“I’ve never seen him play the Joker”, you say? It’s because Mark Hamill has been doing the voice of the Joker on a variety of animated TV shows, movies, and video games for the last two decades.
Mark Hamill is today one of the most prolific voice actors in Hollywood. In the last decade alone, he’s done well over 100 different voice acting roles in a variety of TV shows, video games, and movies, including in Ultimate Spider-Man, Scooby-Doo, Robot Chicken, The New Woody Woodpecker Show, Tigger & Pooh and a Musical too, Avatar: The Last Airbender, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, SpongeBob SquarePants, Call of Duty 2, Family Guy, Stuart Little… the list goes on and on and on.
Hamill got his start doing voice acting in a film that was released the same year as Star Wars: A New Hope, the cult classic film Wizards. In Wizards he played the role of “Sean, leader of the Knights of Stardust”. The character was even drawn to look somewhat like Hamill.
He got his start doing the Joker in the Emmy award winning 1992 Batman: The Animated Series. He’d previously done the voice for the character of Ferris Boyle in the Batman episode “Heart of Ice”, when Tim Curry decided to opt out of doing the voice of Joker; so they gave the role to Mark Hamill. He has since reprised his role as the voice of Joker in the TV shows Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Static Shock, Justice League, Birds of Prey, and Robot Chicken. He’s also done the voice of Joker in the movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, as well as in video games, such as Batman Vengeance, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City. Finally, Hamill lent is voice to various toys and amusement park rides that feature the voice of Joker.
As to the inspiration for his now famous version of the voice of Joker, Hamill stated in an interview that he was going for a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Jerry Lewis.
My Favorite Mark Hamill Quotes:
I’ve been married to a dental hygienist for years and if you think I haven’t heard “Use the Floss”, you’d be mistaken. [He married dental hygienist Marilou York in 1978. They are still married and have three children.]
You know how there are some stars out there who know how to market themselves? I don’t have that.
I can’t tell you how many people have said, ‘I got into the business because of that movie.’ … I totally understand that because I remember walking out of Jason and the Argonauts and saying, ‘I don’t know how they got those skeletons to fight, but someday I want that to be my job. To make skeletons fight.’
I’ve learned that the movies [Star Wars] will never finally end. It just goes on and on and on and on. I mean, it’s going to be in 3D, then it’s going to be smellivision, then it’s going to be a ride in an amusement park, then they’ll come to your house and perform it with puppets on your lawn … it’ll never end! I accepted that a long time ago.
I can’t tell you how much we laughed on the set to have Alec Guinness in a scene with a big, furry dog that’s flying a space ship.
You know where [the pride] comes from? It’s not so much from the industry… but the 9-year-old kid who looks at you like a cross between Superman and Santa Claus. And you’d have to be a really, really hardened cynic not to be moved by that.
- As many people know, while filming Star Wars: A New Hope, Mark Hamill was in a car accident on January 11, 1977. From here, the myths abound, everything from him nearly losing his life to having massive facial reconstruction surgery. According to Hamill, though, it wasn’t that big of a deal, “I had the accident way before Star Wars came out, but what really happened has been terribly distorted. I broke my nose, that’s it! But I’ve read accounts about how my face has been reconstructed with plastic surgery and how I was pulling myself along the highway with one arm looking for help. I even heard that I drove off a cliff! That’s the best one of all.”
- Contrary to popular belief, Robert Englund, best known for his role as Freddy Krueger, did not audition for the role of Luke Skywalker before telling Mark Hamill about it. In his own words, “I was actually auditioning for the role of the surfer in Apocalypse Now but they said I was too old for that, but I was dressed kind of military so they suggested I might be right for a film across the hall. I went across and it was auditions for Star Wars where they actually saw me for Han Solo, although they said I was too young! At the time this happened, there was a young actor crashing on the couch in my apartment in the Hollywood Hills – Mark Hamill, who would later audition for Luke and change his life. I think he had spoken to his agent about the role, but I may have even mentioned to him there was a great project and remember sharing details of that audition with him too.”
- Another interesting thing Englund has to say about Hamill, perhaps not too surprising from some of the above humorous quotes, is that Hamill is “so funny… I think he could be a stand up [comedian] and I’m waiting for someone to offer him a comedy role so everyone will say oh my god what a versatile actor. He could always do that, but he was so good looking he became typecast as a leading man.”
- Probably my personal favorite thing Mark Hamill has done besides Star Wars was actually a somewhat little known movie-like video game series called Wing Commander. In it, Mark Hamill plays the character of Christopher Blair (in III, IV, and “Prophecy”). Wing Commander IV is particularly phenomenal, also prominently featuring such major actors as John Rhys Davies (best known for his roles as Sallah in the Indiana Jones series, Gimli in Lord of the Rings, and Professor Maximillian Arturo in the TV series Sliders); Malcolm McDowell (Clockwork Orange, Caligula, Star Trek Generations, among many others); John Spencer (best known for his role as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry in The West Wing); Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, Poseidon, etc.); Francois Chau (Dr. Pierre Chang in Lost); Richard Riehle (Office Space, Star Trek, Ally McBeal, Quantum Leap, The West Wing, etc.); and last but not least, Thomas Wilson (best known for his role as “Biff” in the Back to the Future series).
- Besides acting, Mark Hamill also co-wrote a comic book series called The Black Pearl and has also written various Simpsons comics.
- After Star Wars, Hamill spent timing doing various Broadway shows, including Amadeus, The Elephant Man, The Nerd, and Harrigan ‘n Hart, which he actually sings and dances in and received a Best Actor in a Musical Drama Desk nomination for his portrayal of Tony Hart. He also has lent his vocal talents to various audiobooks, including The Spiderwick Chronicles.
- Mark Hamill got his first major acting gig on The Bill Cosby Show in “The Poet”, as the character of Henry (1970). He also appeared in The Partridge Family in “Old Scrapmouth”, as the character of Jerry (1971). He later played a more steady role in General Hospital as the character of Kent Murray. He landed a starring role in The Texas Wheelers in 1974 and was cast in a starring role in Eight is Enough in 1977, as the character of David, but he wanted to focus more on his movie career after Star Wars, so tried to get out of the role after the pilot. This was something ABC was initially not willing to let happen. However, the car crash came into play there, causing him to miss filming and so they instead went with Grant Goodeve for Hamill’s role.
- Hamill didn’t just play Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back, but also did the voice for the character who says, “The first transport is away!”
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