“Mamma Mia!”- Charles Martinet Steps Down from Voicing Iconic CharacterAug 28, 2023
Mario is a character that millions of people around the world grew up with and still love today. The heroic, little plumber from Nintendo's Donkey Kong and the Super Mario Bros franchise came to life thanks in part, to the contributions of American actor, Charles Martinet. Charles has played the voice of Mario since 1991 when he was first cast to "speak like an Italian plumber" at video game trade shows. Through hidden cameras and facial motion capture (new technology at the time), Martinet would comically interact with show attendees and with this digital puppetry, the voice of Mario was born. 1996 would see the release of Nintendo's landmark Super Mario 64 making the character a global sensation. With his work as Mario in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Martinet for having performed the same character in one hundred different titles, the most of any video game voice actor. He also voiced other characters within the game including Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi.
Animated films, radio and TV commercials, e-learning, or audiobook narration typically come to mind when thinking about voice-over job opportunities. However, with a continuously growing fanbase, work in video games is worth consideration. According to Statista, there were 216 million active gamers in the United States as of 2022 with the industry generating an estimated $90 billion in revenue. Worldwide, 3.2 billion people play video games for at least one hour per week with 9% gaming for over 20 hours per week. Voicing iconic video game characters can be a career-defining opportunity.
In addition to video games, Charles Martinet has enjoyed a successful career acting for film, television, stage, and corporate videos. He even had a brief cameo this year in Universal's animated commercial success The Super Mario Brothers Movie. Martinet played Mario and Luigi's father while Chris Pratt took over the role of Mario.
On August 21, Nintendo of America confirmed that Martinet would be stepping down from recording Mario. He has now been appointed to the role of "Mario Ambassador," and will travel around the world to promote the beloved plumber, sign autographs, and perform Nintendo character voices at trade events. Nintendo said in a statement, "It's been a privilege working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him."
Grazie Charles for so many years of gaming fun!
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