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Behind the voice : Charles Martinet

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It’s easy to associate the perpetually smiling, effervescent Charles Martinet with just one voice – and with good reason. He’s been the voice of everybody’s favourite mushroom-eating, goomba-stomping plumber since 1994.

It was a bit of serendipity. When he auditioned for the Mario gig, he was the last one to do so. The producer was already packing everything up when Martinet asked to read for the role. “You’re an Italian plumber from Brooklyn,” the producer told him saying that he should just improv a few lines – and then when he was done the audition would be over. Martinet was originally going to use the stereotypical italaian-american Bronx accent – but decided it wouldn’t be too appealing to children, and instead came up with this:

 Hello, it’s-a me, Mario! Okie dokie, let’s make a pizza pie together. You go get some sausage, I go get some spaghetti, we-a gonna put the-a spaghetti and the sausage in the-a pizza, then, I’m-a gonna chase you with the-a pizza, then you’re-a gonna chase me with-a the pizza, then when you catch me with-a the pizza, we a gonna make a lasagna, and then, when we make a lasagna,I’m a-gonna chase you with the lasagna, and then, we a gonna make some other kind of-a pasta!

The rest, as they say, is history. Martinet’s first role as Mario was in the PC board game collection Mario’s Game Gallery, but made real impact voicing Mario in the revolutionary Mario 64. Since then he’s “yahoo’d” “Awawwawaaa’d” “Here-we-go’d”  and “It’s a Me Mario’d” as the mustachiod plumber (who never actually does any plumbing) in over 50 games – but he also provides the voices of Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, and Toadsworth.

He doesn’t just provide voices for characters from the Mushroom Kingdom though. He’s done voice work for a number of contrasting games; like Kane and Lynch, Resonance of Fate, Space Quest 6 and Shinobi – but the one that really makes people’s faces scrunch up with incredulity is the fact that he voiced the Dragon atop the throat of the world in Skyrim; Paarthurnax.


Yes, really.

Last Updated: June 25, 2012

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