With thousands of female voice artists, it might seem challenging to make a list of “the most iconic female voice artists,” right? So, you ask, what distinguishes one from another? It’s their sound. And their success.
Making this list feels like making a list for your favorite food, vacation, piece of clothing, TV show, but in this case, we’re looking for the best and most lauded iconic female voice artists. We’ve assembled a few names here that may be familiar, and some that may not. Read on for voice over inspiration, whether you’re looking for a female voice talent or you are one.
My, how the times change. Whew. A much higher demand for female voice over talent exists than for male, and the trend shows no signs of abating.
Here’s a short list of who I think comprise the most iconic female voice talents.
We’ll roll back the voice over way-back machine to 1917, when Foray was born in Springfield Massachusetts. She started doing voice at age 12, and in the 1930s to the 1950s, was heard constantly on radio.
She became an in-demand cartoon or animation voice over talent in the 1940s and came to the attention of Disney—a company any voice talent would want to notice them. You may not have been around then, but June voiced for “Cinderella,” “Tweety and Sylvester,” “The Woody Woodpecker Show,” “The Bullwinkle Show,” “Hoppity Hooper,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and later took on on-camera gigs with “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Foray, perhaps a godmother of VO, died at age 99 in 2017. Many female voice artists think of her as “the first” of what would become a long line of phenomenal female voices.
MacNeille was born in 1951 and actually worked in—Dare we say it?—radio, before finding her successful way in voice over with training and great support. Her film credits include “My Little Pony,” “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” “Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers to the Rescue,” ‘The Rugrats Movie,” several “Mickey” films including “Magical Christmas,” and “House of Villains.” MacNeille had multiple roles in “The Simpsons Movie,” and in “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” films, and starred as Wilma in “The Flintstones & WWE.”
She has performed hundreds of roles in animated TV series, including “The Smurfs,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Rugrats,” “Pinky and the Brain,” “Road Rovers,” “House of Mouse,” “Duck Tales,” and several Mickey Mouse specials. Her voice was also heard in theme parks and in many video games.
Her list of credits is long and impressive, and she sets the bar high for other female voice talents.
Let’s get a bit more current here with Tara Strong. She’s amassed more than 600 credits that include Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Raven—an iconic female voice talent. She admits to loving cartoons from an early age, and she certainly made her mark in them. She’s voiced more than 1,300 character roles.
From Toronto, Strong started acting when she was 13, performed with Toronto’s Second City theater company, then moved to Los Angeles where her career took off quickly. Tara’s credits include hundreds of animation projects, such as “DC Super Hero Girls,” and multiple, repeat series for Disney, and also “Rugrats,” “The Powerpuff Girls,” and “Transformers.” She has approximately 100 direct-to-video movies to her credit, at least forty films, a long list of TV specials, several hundred video games…and even more.
Strong is current and relatable, super-active on Twitter, shares lots of fan moments, and doesn’t hold back about what she believes in. She’s a one-of-a-kind iconic female voice over artist.
I’ve got to include Tombazian in here, because when I moved to Los Angeles in the late ‘90s, her voice was literally “everywhere. It was the one that voice coaches and agents alike said was the one to emulate. Of course, therein lies the challenge since it’s tough to duplicate an iconic voice like hers. She possesses such depth, tone, and authority in such a unique way. Honestly, it’s no wonder we’ve heard her on so many commercials, promos, on narration, announcing major awards shows, and video games.
Her career which includes acting and producing, carries many firsts. She was the first female to guest host for Casey Kasem’s American Top 40. She was first to voice promos for major networks. No, women weren’t always heard in the places they are now.
Some casting pros frown on voice talent from radio (I came from radio). Tombazian knocked ‘em dead on Los Angeles power stations KEARTH 101 and 94.7 THE WAVE. Her acting training, and her ability to literally transform copy shine through on all her voice work. Consider her voice for “The View,” on promos for NBC, CBS, and so many more huge forces in entertainment. She also coaches us voice over talent a couple of times a year, and it’s a stellar learning experience.
If you’re considering a voice over career, I hope these iconic female voice over artists inspire you! And that my female voice talent does, too!