"It's-a Him, Mario!" This man was the voice of Mario and Luigi

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/17/its-a-him-mario-this-m.html


Charles Martinet has been the voice of Nintendo’s Mario, Wario, and Luigi for 26 years.

Nice gig.


Fun trivia: he’s also Parthunaxx in Skyrim.

I met him at a local con, and he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.


Sorry, Bob Hoskins.


And Waluigi.

Poor Waluigi. Gets even less love than his normal counterpart.


Why does this article say “WAS” and not 'IS"? AFAIK, he’s in good health and still the voice actor doing Mario. Did I miss an announcement or news item?


that could not be a more perfect casting. it’s like he embodies the joy of the character.

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I know. Just about gave me a heart attack. Thought another beloved part of my childhood had died.



It’s not as great of a gig as you think.

Nintendo has a “full buyout” agreement with voice actors on their games and they will literally ‘cut-copy-paste’ voice work from old games into new titles years even decades later.

So while Nintendo charges gamers full price for a “new” game, actors who helped build the world get $0. BTW, most game developers/creators pay talent a fee for new titles even when using old work.

Im glad the voice of Mario is happy and maybe he has a special deal that no other VO actor has, but my guess is that he didn’t (and doesn’t) make what you think he makes.

I thought it was Ron Jeremy?

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So just like everyone else’s work product.

Also true of programmers, graphic artists, game designers…

I do understand that VO talent can be amazing, and that acting is gig to gig, so earning a living at it is very hard. And I understand that developing ones craft takes time and dedication. Same goes for the programmers, graphic artists, game designers…yet nobody gives them residuals.

I’m not necessarily begrudging actors residuals, but wondering why they should get them for a few days of work on a game when people who worked for months and even years on the games should not?

It’s an involved discussion, obviously. Those programmers, artists and designers theoretically are salaried employees with full benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, bonuses and other full-time benefits that a contract player does not get. They also get far less regular work than those positions, which is one reason they are currently striking. Residuals are one of the few regular ways they can earn for their craft, which is in line with other performance artists, including music, spoken word, TV and Movie actors, who are all compensated for repeated showings or sales to things like streaming services and the like. Voice Actors in video games do not receive the same compensation as they do in other forms of media. Those designers and programmers will work regularly (often for terribly long hours) but are compensated weekly for years on a project. The voice actors will work anywhere from a few hours to a few days for that same project.

It’s also worth noting we’re not talking huge amounts of money, here. Earning $850 for four hours work sounds like fat money, until you realize they may only do that a few times a year for a handful of projects. Nobody’s making huge money as a voice actor.

Well…except for the late Don LaFontaine, the movie trailer (and more) VO guy who at various times was making up to 2 million a year, doing about 20% of all US movie trailers and bought a chauffeured limo to get to all of his gigs more efficiently… (IIRC, all facts very approximate :slight_smile: )

I’d be curious how much Frank Welker makes per annum.

Voice acting gigs are all over the place as far as income goes, i would assume Nintendo has been taking good care of the guy that has been doing the Mario (and related) voices because they’ve only used him when voice actors are pretty expendable for the most part.


They should unionize.
In fact, SAG-AFTRA stands behind all other Guilds and Unions and would like to see Developers, Programers, etc. get organized. We’d be there for them for sure.

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But my point is that he likely didn’t get paid for every title his voice appeared on. And you’d be surprised how much closer to middle-class most working actors are (recognizable or not).

Well… except that the Don stuff was 20+ years ago, and a totally different category of voiceover altogether.

Income for actors has dropped, less than 5% of those who claim to be an actor actually do it full-time (high-risk profession), and those that are full time make on average (in Los Angeles) somewhere between $50k to $100k. After that, it’s celeb status for the most part.

Also, VO actors have to do anything and everything to keep income up now. We don’t say “no” to stuff anymore.

Very good points WizarDru.

Just want to add that SAG-AFTRA isn’t even asking for residuals, but rather a profit sharing system, where the actors get a couple hundred extra bucks when the game sells something like it’s first 2-million copies, and more bonuses with millions more copies. They should do the same for all those who built the game.