In the last 30 years or so, a major change has occurred in the world of animation. Rather than hiring voice actors for roles, studios have instead opted to go with major celebrities, hoping that their name recognition will help sell their movies to wider audiences. Sometimes this doesn’t work out so great, as many actors do little more than use their own natural speaking voice, but there are some important exceptions. There are a number of terrific live-action actors out there who actually excel at doing voice over work. And today we are giving them the recognition they deserve.

With Penguins of Madagascar in theaters this weekend, featuring the talents of Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, and more, we’ve decided to highlight a select group of great live-action stars who have proven that they don’t need to show their face to put on a special, different kind of performance. Who made the cut? Read on to find out!

Robin Williams Aladdin
Robin Williams
The loss of Robin Williams this year is still heavy in our hearts and a painful loss – but just because the man has passed on doesn’t mean we’re not going to take the opportunity to celebrate the amazing work he did as a voice actor. Few performers are able to truly transfer all of their energy and personality for a role in an animated movie, and this is once again another instance where Williams can be described with the word "incomparable." The actor was certainly more prolific as a live-action actor, but audiences will not soon be forgetting his parts in Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest, Happy Feet and, of course, Aladdin. For the most part, he didn’t exactly go out of his way to disguise his voice, but that in no way undercuts his spectacular performances.

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