List of The Wild Thornberrys characters
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This is a list of characters in The Wild Thornberrys franchise, about a family that travels around the world to record a nature documentary.
Eliza is the series' main protagonist and 11-year-old younger daughter of the Thornberry family. She is intelligent, true-hearted, fearless, and good-natured. Eliza has the power to communicate with wildlife and she often employs this skill when embarking on explorations through the wilderness, traveling around the world with her parents, or encountering different wild creatures. She has four visible teeth connected by two braces.
She is forced to keep her gift secret from her family, having been warned that she will lose her powers if she tells anyone about them. Aided by her intelligent pet chimp, Darwin, she often sets out to assist or meet countless differing animals. Eliza is depicted as nerdy, with red hair in braids, eyeglasses, braces, and freckles.
Eliza is voiced by Lacey Chabert.
Darwin is a chimpanzee who travels with the family and is a loyal companion to Eliza. He usually wears a tank top with horizontal blue and white stripes (used to be Debbie's lucky tank top) and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct upper-class British accent. He tries to be the voice of reason to Eliza, however she rarely takes his advice. Cautious by nature, he is almost always hesitant to follow her plans; in response, she accuses him of cowardice, once calling him a "crybaby in a tank-top" for his hesitancy, even when he is cautious for good reason since Eliza at times tries to foolishly approach and socialize with potentially dangerous animals (lions for example). He was found by Eliza, and was the first animal she ever talked to.
In Gift of Gab, Darwin was seen in a flashback, stealing the sleeveless tank top that was once owned by Debbie. His name is most likely a reference to Charles Darwin, though within the series Eliza gives him the name Darwin after Lenny Darwin, her cousin who looks like a monkey (is never shown in the series).
Darwin is voiced by Tom Kane.
Donald "Donnie" Michael Thornberry is a 6-year-old feral boy who (as revealed in the 2001 four-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans in Borneo. His real parents, Michael and Lisa, were naturalists who loved and protected animals with their hearts.
One night, it is revealed, two poachers attacked a pair of orangutans, intending to harm or kill the mother and sell the baby on the black market. Donnie's parents managed to save them but were killed for interfering, much to the horror of the orangutan mother and the local villagers who came to know about their deaths. Out of gratitude and love, the mother orangutan took Donnie and raised him as a son. One day, however, she came across the Thornberrys and decided to give Donnie to them so he could have a human family. She watched tearfully along with her son as he was welcomed into their family as their own. It is revealed that the Thornberrys knew his parents before they adopted him, as they had met while Donnie's parents were on their honeymoon.
Donnie usually wears a pair of leopard-spotted shorts (similar to Tarzan's leopardskin loincloth) and he loves to eat all types of bugs. He babbles wildly and makes animal-sounds (but nothing Eliza can understand), occasionally spouting bits of English or exhibiting intermittent signs of sophistication. Donnie is 4, turning 5 in "The Origin of Donnie", and it is presumed he does not know what happened to his parents. It is revealed that he was able to pick up sign language from watching his parents teaching it to orangutans. We only see him sign one word (family), and it is unclear how much he knows. Nevertheless, this proves Donnie's intelligence – something which the audience sees further evidence of in a drawing he does of his parents alongside the orangutan family that raised him.
Deborah Thornberry is the eldest child of the Thornberrys, depicted as a typical 16-year-old girl. Captivated with fashion and music, Debbie is portrayed as considerably more self-absorbed than her sister Eliza and tends to whine and complain, particularly over her family's nomadic way of life and her desire to lead an average life. She is often annoyed that Eliza embraces the family's lifestyle, and Eliza is mutually annoyed by Debbie's apathy. However, Debbie cares for her sister deep down, most notably in the movie in which she becomes the only family member to know about Eliza's powers but is later warned that she will be turned into a baboon if she ever tells anyone. Debbie dresses in grunge clothing and sports a distinctive peekaboo hairstyle.
Debbie is voiced by Danielle Harris.
Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry KBE is the 47-year-old child of Radcliffe and Cordelia Thornberry (Lynn Redgrave), an aristocratic British couple. Born in Britain and attended Harrow School in London, he travels around the world with his own family making wildlife documentaries. He may be inspired by Sir David Attenborough and speaks with a nasally RP English accent. He is eccentric, enthusiastic and cheerful, even in the face of danger, and is also known for his exaggerated facial features; specifically, his enormous nose, large bushy moustache, sticking-out ears and prominent front teeth.
He was offered a professorship at Oxford University but, much to his mother's disapproval, Nigel turned it down. He is an expert zoologist, as well as naturalist, traveler and survivalist and is quite caring and logical though Nigel often otherwise appears absent minded or naive. In the series, Nigel is a supporting character, but in the film Rugrats Go Wild, Nigel plays a much larger role as he is idolized by Tommy Pickles (who usually refers to him as "Mr. Strawberry"). Nigel gets amnesia and thinks he's a three-year-old after a coconut hit his head, confusing the children. Later in a bathysphere, Nigel whacks his head, which causes his memory to come back.
Nigel is voiced by Tim Curry.
Marianne is Nigel's 48-year-old wife, daughter of Frank (Ed Asner) and Sophie Hunter (Betty White). She operates the film camera and edits their nature show. Marianne is a strong woman, often the voice of reason, and sometimes loses patience with Nigel. She is usually the one to take on disciplinary duties, trying to keep the girls out of trouble and finish their homework. In Season 1, Episode 12, she mentions that she attended the University of California, Berkeley. Marianne is also a scuba diver like Eliza. She wears a wetsuit, mask, fins, and scuba tank with a regulator in Season 3, Episode 17.
Marianne is voiced by Jodi Carlisle.