Popular Hollywood cartoon voice makes a visit to Dodge City
By Michael Alcala (Dodge Globe)
November 28, 1998. Few think about the people behind the voices of cartoon characters, but Lori and Pat George of Dodge City can sometimes recognize a familiar voice.
Lori’s uncle, Jim Cummings, has been providing the voice for today’s cartoon icons for the past 14 years. His characters include Winnie the Pooh and the Tasmanian Devil.
Cummings also does voice-overs for some movie trailers.
“I’m usually the guy who says, ‘Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington in the Siege’,” Cummings said in an interview Wednesday. He was visiting Lori and Pat for the Thanksgiving holidays.
“I do movie trailers, cartoons and just about anything my agency can hook me up with,” he said.
Cummings’ agency is International Creative Management in Los Angles.
“They (ICM) send me faxes with available jobs and then I go,” he said. “I live in Santa Rosa, Cali., 30 minutes from L.A., so I just drive down and do my cartoon or trailer.”
Cummings’ road to stardom may not have been a difficult one, but it wasn’t easy either.
He left Ohio, his native state, at the age of 19 to pursue a music career in New Orleans.
“I worked as a deckhand at a couple of ports in New Orleans and headed up a couple of bands,” he said. “As long as I can remember, I wanted to be in a band, but I was at the same time the guy who sat in the back of the classroom making strange noises and voices.”
In 1979, Cummings and his wife, Nita, made the decision to leave New Orleans and head to California.
“From 1979 to 1984, I was running a video store, and then in 1984, I decided to make a demo tape of me doing some voices and sent it off to a couple of companies,” he said. “It paid off because Don Bloom’s studio eventually called which landed to an audition for a Dumbo cartoon.”
That one audition led to others, and eventually Cummings was making between 24 and 30 recording sessions a week.
“My agency tells me I am rare because I sing, do movie trailers, and do cartoons too,” he said. “I like that because it gives me variety in jobs. I don’t just sit and do movie trailers, and I don’t just do cartoons either. I can do both, and I feel very fortunate for that.”
In addition to having been the voice for Winnie the Pooh for the past 12 years, Cummings has provided voices for characters in the movie “Antz” and will be in the upcoming movie, “Jungle Book II”. He also provides the voice for cat in the Nickelodeon cartoon, “Catdog”.
Cummings’ movie work has given him an opportunity to meet some movie stars too, he said.
“The majority of them are great,” he said. “Some of them, like Gabrielle Carteries from ‘90210’, want me to make tapes for their children doing the Winnie the Pooh voice, which I love to do because it means so much to the kids.”
Cummings, who is now 46, said he could see himself doing cartoons and movies well into his 60s or 70s.
“I really have been blessed and fortunate to have accomplished what I have,” Cummings said. “I hope to do this for a long time. It’s such an enjoyable job. I love to do it.”