead The Witch
2009 Left 4 Dead 2 The Witch
2011 Portal 2 GLaDOS / Turrets / Caroline[10] Sings "Want You Gone" and "Cara Mia Addio". Uncredited as 'Caroline'.
Defense Grid: The Awakening GLaDOS Appears in the DLC "You Monster".
2012 Dota 2 Broodmother, Death Prophet, GLaDOS announcer
2013 Pacific Rim Gipsy Danger AI[12][10]
Poker Night 2 GLaDOS[10] Appears in a supporting role as the game's card dealer.
2015 LEGO Dimensions GLaDOS / Turrets Appears in a supporting role. Sings "You Wouldn't Know"
Winning Dad Lisa Clarke
2016 Bee and PuppyCat TempBot 4 Episodes
2017 Bridge Constructor Portal GLaDOS
Electromagnetic Spectrum: The Musical NOTGLaDOS
The Gamers: The Shadow Menace Lorraine Richards
2018 Pacific Rim: Uprising Gipsy Avenger AI[10]
2019 The Church in the Darkness Rebecca Walker


  1. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (2013-07-01). "How GLaDOS is GLaDOS in Pacific Rim?". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  2. ^ Hatfield, Dameon (2007-10-31). "GLaDOS Speaks". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  3. ^ "Game Music Showdown: Mirror's Edge Vs. Portal". IGN. 2008-10-22. Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
  4. ^ "Portal 2 Turret Opera". Valve. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  5. ^ Video Game Awards (2011-12-13). "EVERY VGA WINNER FROM YEARS PAST". SPIKE. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  6. ^ Polansky, Lana. "Ellen McLain Summons GLaDOS to Voice Support for GaymerCon". Gameranx. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  7. ^ "Winning Dad (2015) - IMDb".
  8. ^ "Married to John Patrick Lowrie". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  9. ^ Plunkett, Luke (2010-07-29). "The men and women behind gaming's most iconic characters". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g https://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/Ellen-McLain/
  11. ^ Portal GCF archives[full citation needed]
  12. ^ Narcisse, Evan (2012-10-11). "Guillermo Del Toro's Next Movie Has a Little GlaDOS in It". Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-10-13.

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