Animation has always been a welcome home for celebrities to lend their voices. It’s a fun way for them to disappear into a role while still being the voice behind an important character. Whether these celebrities are just using their regular voices or putting on a more complicated performance, it’s an easy way to anchor a piece of animation. Animated Disney films in particular usually have some of the most popular names of the time headlining these vehicles.
Disney films typically contain a lot of talent, but this tradition has also translated over to the animated television series that Disney has turned out. In these situations, it’s a bit of a reverse scenario. The top voice talents from television are usually stepping in to play the leads, while celebrities show up in more supporting roles. Sometimes those roles are so sparse that you don’t even realize the famous people that were responsible for them! Accordingly, Here Are 20 Random Celebrity Cameos You Totally Missed In Disney Cartoons.
20 Jon Hamm (Lord Hater In Wander Over Yonder)
Wander Over Yonder is a creative adventure series that hops across the galaxy and pits the forces of good against evil. The series comes from Craig McCracken, the person responsible for The Powerpuff Girls, and this series taps into that same sense of epic energy that fuels big action scenes. One of the series’ biggest antagonists is Lord Hater, a bitter antagonist who yearns not only for complete domination, but also a cartoon where he’s the star. Jon Hamm lends his voice to Lord Hater and puts on quite the performance where it’s actually rather hard to tell that this is him!
19 Tim Curry (Taurus Bulba In Darkwing Duck)
Darkwing Duck comes from a certain golden age of Disney animated series and this show in particular felt edgy for its time. It pushes a darker, gritty atmosphere and that’s definitely reflected in the rogues gallery of villains. Taurus Bulba is a massive bull who’s hungry for power. Curry shows up in a number of Disney cartoons, but he plays Taurus with a delightfully evil energy. He’s also the first antagonist that Darkwing Duck faces on screen, making him an important part of the show’s history.
18 Alan Cumming (John Castaway In Gargoyles)
Gargoyles is one of the few Disney cartoons that was actually darker than Darkwing Duck. This is a property that Jordan Peele even tried to revive as a movie! The series featured highly serialized storytelling and a mature approach to cartoons that’s only being readily embraced now. A lot of talent shows up in Gargoyles, but Alan Cumming makes a memorable impression as John Castaway, the leader of the anti-gargoyle group, the Quarrymen. Castaway comes from a long line of gargoyle hunters and fighters of the supernatural, which gives him an increased sense of purpose and only exacerbates his rage for the show’s protagonists.
17 Gordon Ramsay (Chef In Phineas And Ferb)
Many Disney cartoons may be aimed at children, but they’re often highly self-aware and have a litany of jokes that are aimed more at adults. Phineas and Ferb is particularly clever in this regard and isn’t afraid to punch up when it comes to their humor. One example of this features hothead celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, showing up in the series as— what else— a chef. Ramsay’s chef character goes against expectations by reflecting a kinder, more empathetic personality, until he finally does take a more volatile turn.
16 Bryan Cranston (Mr. Jameson In Lilo & Stitch: The Series)
Lilo & Stitch got a lot of praise upon its release and it’s one of the few Disney films of its ilk where the corresponding films and television series actually connect and tell one big story. As a result, Lilo & Stitch: The Series features some very big stories, but also contains some even bigger voices. Bryan Cranston shows up as Mr. Jameson, Keoni’s father and the boss of Nani. Mr. Jameson owns several business throughout Kauai, including the prestigious Birds of Paradise Hotel, but only appears in a handful of episodes.
15 David Hyde Pierce (Daedalus In Hercules)
After the success of the Aladdin television series, Disney was eager to try to apply this approach to other viable films. Hercules was one that not only got a similar treatment, but also saw similar success. The Hercules television series was able to retain the majority of the big names from the feature film, which made it much easier to attract outside voice talent. David Hyde Pierce fits in perfectly as Daedalus, the over-protective father of Icarus, and one of the teachers at Hercules’ academy.
14 Diane Guerrero (Vestia In Elena Of Avalor)
Elena of Avalor is one of the more recent additions to Disney’s animated line-up. The series is even still turning out new episodes. Elena of Avalor is one of the better examples of Disney trying to be more inclusive and it centers around a Latina princess. Elena of Avalor has a surprisingly ornate storyline and it goes to Shakespearean levels in terms of its tragedy and betrayal. Diane Guerrero of Doom Patrol and Orange is the New Black fame voices Vestia, Cruz’s twin sister. Vestia ultimately teams up with Shuriki after she gets broken out of prison.
13 Jason Alexander (Abis Mal In Aladdin)
The Aladdin series found a lot of success with its extended adventures centered around Aladdin’s exploits in Agrabah. Jason Alexander’s villainous Abis Mal first appears in The Return of Jafar direct-to-video sequel, but he becomes a welcome transplant into the Aladdin series. Abis Mal is always scheming and one of the show’s most frequently recurring antagonists. Alexander really makes his mark on the character.
12 Brad Garrett (The Rat In Bonkers)
Bonkers doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it should. It’s a series about a manic bobcat who was also a police officer and had him dealing with cartoon characters who had sometimes committed serious crimes. It also mashed together the extended Disney universe in a way that’s become majorly popular now.
Brad Garrett voiced the Rat in the series, who was a fairly meta character. He’s a human who's in disguise as a cartoon rat, with the hopes of eventually replacing Mickey Mouse.
11 Dennis Franz (Captain Klegghorn In The Mighty Ducks)
Even to this day, The Mighty Ducks animated series is one of the more ambitious adaptations of a Disney property. Rather than making this a straight series about a hockey team full of underdogs, this cartoon turns the players into actual ducks with enhanced capabilities. It’s an absurd show, but it works in its weird way. Dennis Franz shows up in the series in a playful riff on his extended time on NYPD Blue. Captain Klegghorn is the police commissioner of Anaheim who’s initially distrustful of the Mighty Ducks, only to eventually come around on them.
10 Larry King (Wax Larry King In Gravity Falls)
Gravity Falls is one of those intelligent animated series that’s just as satisfying for adults as it is for kids. It’s a show with a mystery at its core that draws inspiration from things like Twin Peaks, so obviously it’s going to be something that’s meant for more attentive viewers.
The show gets into some crazy stories, one of which involves wax figures of celebrities and notable figures like Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare come to life. One of these wax dopplegangers is Larry King, who playfully voices his counterpart here and is a good sport about it all.
9 Rip Taylor (Skunky Skunk In Bonkers)
Rip Taylor has such an energetic voice and personality that’s perfect for animation so it’s not surprising to learn that he pops up in a number of Disney cartoons in smaller capacities. The hard-boiled world of Bonkers that’s full of slimy characters is a fun fit for Rip Taylor. Here, he voices Skunky Skunk, a famous TV celebrity who gets framed for manslaughter by a chef with a grudge. Taylor also voices Wacky Weasel, a recurring antagonist with a fixation on eggs.
8 Malcolm McDowell (Shaman In Aladdin)
Malcolm McDowell is one of the most impressive celebrities to lend their voice to the Aladdin series and he plays a villain that’s worthy of his reputation. The evil Shaman shows up in the episode “Beast or Famine” with the aim of stealing Genie’s powers for his own gain. He’s in control of a horde of rat-like creatures and he’s one of the few Aladdin antagonists that actually meets his demise.
7 Kate Mulgrew (Titania In Gargoyles)
Apparently a lot of celebrities were attracted to the darker nature of Gargoyles because it was rampant with talent. The series’ main cast featured the likes of Ed Asner, Keith David, and Jonathan Frakes, but at the same time there would be weird cameos among the likes of LeVar Burton and Andrew Dice Clay. Kate Mulgrew plays an important role in the form of the villainous gargoyle queen, Titania. Mulgrew’s appearance here also speaks to how Gargoyles functioned as a weird beacon for Star Trek talent, too.
6 Jennifer Love Hewitt (Herself In The Weekenders)
The Weekenders was a simple show, but it’s in that simplicity that it found major success during its brief run on television. It’s largely fallen out of the spotlight, but perhaps the launch of Disney+ will help find it a new life. Jennifer Love Hewitt strangely shows up in the series as herself when the group of friends is in the need of some star power. Hewitt’s appearance is brief and more a commentary on her massive popularity during the early 2000s.
5 Robert Guillaume (Rafiki In Timon & Pumbaa)
To be fair, Robert Guillaume also voices Rafiki in the Lion King animated film, but so many other members of this animated spin-off series get recast that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the same was done with Rafiki. Timon & Pumbaa finds a fun angle to the Lion King canon by approaching it through its resident Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Guillaume’s presence here is a welcome piece of familiarity and he gets to refine his performance with this character.
4 Gilbert Gottfried (Two-Bits In Bonkers)
Gilbert Gottfried is most well known in the Disney universe for his stint as Iago from Aladdin (which he also reprises for the Aladdin animated series). In spite of how Gottfried has quite the iconic voice, that didn’t stop him from limiting himself as the villainous lackey from Aladdin. Bonkers makes great use of Gottfried’s exaggerated personality by letting him play a con artist named Two-Bits. He runs a TV show and is obsessed with money and reuniting with his special lost nickel, "Nicky."
3 Charles Nelson Reilly (Dutch Spackle In Goof Troop)
There’s been a surprising amount of success that’s been found in turning Goofy into a family man and exploring his dynamic with a teenage son as opposed to making him a solo character. Both A Goofy Movie and Goof Troop get a lot of mileage out of this and this innovation also extends over to the ornery Pete. Charles Nelson Reilly voices an eccentric handyman named Dutch Spackle who’s doing work on Pete’s house, but only makes things worse. Reilly voices Spackle in the character’s first two appearances, but then is out after that.
2 Merv Griffin (Merv Griffin In Hercules)
Hercules didn’t struggle in the least to attract big talent to voice some of its characters. When James Woods, Tate Donovan, French Stewart, and Sandra Bernhard are in your main cast, there’s rarely a risk of being in bad company with a guest appearance on this show. However, Hercules also liked to have a lot of fun with its celebrity cameos and be as tongue-in-cheek as possible on the matter. For instance, acclaimed talk show host, Merv Griffin, voices an exuberant host that’s an actual griffin.
1 Joe Piscopo (Tan Roadster In Goof Trop)
Goof Troop doesn’t get too crazy with its celebrity guest voices, but it does form a bit of a running joke where it turns Pete’s rivals in the used car industry as a place for famous people to lend their talents. Joe Piscopo inexplicably voices Tan Roadster, a thorn in Pete’s side for one episode. Later on, Patrick Duffy shows up as Harold Hatchback, another rival dealer.
Sources: TheGamer.com, Insider.com, InStyle.com