Top 20 Best Celebrity Voice Actor Performances in Disney Movies



Top 20 Best Celebrity Voice Actor Performances in Disney Movies

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Val Namaki & Savannah Sher
These celebrity voice actors brought star power to some of our favorite Disney movies. Our countdown includes "The Lion King," "Frozen," "Beauty and the Beast," and more!

Top 20 Best Celebrity Voice Actor Performances in Disney Movies

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Best Celebrity Voice Actor Performances in Disney Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the greatest voice acting from stars in Disney films.

Which of these characters is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan
“Tarzan” (1999)

Voicing Tarzan was likely an interesting endeavor for the man many know as “Scandal”’s President Fitzgerald Grant III. From the way Tarzan expresses himself in the jungle, to the way he connects with Jane, communication is a central part of this story. It’s unclear if Goldwyn provided the character’s iconic yell, but his performance is incredibly impressive either way. His portrayal toes the line between what it means to be both a gorilla and a human being masterfully. In doing so, he acts as a much needed bridge between the two worlds. His nuanced interpretation allows audiences to understand - and believe in - Tarzan’s duality. That is no small feat!

#19: Rowan Atkinson as Zazu
“The Lion King” (1994)

It’s hard to believe that one person brought both Zazu and Mr. Bean to life. After all, they are essentially polar opposites. Yet that’s exactly what Rowan Atkinson did, proving he has some major range! Zazu is a dedicated bird who takes his role in the kingdom seriously. Even though many don’t extend him that same courtesy, he never stops working. The actor brings a perfect mix of wisdom, cynicism, and volatility to the role. As such, he makes Mufasa’s trusted - and slightly uptight - advisor hilarious to watch. Thanks to Rowan Atkinson, the small but mighty Zazu packs a proverbial punch.

#18: Pat Carroll as Ursula
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)

Carroll's performance as Ursula is nothing short of iconic, and has resulted in one of the most popular Disney villains ever. We love Ariel, but it’s no secret that Ursula is the one who takes the movie to the next level. Without her, a lot of the story’s intrigue and humor would be lost. She is cruel and manipulative, yet her charm and wit makes us want to see more. That’s all thanks to Pat Carroll’s layered portrayal of the character. It is delightfully evil, terrifying, and hilarious all at once! Considering the actress’ extensive resume and storied career, it’s really no wonder she delivers such a commanding performance in “The Little Mermaid”.

#17: David Spade as Kuzco
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that David Spade is a quintessentially funny guy. He’s proven it with his work on such shows as “Saturday Night Live” and “Just Shoot Me!”, and movies like “Grown Ups”. His clever portrayal of Kuzco in “The Emperor’s New Groove” is just another example of his comic skill. He takes an obnoxious and self-absorbed character and makes him interesting, compelling, and funny. Kuzco loves himself and is undoubtedly selfish, but Spade doesn’t shy away from that. Instead, he leans into the Emperor’s obnoxious attitude, while weaving his growth into the story with subtlety and humor!

#16: Jerry Orbach as Lumière
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

Orbach was a world-class actor who tore Broadway up. Though sadly the star passed away in 2004, he left behind a legacy on-stage and on-screen that will never be forgotten. His performance as Lumière in “Beauty and the Beast”, like much of his work, is timeless. Through the candelabra, we get a taste of the actor’s immeasurable talent. He brings a theatrical sense to Lumiere that makes him impossible to ignore! Everything from his iconic rendition of “Be Our Guest” to his charming persona is executed perfectly. The fact that the character represents light is fitting, because that’s exactly what Orbach brings to the role.

#15: Patrick Warburton as Kronk
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

Patrick Warburton’s Kronk is quite possibly the most lovable doofus ever. “The Emperor’s New Groove” simply wouldn’t be the same without the hilariously clueless henchman - and his mini angel and devil! Kronk brings some much needed levity to the story, and acts in stark contrast to Yzma and her wicked plan. He’s certainly not the brains behind any operation, but that’s precisely why we love him! Kronk may technically be a villain, but he is anything but evil. Warburton, known for projects like “Seinfeld”, “Family Guy”, and “Rules of Engagement”, understood that when voicing him. As such, this brawny character quickly became a fan favorite.

#14: Danny DeVito as Philoctetes
“Hercules” (1997)

Danny DeVito has graced our screens with movies and TV shows like “Matilda”, “Taxi”, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, to name a few. No matter the project, he delivers. And “Hercules” is no exception. His character Phil is kind of a grouch, but only because he’s been burned on more than one occasion. Despite his not so sunny demeanor, he becomes a true friend and mentor to Hercules throughout the film. Danny DeVito brilliantly strikes a balance between grumpy and loving that’s key to Phil’s identity. His performance, juxtaposed with Tate Donovan’s enthusiastic portrayal of Hercules, creates an endearing dynamic that stands the test of time.

#13: Mandy Moore as Rapunzel
“Tangled” (2010)

The story of Rapunzel is one that most of us grew up with and know like the back of our hands. Yet in “Tangled”, Mandy Moore makes it feel new and fresh. She certainly has a knack for creating memorable characters, like Jamie in “A Walk to Remember” and Rebecca in “This Is Us”. Rapunzel undoubtedly belongs on that list. Moore’s portrayal of the princess feels authentic and relevant. With her angelic singing voice and relatable personality, she makes it hard not to love the character. Her unforgettable performance, combined with Zachary Levi’s charming portrayal of Flynn, breathes new life into this fairytale.

#12: Josh Gad as Olaf
“Frozen” Franchise (2013-19)

Josh Gad has made us laugh time and again with roles like Birdie in “Central Park”, and LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast”. But Olaf is his most popular character. He brings an unbeatable combination of naivety, heart, and humor to the part, and makes us wish we had a talking snowman of our own! More than that, his endearing portrayal gives us permission to reconnect with our inner child. And Gad had a huge part in making Olaf who he is. Some of the character’s most memorable lines were actually born out of collaboration and improvisation, which is a true testament to his talent!

#11: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Maui
“Moana” (2016)

The animation choices behind this character stirred up some controversy, but ultimately he became one of the most memorable and beloved figures from the film. “Moana” is one of Disney’s latest offerings, and tells the story of a young girl who has to take up a quest to restore a goddess to her former greatness. Helping her along the way is Maui, a Polynesian demigod voiced by Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock.” Considering Maui’s over-the-top size and strength, who was better to play him than someone who's real life stature isn’t totally dissimilar?

#10: Vincent Price as Professor Ratigan
“The Great Mouse Detective” (1986)

One of Disney’s most criminally underrated films features a villain who is voiced by one of the horror genre’s greats. “The Great Mouse Detective” was released during a lull in Disney’s animated feature films and its relative success was one of the factors which reinvigorated the studio. In this Sherlock Holmes themed tale, Vincent Price plays the role of Professor Ratigan, the Moriarty-esque foil to Basil. This legendary actor gives a performance that won’t soon be forgotten, and just his voice can send a shiver down your spine.

#9: Eartha Kitt as Yzma
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

There aren’t many Disney films where the villain totally outshines the protagonists in terms of popularity, but this one is a notable example. The power-hungry Yzma is voiced by music and movie legend, Eartha Kitt, who sadly as of 2008 is no longer with us. Dale Baer, who was the supervising animator for Yzma, said that he was inspired by Eartha Kitt’s movement and body language when designing the character. Kitt’s gravelly voice and passionate delivery are present in her hit songs, and also in this phenomenal performance.

#8: Idina Menzel as Elsa
“Frozen” franchise (2013-2019)

In modern Disney animated movies, the voice casts are often packed with well known actors, musicians and celebrities. In “Frozen,” which holds the title of most successful animated film of all time, the cast is predictably star-studded, with actors like Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad in prominent roles. Bell’s relatable and quirky portrayal of Anna is definitely one for the books. The most vital player, however, is Idina Menzel, who was a Broadway darling before being cast as Elsa, but arguably became a household name due to the role. Her powerhouse voice is what makes the performance ring true, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else giving it quite the same gravitas.

#7: Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

Younger generations may not be familiar with this actress’ name, but as soon as you see her, you’ll inevitably say, “of course that’s Mrs. Potts.” Angela Lansbury is known for her role in Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and the detective show, “Murder, She Wrote,” and her motherly British accent is exactly what this character needed to make viewers feel her humanity. Jerry Orbach’s role as Lumiere was similarly notable, with his over-the-top French accent standing out as one of the most memorable parts of the film (xref).

#6: Eddie Murphy as Mushu
“Mulan” (1998)

Eddie Murphy’s voice is one of the most distinctive in Hollywood, and he’s managed to make a name for himself in recent years doing voice acting for animated films, as well as family comedies. While his most famous role as an animated sidekick is probable Donkey from the “Shrek” franchise, one of his lesser credited parts is just as hilarious. As Mulan’s best friend, Mushu, a small red dragon with a lot of personality, Murphy brings a note of levity to one of Disney’s more serious films.

#5: Nathan Lane as Timon
“The Lion King” (1994)

There are a lot of big names in this popular 1994 movie, but this spunky meerkat is voiced by one of our favorites. Young Simba is played by 90s heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas while Matthew Broderick plays him when he’s all grown up, and at his side throughout his journey are his newfound friends, Timon and Pumbaa. Nathan Lane, who is known primarily for his work on Broadway, is behind Timon, and worked alongside another theatre actor, Ernie Sabella, who played Pumbaa. Lane’s signature snark comes through in this portrayal, and it’s tough to separate the character from his notable voice.

#4: James Woods as Hades
“Hercules” (1997)

This Academy Award nominee is known for playing villains, so his role in this Disney film of mythological proportions is definitely fitting. James Woods plays the primary antagonist in 1997’s “Hercules,” the king of the underworld, Hades. In traditional Greek mythology, Hades isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but in this rendition, he is our hero’s main adversary. Woods has said that he had such a good time acting as the voice of Hades that he’d take up the role again anytime. He went on to voice the character in an animated series, as well as several video games.

#3: Jeremy Irons as Scar
“The Lion King” (1994)

Irons has cemented himself as a legend in the entertainment industry with his work in everything from theatre, to television, to film. In fact, his Oscar, Tony, and Emmy awards have earned him the prestigious “Triple Crown of Acting”. So it comes as no shock that he mastered the art of bringing a Disney villain to life when voicing Scar. He infuses the character with powerful gravitas, a terrifyingly deep tone, and just the right dose of sass. Scar will forever be one of the most ruthless and memorable Disney villains ever. We have Jeremy Irons to thank for that, as there is no role he can’t elevate!

#2: James Earl Jones as Mufasa
“The Lion King” (1994)

James Earl Jones' emblematic, soulful voice gave birth to a legendary performance. Simba’s wise and powerful (though ill-fated) father is played by this distinguished actor, and his brother, the villainous Scar, is portrayed by Jeremy Irons in a similarly memorable performance. Fans of the original classic rejoiced when it was announced that Jones would reprise his role in the 2019 remake of “The Lion King.” Honestly, there isn’t another actor in the business who could do Mufasa justice.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Oprah Winfrey as Eudora, “The Princess and the Frog” (2009)
You Get a Great Mom! You Get a Great Mom! Everybody Gets a Great Mom!

Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Otterton, “Zootopia” (2016)
This Sweet Otter Just Wants to Find Her Husband

Rosie O'Donnell as Terk, “Tarzan” (1999)
A Perfect Portrayal of Tarzan’s Hilarious Best Friend

Demi Moore as Esmeralda, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)
The Actress Gives a Hauntingly Beautiful Performance

Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Mattias, “Frozen II” (2019)
We Definitely Want This Loyal Man on Our Side

#1: Robin Williams as Genie
“Aladdin” (1992)

Comedic actor Robin Williams had many quintessential roles in his career, from “Mrs. Doubtfire” to “Good Will Hunting” to “Dead Poets Society.” There may not be any which captured his full range and spirit as well as this one, though. As Aladdin’s Genie, Williams was able to showcase all of his greatest skills, from his impressions, to his improvisation, to even his singing voice. For many who saw the film when they were young, this role remains the one for which Williams is most recognizable, even though his likeness doesn’t even appear in it.