The Many Voices Of Grey DeLisle
Since the first animated short called “Gertie the Dinosaur” was created in 1914 by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay, cartoons have been a mainstay in children’s diets. This reality is more true today than ever before, despite the ever-evolving argument as to “how much daily television and screen time is too much for kids.”
The fact is, the monumental number of viewing outlets that fight for our children’s eyeballs, currently, increases the demand for great cartoon characters that harbor “brand potential.” Ironically, the children’s entertainment industry is a doggie-dog world, my friend, and no one knows this better than Grey DeLisle, the voice behind “Daphne Blake” in the classic Scooby-Doo animated television and movie franchise.
A familiar voice in popular cartoons and video games for almost twenty years, Grey DeLisle has voiced approximately 730 characters -- more characters than any other female in the voiceover industry according to Behind The Voice Actors.
It is highly likely that some of the voices of the cartoon characters that you are hearing in your children's television programs today (or in their video games for that matter) are being voiced by the very same woman that voiced some of your most beloved ones as a child. Grey DeLisle comprises a montage of talent, likability, and personality that spans well beyond her extraordinary professionalism.
Having little idea what to expect when it was first suggested that I speak with Grey, the admiration I walked away with for this woman, overal,l as well as my deep respect for her unique ability to switch between voices with remarkable ease, can not be overstated. No doubt, my own hearing struggled to keep up with her. What also stood out, though, was how steadfast and kind Grey is as well as how important motherhood is to her.
Although Grey speaks for hundreds of cartoon characters, there is nothing ‘made-up” about Grey DeLisle. This mom combines enormous humility and humor with a strong sense of priority and thankfulness. Learning more about her was really a treat to behold. Thus, I am glad I had the opportunity to speak with her -- my end of the conversation being a lot less colorful than hers, I am sure.
Grey DeLisle is one of the nicest people I, now, have the pleasure of knowing. I am confident that you will share my same opinion at the conclusion of reading her interview, below.
Enjoy getting to know Grey DeLisle.
What is your personal mantra?
“Always take the meeting.” I always find that the more people I invite into my world, the better and more interesting my world becomes. The truth is, you never know what will happen if you open the door.
At what age did you begin to realize that you had the unique talent of mimicking or transitioning between a variety of voices?
The earliest that I can remember is around four years-old, however, my mom said I actually began much younger. Both my mom and my grandmother would speak to me in a host of voices and I just, naturally, picked them up. It grew into me mimicking, basically, everyone I came in contact with. Funny, as my mother was warned by others that I would never speak properly if she didn’t stop feeding me strange voices to copy. I guess whoever said that was wrong. Today, I speak normally and also have the ability to communicate in a variety of different voices -- many of which you hear on television, in video games, and through film everyday.
Share the story behind how you became a voiceover artist?
When I realized that all of the little voices and characters I was doing throughout my life could actually be a job was when I, actually, became a voice artist. That moment in my life happened when a casting director came up to me during the “stand-up comic” portion of my career and told me that I might consider doing voiceovers while honing my act. That led me to doing a demo tape. What seemed like a lifetime later, I found an agent and off we went. I’ve been with that very same agent, Sandie Schnarr of AVO Talent, for close to twenty years now. She took a chance on me so I stuck with her. I’m extremely glad I did.
You’ve had an incredibly successful voiceover career. What, do you believe, separates you from your competition?
I’m “nice.” I’m also “easy” to work with. In this highly competitive business nice and easy helps to open-the-door and keep you there. It is surprising how many voiceover actors and actresses are not. “Nice” works. “Nicer” works even better. My voice also tends to be highly versatile, which is rare among women in this industry. A versatile voice translates into cost-savings for the client. A client can get three voices for the price of one. Sheer economics underscored by general civility. It makes a difference.
Do you have a particular regime to prepare your voice and mind for each new role?
No. I’m terrible that way. I don’t do anything. That’s usual in this business, I must say. Most do possess a regime. I’m not one of them.
Who are some of the favorite people you have worked with?
Cloris Leachman (actress), Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob), and Frank Welker (voice of Freddie Jones and Scooby-Doo) are some of my favorites.
What are a few of your favorite roles to-date?
I have many favorites but, if I have to choose, I’d say Betty Rubble of The Flintstones, Daphne Blake of Scooby-Doo, Jane Jetson of The Jetsons, and Vicki of Fairly Odd Parents are my top choices.
What is one of your favorite cartoons of all time?
Ren and Stimpy can’t be beat.
Name some of cartoons your own kids watch?
My oldest son, Tex, is eight years-old. Since he has been attending the Waldorf School, until late, he hasn’t really watched much television so I can’t say. Ask me in a year. My youngest son, Harlan, is only one years-old. You may have to come back to me in two years if you want an answer to this question with regards to this little guy's personal favorites.
What is the best advice you can give to others eager to become voiceover artists?
Make sure that you are “good.” If you’re good, you will find your place in this industry. Don’t expect to if you are not. It is too competitive to walk around fooling yourself.
Please discuss a cause-based organization or social cause you support.
I auction off autographs on eBay to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I also take time, once a week, to visit the inmates at Central Juvenile Hall, located in downtown Los Angeles. I help the young men and women there make their sacraments so that they may partake in "Catholic Communion." I’m not overtly religious. I just like to help and they enjoy listening to me do my many voices. The few hours spent makes everyone happy, including me.
When “all” is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
As a good mom. It may seem cliche but that’s who I am, and what I care most about.
I don’t think being a “good mom” is cliche at all. Nor is the great character that Grey DeLisle displays throughout all that she does and who she is as a person. Without question, this woman may possess many voices but the most vital one - in my book when it comes to Grey DeLisle - is that of her very own. Grey is “Good” personified!
Thank you to Grey DeLisle and Fifteen Minutes Public Relations for making this interview possible