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Technology has opened up many doors for franchises to expand. We’re not just talking cartoons and talking toys!
Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime in the 1980s cartoon Transformers, is astounded to see just how far his character has come over the past 30 years.
Hear more of Peter Cullen’s thoughts and join the conversation in today’s VOX Daily!

Transforming Transformers

Canadian-born Peter Cullen (b. 1941), the original voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers, has been in the business of voice acting for over forty years. His early days as a student at the National Theater School of Canada prepared him for seeking fame and fortune as an actor in Burbank, landing a superb role serving as announcer for the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

In 1979, Cullen was cast in his first animated series “Mighty Man and Yukk” which led to other cartoons. If you can believe it, Cullen first breathed life into Optimus Prime nearly 30 years ago!

When we look back at where the Transformers franchise started, it’s amazing to think of how far it has come and to how many platforms it has expanded to.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Cullen is astounded by all the possibilities for Optimus Prime that have been springing up as a result of the technological advances sweeping the entertainment industry. The WSJ quotes Cullen as saying of the leaps in format, “I would equate that to a stage actor going into silent movies, and then a silent screen actor going into radio. There are so many avenues to go down, and the most important one is the games – the brilliance, the imagination, the artistry, the animation that goes into this. It’s a thrill to be a part of it.”

How Far Have Your Characters Gone?

If you’ve voiced a character who has taken on new life in other mediums or applications, I’d love to hear about it!
Be sure to comment and join the conversation.
Best wishes,

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her blog serves an audience what wants to grow in their careers as professional voice users, and more specifically, voice actors. Stephanie was recently listed on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. This is borderline thread maybe, but I put a five-second bite of comic wizard into one of my demos. Sneeze and you’d miss it, but a games creator heard it and has escrowed me for three ‘professors’. Yes, the animated games industry is creating fantastic opportunities for voice acting, along with great scriptwriting. We all love that!