TMNT & Animaniac’s Rob Paulsen Shares His Story In Voice Lessons Memoir
by James Ferguson
There are a few voices that stand out in my life and made a real impact on me growing up. One was Raphael in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. He was my favorite character, partly because he always had the best lines. Years later, I learned that my wife shared a similar love for the character and we came pretty close to naming our first son Raphael. I didn’t learn that Rob Paulsen was the man behind that cool, but rude dude until some time later. The voice actor has penned Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life, a memoir with Michael Fleeman, chronicling his journey along with some actual lessons.
The book includes lessons in hard knocks, social responsibility, reinventing yourself, reassessing your life goals, self-acceptance, and self-appreciation. It also takes you through Paulsen’s life in animation with the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs, and Pinky & The Brain, not to mention others like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Johnny Quest, Duck Tales, Snorks, The Smurfs, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, and Tiny Toon Adventures, just to name a few. It’s safe to say that if you grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you’ve heard Paulsen’s voice.
All that would have been interesting enough, but there’s more. Paulsen also shares his battle with throat cancer, something that could have ended his career and his life. He says:
There are millions of people who have beaten cancer, but because of what I do for a living, it has a little more weight. It all circles back to the deep attachment people have to these characters I’ve been lucky enough to play. I can not only continue to make a living, but make a difference, and I can’t wait to use that on the biggest scale that I can.
Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life is available now from Viva Editions at your local bookstore and Amazon.