Sonic Imprints: 20 Legendary Actors Whose Voices Echo in Cinema History

Movie buffs immediately know the voices of our favorite actors, and some stars are such standouts that most people recognize them simply by hearing them speak. One user on a popular online forum wondered which celebs have the most recognizable voices, and commenters replied with their opinions on the thread.

1. Morgan Freeman

The Shawshank Redemption Morgan Freeman
Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

This star of The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) is known not only for his incredible acting chops in a wide variety of roles but also for his deep voice. Fans claim they can pick up on it after hearing one single word.

2. James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

James Earl Jones is a versatile actor who starred in films like Driving Miss Daisy (2014). His voice may be so familiar to many because of his role as Mufasa in The Lion King (1994).

3. Whoopi Goldberg

Nobody’s Fool Whoopi Goldberg, Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Whoopi Goldberg is known for her impressive collection of awards and accolades for her acting and comedy skills. Goldberg's recognizable voice comes from her appearances in films such as Sister Act (1992) and Girl, Interrupted (1999).

4. Samuel L. Jackson

Snakes On A Plane Samuel L. Jackson
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

If you know the famous Snakes on a Plane (2006) quote, you probably imagine it in Samuel L. Jackson's consonant voice. He's the third highest-grossing actor of all time, starring in films like Pulp Fiction (1994), The Incredibles (2004), and Snakes on a Plane.

5. Judi Dench

Judi Dench
Image Credit: Shutterstock.
Known by many as Britain's most outstanding actress, Judi Dench's iconic voice is familiar to many in the U.K. and beyond. She's starred in many films, including Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Chocolat (2000).

6. Christopher Walken

Shutterstock 259853342
Image by: Shutterstock.
Christopher Walken's voice stood out on the big screen in The Deer Hunter (1978), but he's also known for various other roles. Walken also stars in films like Dune (2021), Click (2006), and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

7. David Attenborough

David Attenborough in Madagascar (2011)
Image Credit: BBC.

If you've ever watched a nature documentary, chances are you're familiar with David Attenborough's soothing low voice. He's narrated everything from The Living Planet (1984) to Our Planet (2019-).

8. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Drew Barrymore was launched into stardom at age seven when she starred in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Since then, fans have had plenty of time to pick up on her unique voice in films like Mad Love (1995), Fever Pitch (2005), and Never Been Kissed (1999).

9. Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman Die Hard
Image Credits: Twentieth Century Fox.

The voice of renowned British actor Alan Rickman stands out among other celebrities for being smooth, deep, and almost lethargic. Rickman is well known for his roles as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011) and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

10. Liam Neeson

Memory, Liam Neeson
Image Credit: Millennium Media.

Irish actor Liam Neeson is excellent at playing tough-as-nails characters on a mission to make the world a better place. His gravelly voice stands out in films like Taken (2008) and Schindler's List (1993).

11. Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth in 12 Men of Christmas (2009)
Image Credit: Lifetime Television/Fox.

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth is known for her incredible soprano singing voice and her soft and raspy speaking voice. She starred in Broadway shows such as Wicked in 2003 and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in 1999.

12. Will Arnett

Will Arnett in Arrested Development (2003)
Image Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix.

Known for his deep, smooth, and almost sarcastic voice, Will Arnett is a prolific voice actor. He's famous for his roles in Bojack Horseman (2014-2020) and Arrested Development (2003-2019).

13. Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal in The Last Man on Earth (2015).
Image Credit: Kevin Estrada/FOX.

One of the industry's most successful voice actors is Kristen Schaal. Her characters are known for their strong, maniacal high-pitched voices, like Louise Belcher in Bob's Burgers (2011-) and Sarah Lynn in Bojack Horseman (2014-2020).

14. Jack Black

school of rock
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Comedian Jack Black's voice stands out in films like Kung Fu Panda (2008) and School of Rock (2003). His enthusiasm and adventurous spirit shine through when he speaks.

15. Jennifer Coolidge

Jennifer Coolidge in The Watcher (2022)
Image Credit: Netflix.

With arguably one of the most distinct voices in Hollywood, Jennifer Coolidge deserves a spot on this list. You can hear her light raspy voice in The White Lotus (2021-) and Best in Show (2000).

16. Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher
Image Credit: TriStar Television.
This list wouldn't be complete without The Nanny herself making an appearance. Love it or hate it, Fran Drescher's voice is iconic and easily recognizable.

17. Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes
Image Credit: BBC One.

There's something about Benedict Cumberbatch's voice that is easily recognizable, and it's not from rewatching Sherlock over and over. Besides a lot of his live-action work, Cumberbatch has starred in the 2018 version of The Grinch as the green man himself and Penguins of Madagascar.

18. H. Jon Benjamin

Image Credit: Netflix.

H. Jon Benjamin is one of the most well-known voices in adult animation nowadays. He is Bob Belcher in Bob's Burgers, Sterling Archer from Archer, and has lent his voice to a number of other animated projects. His voice is also iconic and it's very noticeable in every movie and show he's in.

19. J.K. Simmons

Spider-Man - J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
Image Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage.

While you might know J.K. Simmons for his performances in Juno and Wiphlash, he has also done some voice work for a number of animated projects including Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, The Great North, and many other projects! He also does voice work for video games as well!

20. Sam Elliot

sam elliot grandma
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

Sam Elliot is often pictured as a rough-and-tumble cowboy, but he has done a lot of voice work as well! He played Trusty in the 2019 version of Lady and the Tramp, Butch from The Good Dinosaur, and Ben from Barnyard. He does have an iconic, smokey voice that is easy to recognize!

Source: (Reddit).

Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.