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Also Known As: Thomas James Kenny Died:
Born: July 13, 1962 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: East Syracuse, New York, USA Profession: voice actor, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Many lay claim to the title "voice of a generation," but voice actor Tom Kenny took the phrase to a whole new level. A stand-up comedian with an ear for music, Kenny first gained notice with appearances on late-night talk shows and sketch comedy series such as "The Edge" (Fox, 1992-93) and "Mr. Show with Bob and David" (HBO, 1995-98). But as funny as his live performances were, it was Kenny's distinctively reedy, shape-shifting voice that turned out to be his greatest talent. Starting in the 1990s, Kenny became an in-demand voice actor, giving life to such characters as the nervous Heffer Wolfe in "Rocko's Modern Life" (Nickelodeon, 1993-96); the suave narrator and bumbling Mayor on "The Powerpuff Girls" (Cartoon Network, 1998-2005); and the eponymous, optimistic sea sponge in "SpongeBob Squarepants" (Nickelodeon, 1999- ). His affinity for fast-paced, slightly absurd comedy later found him work on cult shows such as "Futurama" (Fox, 1999-2003, 2010- ) and "Adventure Time" (Cartoon Network, 2010- ). And with his expansion into video game series such as "Spyro the Dragon" (1999) as well as feature films including "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) and "Frankenweenie" (2012), Tom Kenny's...

Many lay claim to the title "voice of a generation," but voice actor Tom Kenny took the phrase to a whole new level. A stand-up comedian with an ear for music, Kenny first gained notice with appearances on late-night talk shows and sketch comedy series such as "The Edge" (Fox, 1992-93) and "Mr. Show with Bob and David" (HBO, 1995-98). But as funny as his live performances were, it was Kenny's distinctively reedy, shape-shifting voice that turned out to be his greatest talent. Starting in the 1990s, Kenny became an in-demand voice actor, giving life to such characters as the nervous Heffer Wolfe in "Rocko's Modern Life" (Nickelodeon, 1993-96); the suave narrator and bumbling Mayor on "The Powerpuff Girls" (Cartoon Network, 1998-2005); and the eponymous, optimistic sea sponge in "SpongeBob Squarepants" (Nickelodeon, 1999- ). His affinity for fast-paced, slightly absurd comedy later found him work on cult shows such as "Futurama" (Fox, 1999-2003, 2010- ) and "Adventure Time" (Cartoon Network, 2010- ). And with his expansion into video game series such as "Spyro the Dragon" (1999) as well as feature films including "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) and "Frankenweenie" (2012), Tom Kenny's status as the hardest-working voice in show business was complete.

Born in the summer of 1962 in Syracuse, New York, Kenny counted future comedy star Bobcat Goldthwait among his friends and pursued his musical interests in The Tearjerkers, a local pop band. Though the band achieved only minor success with the single "Syracuse Summer," Kenny's experiences in the spotlight emboldened him to pursue comedy full-time. After appearing as a rival clown in Goldthwait's directorial debut "Shakes the Clown" (1992), Kenny landed his first TV stand-up gig on an episode of "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993), which he followed with a stint as host of the weekly music video series "Friday Night Music" (NBC, 1990-94) and a series regular role alongside wife Jill Talley on the freewheeling cable series "Mr. Show with Bob and David" (HBO, 1995-98). It was Nickelodeon who first took a chance on Kenny's expressive voice when, in 1993, they hired him as the voice of Heffer Wolfe, among others, in "Rocko's Modern Life," centered on an Australian wallaby and his gang of quirky friends. Other roles soon followed on shows such as the sci-fi themed "Dexter's Laboratory" (Cartoon Network, 1996-2003); "CatDog" (Nickelodeon, 1998-2005); and the superhero-powered "The Powerpuff Girls," which spawned a feature film in 2002. His work even caught the eye of music video directors -- and future "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) helmers --Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who in 1996 cast Kenny and Jill in the fantastical Georges Mélies-inspired video for Smashing Pumpkins' orchestral single "Tonight, Tonight."

But it was 1999 that proved to be the turning point for the motor-mouthed actor. In quick succession he landed the prime roles of SpongeBob, Gary the Snail and others in "SpongeBob Squarepants"; was cast as multiple voices on the slacker-centric "Mission Hill" (The WB, 1999-2000, Cartoon Network, 2002); and contributed voices to the adaptation of the popular comic strip "Dilbert" (UPN, 1999-2000). Kenny's pop background and vocal talent clearly influenced his work, with musical numbers peppering episodes of "PowerPuff" and "SpongeBob." In fact, Kenny later went on to record an entire album in character, SpongeBob Squarepants: Best Day Ever, with the help of Beach Boys visionary Brian Wilson and former Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone. Another box Kenny checked off that year was in the digital realm, when he was chosen to voice the title purple dragon in "Spyro the Dragon" (Playstation, 1999), a fantasy adventure game, a character he revisited several sequels. The 2000s saw Kenny's reign over the animated landscape grow even larger. His reedy, flexible voice was heard on a wide variety of animated series, including the fairytale farce "The Fairly Oddparents" (Nickelodeon, 2001- ); the whimsical "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" (Cartoon Network, 2004-09); and the martial arts adventure "Xiaolin Showdown" (The WB, 2003-06). Kenny's ability to inhabit virtually any character was on full display when he was cast as the possibly-insane-but-really-just-lonely Ice King in "Adventure Time," a surreal story about a boy and his magical dog brother.

In addition to lending his voice to fan-resurrected TV favorite "Futurama" and the best-selling video games "Final Fantasy X" (PlayStation 2, 2001) and "Final Fantasy X-2" (PlayStation 2, 2003), it was also during this time that Kenny branched out into feature films. After working on high-profile movies such as "Hoodwinked" (2005) and "The Ant Bully" (2006), Kenny landed the role of Wheelie, a peaceful Autobot, in Michael Bay's raucous blockbuster "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009). And, in a whiplash-inducing turn, Kenny brought the classic Rabbit to life in "Winnie the Pooh" (2011) before reprising Wheelie in the even-less comprehensible "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011). The dawning of Kenny's second decade as a voice actor found him even busier than before. Having voiced numerous characters in Tim Burton's stop-motion adventure "Frankenweenie," about a boy who loves his dog beyond the grave, Kenny lent his voice to a slacker forest ranger on "Brickleberry" (Comedy Central, 2012- ) and the nefarious Doctor Octopus in "Ultimate Spider-Man" (Disney XS, 2012).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Back To The Sea (2012)
2.
 Frankenweenie (2012)
3.
4.
 Quantum Quest (2012)
5.
6.
 Winnie the Pooh (2011)
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1982:
Hosted the series, "An Evening at the Improv"
1989:
Made film debut in "How I Got Into College," starring Anthony Edwards and Lara-Flynn Boyle
1990:
Hosted "Friday Night Videos" (NBC)
1992:
Cast in the short-lived Fox sketch show "The Edge," where he worked with Jill Talley, whom he subsequently married
1993:
First voice acting job as Heffer Wolfe, a happy-go-lucky and not-too-bright steer in the Nickelodeon animated series, "Rocko's Modern Life"
1995:
Provided the voices for the HBO sketch comedy program, "Mr. Show"; also credited as a writer
1999:
Landed the lead role in the animated series, "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Nickelodeon) as the voice of the title character, the narrator, Patchy the Pirate, and a number of other characters
2004:
Voiced Eduardo, an imaginary friend in the animated series, "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" (Cartoon Network)
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