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I wanted to make a list of cool voices. Not just voice-actors, but more on the lines of just plain great voices. Know you, people you can count on to make a boring documentary interesting just because they have dynamic sound and presence. After some thought, here is my list:
10. Jean Simmons
-- This one I'm iffy on adding, as while I think she has a cool voice, I can only recall one documentary project she worked on: Mysteries of The Bible with Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy did the bulk of the work, while Simmons read the scriptures. Having said that, her voice was so mystical and haunting that it made the text feel mysterious, even though everyone has it in their home. So I wanted to include her on this list.
09. Benedict Cumberbatch
--For the record, I think as an actor, Cumberbatch is a one-trick pony. He acts everything the same, whether it be Sherlock Holmes or Khan Noonien Abrams. Having said that, his voice is crazy awesome. Even though he sounds like he's bored all the time (I've never seen a person act as a dragon and have no fire behind it until Cumberbatch came around), his deep and slow way of speech is just great. Having said that, Fangirls... flame away.
(I survived Beast Boy, what more can you do to me?)
08. James Earl Jones
-- Jones has probably one of the most unique and most recognizable voices on the planet. He can pull off drama just fine, but he also can make documentaries seem more massive. I wouldn't say he's versatile, he's only got one note, but that note is sweet. .
07. Peter Graves
--In the early days of The History Channel and A&E (you know, back when these networks aired programs of substance), Peter Graves was the intro and narrator for nearly EVERYTHING. He has an everyday man's voice, but one that's slightly one of authority, which makes him accessible to a wide demographic. I think that's why he worked so well on a variety of projects.
06. Samuel L. Jackson
-- Samuel Mother Fucking Jackson. If I have to explain why he's here, then something is wrong with you.
05. Edward Herrmann
--This was THE voice for every History Channel documentary for years. While he was an accomplished actor, Herrmann had the same quality as Graves did. He had this way of speaking that made you trust him. Like he was a professor, very knowledgable about everything. But at the same time, he didn't feel distant, he felt like your grandfather or a cool teacher. I always thought of him as the american version of Stephen Fry, and really that's the best of compliments.
04. Morgan Freeman
--Putting aside that Freeman is probably one of the best actors on the planet, the man's voice carries the same knowledgable tone to it as Herrmanns does, but he's an everyman like Graves. He made me watch a documentary about "Penguins"... and I can't stand Global Warming messages. He's that good. But I REALLY appreciate him for is when he does Historical documentaries. If you haven't seen his one about the 54th Massachusetts, do it now.
03. Patrick Stewart
--For a while now, Stewart is sort of the go-to person people hire when they want a british guy to say something "important". And there is a reason why. He has a commanding presence. Maybe it's because people associate him with Picard, but when Stewart speaks it feels important. I've heard him do audiobooks, but yet heard him do a documentary. I'm sure he has, but if not I think he'd be great at it.
02. Keith David
--This mother fucker has a way of making everything sound cool. I think it's because he has a deep voice, but he also has a fast way of speaking. He's like Billy Dee Williams on speed. So many public speakers slow down when they are talking, especially if they are giving information, as many documentaries are. But David just BLAZES through everything he's given, and with swagger. That's right, I'm a white girl who just said swagger. (I'm so lame).
01. Stephen Fry
--C'mon, who else would be here? He's got a semi-deep voice, he's british, and he's also very accessible, versatile, and engaging. He can deliver both comedy and drama in the same piece... and we're talking documentaries. Never mind his audiobooks. Forget about it! If you've NEVER heard Stephen Fry read Harry Potter, turn off that Morgan Freeman documentary I told you to watch, and do this instead. This one man is a better actor than a whole film of the same book. Trust me on this.
After looking at this list, I realized what I view as the best voices tend to be either British or Black men. So if we got a British Black guy, that would be the ultimate of voice over person for me...
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