Jim Cummings: A Tiggerific Voice Talent (Tigger Movie Production Notes, 2000)

Jim Cummings: A Tiggerific Voice Talent
The Tigger Movie Production Notes

What does the gentle naive voice of Pooh have in common with the boisterous bouncy vocal antics of Tigger? Amazing as it seems, the singing and vocal performance for both of these disparate leading characters comes from the same actor – Jim Cummings. Cummings is one of the busiest, most sought-after voice talents in the business. His impressive list of credits includes characters for such popular television programs as “The Mighty Ducks,” “Jungle Cubs,” “101 Dalmatians: The Series,” “Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures” and “Taz-Mania.”

With regard to doing the voice of Tigger, Cummings observes, “I think the trick to being Tigger is going back to the original and staying as close to that as I can. Paul Winchell, who originated the character, was and is one of my heroes of the business. I got his book on how to be a ventriloquist when I was about nine years old and read it from cover to cover.

“People always ask me how can I do both the voice of Pooh and Tigger,” continues Cummings. “It’s kind of like mental ping pong. The fact that they are so different actually makes it easier for me to do. Pooh is just sort of a gently rolling stream and Tigger’s a typhoon. You just address both of them as such and it gives you something to hang your hat on as an actor. When I’m doing Pooh, I sort of stand like him and all of a sudden my stomach gets rounder and my fingers blend together. For Tigger, I find I stick my jaw out a lot just like him and start bouncing off the walls. It’s a body language thing. It helps to be a little schizophrenic. Although it is a bit challenging to bounce and be bounced upon simultaneously.”

Cummings never had the opportunity of meeting Sterling Holloway, the actor who originated Pooh’s voice, but he did get to hear him once in person. “I was at a restaurant,” recalls Cummings, “and I heard this little voice at a nearby table pipe up and say, ‘I believe I will have the chowder.’ I got up and walked out into the middle of the restaurant. There was Sterling Holloway just sitting there being Sterling Holloway. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I’d have the honor of filling his shoes. I just regret not going up to him and saying hello.”

According to Cummings, “’I grew up watching all the great Disney animated films and to be able to carry that torch and know that I’m contributing to the same magic and wonder for a whole new generation is a great thing. I love it. I think the thing that makes the Pooh characters so memorable and lovable is that each one kind of represents a part of us. Tigger is completely ebullient and bouncing all over the place. Pooh is a complete innocent. Putting them all together, they comprise a rainbow of human experience and emotions that really resonate. Everybody can identify with somebody in the Hundred Acre Wood.”

JIM CUMMINGS (Pooh, Tigger) does double duty as the voices of the two animated leads in “The Tigger Movie.” He is one of the busiest and most versatile voiceover actors working in the industry today and his vast repertoire of voices is well known to young and old alike.

Cummings made his Disney debut in 1984, as the voice of Lionel in “Dumbo’s Circus,” a show that still airs today. He was selected to carry on the legacy and vocal characterization created for the “silly ol’ bear” by Sterling Holloway in the original Disney Pooh theatrical featurettes, and is still heard as the voice of Winnie the Pooh on the TV series, “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” His continued portrayal of Pooh has earned him two Emmys.

For Disney, he is also the voice of the popular Darkwing Duck and Bonkers on the two animated series of the same names, and he has performed on “Goof Troop,” “Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers” and “Tale Spin,” among others. He also provides voices for two new Disney animated series, “The Mighty Ducks” and “Jungle Cubs.” He continues to add his special sound to virtually every Disney animated series (most recently “101 Dalmatians: The Series”), as well as supporting roles in nearly all of the studio’s recent animated feature films.

Cummings has also lent his voice for countless characters on “Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures” and as Taz (and others) on “Taz-Mania,” as well as “Casper,” “The Mask,” “The Tick,” “The Addams Family” and many others.

He has voiced characters for animated feature films. He can be heard in “Hercules,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” along with “Balto” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven II.”

His live-action film credits include voice-over work on such movie trailers as “Braveheart,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Like Water For Chocolate,” “Tombstone” and “Space Jam.” Additionally, his commercial work includes McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nissan, Arby’s and many more.