Yesterday on Facebook, my friend, prolific audio commentator Troy Howarth, posted a list of his favorite movie actor voices. I thought it was an intriguing idea for a movie list, so of course I appropriated it for my own use.
The question is, how does one define the parameters of who makes up the list? Is it voices that I find particularly memorable? Or voices that sound the best to me? Or...is it how a performer uses his or her voice? Is it how many different accents a performer successfully uses?
I decided to use the generic "I like the voices of these performers for a certain reason." There's nothing scientific or analytical about this. It's just one guy's opinion. I came up with a list of 20 actors and actresses who I feel have a special vocal quality. If you are aware of who my favorite overall movie stars are, you'll probably be able to predict who will appear--but I think you'll find a few surprises. The choices are listed in no set order.
Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, James Stewart, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Cary Grant, James Mason, Claude Rains, Malcolm McDowell, Rod Steiger, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Gough, Lionel Barrymore, George Sanders, Alec Guinness, Basil Rathbone, Charlton Heston
Jean Arthur, Barbara Stanwyck, Glenda Farrell, Una Merkle, Eva Green, Ingrid Pitt, Martine Beswicke, Dorothy Comingore (because of CITIZEN KANE), Carole Lombard, Zasu Pitts, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Shelley, Joan Blondell, Ingrid Bergman, Elsa Lanchester, Shirley Jones, Marie Windsor, Mae Clarke, Adrienne Corri, Dorothy Malone