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Franklin Wendell Welker (b. March 12, 1946) is an American voice actor. On The Simpsons, he was primarily responsible for giving barks to Santa's Little Helper, meows to Snowball II and other animal noises. He left sometime in 2006 for unknown reasons and most of his vocal duties were taken over by Dan Castellaneta. He is responsible for a broad spectrum of character voices, noises and other vocal effects that have appeared over the last 4 decades in American television and motion pictures. He is listed as the number one "All-Time Top 100 Stars at the Box office" in terms of the total revenue the films he has participated in have generated, a title previously held by Samuel L. Jackson.

Early life

Welker was born in Denver, Colorado. He attended college in California, where he later began his professional career appearing in commercials. While in college, he appeared in numerous plays and developed a stand-up comedy act which got him started on the concert circuit touring with The Righteous Brothers and Sergio Mendes. He continued with stand-up, appearing in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe as the opening act for headliners like Sonny and Cher, Diana Ross, Loretta Lynn, Ann Margaret, and Neil Sedaka.

Acting career

Welker’s first film role was as a bar fight participant in Stan Dragoti’s Dirty Little Billy (1972). He played a college kid from Rutgers University in the Elvis Presley picture The Trouble with Girls (1969). He later co-starred with Don Knotts in Universal’s How to Frame a Figg (1971). Welker also participated in two Disney films, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972).

His on-camera television appearances included Love, American Style, The Partridge Family, and The Don Knotts Show. He played a prosecutor in highly acclaimed ABC special The Trial of General Yamashita and as Captain Pace beside Richard Dreyfuss’ Yossarian in Paramount television’s pilot, Catch-22. He appeared on Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour, and Laugh Trax. In the latter show, he was a cast member alongside Jim Staahl and Howie Mandel.

Voice actor

Welker has been referred to as a "voice acting god" (by John DiMaggio and Billy West in the DVD commentary for Futurama) in Hollywood for the sheer number of voices he has done — over 1,200 — ranging from his work on Scooby-Doo to the present day. His voice acting credits include roles in television shows and films such as George in Curious George, Abu, Rajah, and the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin, Flit in Pocahontas (1995) and computer games such as Xzar in the Baldur's Gate series.

In the Transformers television series, he voiced eight of the original 14 Decepticons as well as the Autobots Mirage and Trailbreaker. With the release of the animated film in 1986, he took on the role of the Autobot Wheelie and afterwards, took over the role of Galvatron, (which Welker had originated) from Leonard Nimoy. Having already provided the screams for Nimoy's character Mr. Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), this marked the second time he had inherited a role from Nimoy.

Welker did more live action movies during the 1990s. Among his work includes vocal effects for the character of Sil in Species (1995), Goro in Mortal Kombat (1995), the Devil in The Golden Child (1986), and Malebolgia in Spawn (1997). Welker also provided the voice (both speaking and non-speaking) of Nibbler in the cartoon TV series Futurama and was also the voice of Snot Tiger in the 2006 Walt Disney animated film The Fox and the Hound 2 (2006).

As of 2002, Welker is the voice of both Fred Jones and Scooby-Doo. This includes the What's New, Scooby-Doo? (2002-2006), and the series-based spinoff, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! (2006-2008).

He voiced Garfield in Garfield Gets Real (2007), the first in a series of new Garfield DVDs.

In 2009, Welker once again did a role in front of the camera in the film The Informant! (2009), where he has a cameo role playing the father of Matt Damon's character.

He also voiced Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Epic Mickey (2010). In The Tigger Movie (2000), he also voiced bees and frogs.


External links

Cast and Crew
Dan Castellaneta | Julie Kavner | Nancy Cartwright | Yeardley Smith | Hank Azaria | Harry Shearer
Also Starring
Pamela Hayden | Tress MacNeille | Maggie Roswell | Russi Taylor | Karl Wiedergott | Christopher Collins | Doris Grau | Jo Ann Harris | Marcia Mitzman Gaven
Special Guest Voices
Kelsey Grammer | Maurice LaMarche | Joe Mantegna | Marcia Wallace | Greg Berg | Albert Brooks | Phil Hartman | Jan Hooks | Jane Kaczmarek | Jon Lovitz | Frank Welker