(written from a Production point of view)
Michael Patrick Bell (born 30 July 1938; age 81) is an American voice actor and actor from Brooklyn, New York, who portrayed Zorn in "Encounter at Farpoint", the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He later appeared in two second season episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "The Homecoming", as Borum, and "The Maquis, Part II", as Drofo Awa.
Bell is one of the most prolific voice actors working today, having had roles in hundreds of films and television episodes. Although he has made numerous live-action appearances throughout his career, he is most prominent as a voice-over actor. His large body of voice-over work includes the video games Star Trek: Armada II, Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen and Star Trek: New Worlds.
Film and television voice work Edit
One of Bell's earliest major voice over roles was that of Zan, one of the Wonder Twins, on the various animated Super Friends cartoons (The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends, The World's Greatest Super Friends, and Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show). On these shows, Bell also provided the vocalizations for the "space monkey," Gleek, and on Challenge of the Super Friends, he voiced the villainous role of The Riddler. This same character was previously played by Frank Gorshin on the 1960s television series Batman and was later voiced by John Glover on Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s.
During his time on the Super Friends shows, Bell worked with such voice actors as Rene Auberjonois, Ted Cassidy, Vic Perrin, Mark L. Taylor, and Frank Welker. Cassidy had previously appeared as Ruk on the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", while Perrin had several roles on the series; the others would become associated with Star Trek at a later time.
In addition, Bell voiced Mark on the Saturday morning cartoon Speed Buggy and Plastic Man on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. He lent his voice to commercials, as well, including Parkay Margarine (where he played the Parkay margarine tub) and Mug Root Beer.
Bell was the voice of Grouchy Smurf, Handy Smurf, and Lazy Smurf, as well as the human, Johan, on NBC's popular cartoon series The Smurfs. He worked with many other Star Trek performers on this show, including Hamilton Camp, Barry Gordon, Alan Oppenheimer, and the aforementioned Frank Welker. During this time, Bell also provided the voices for Duke, Clutch, and several other characters on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, the various G.I. Joe mini-series, and the 1987 direct-to-video G.I. Joe: The Movie.
On Transformers, Bell voiced no less than eight of the title robotic characters (Bombshell, Brainstorm, First Aid, Gort, Prowl, Scrapper, Sideswipe, and Swoop). Other Star Trek alumni who supplied voices on this show included Roger C. Carmel, Christopher Collins, Walker Edmiston, Paul Eiding, Alan Oppenheimer, Clive Revill, and Frank Welker. Bell also provided his voice to The Transformers: The Movie, as did Carmel, Collins, B.J. Davis, Eiding, Revill, Welker, TOS regular Leonard Nimoy, and screen legend Orson Welles.
Bell's other voice-over roles throughout the 1980s included Bruce Banner and Dr. Octopus on The Incredible Hulk, Lance and Sven on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, and Cyclops in the TV special Pryde of the X-Men (working with Earl Boen, Alan Oppenheimer, and Frank Welker). He voiced characters in animated films, as well, including Grundle in My Little Pony: The Movie and Oompy in Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. On the latter, he worked with Rene Auberjonois, Gabriel Damon, and, once again, Alan Oppenheimer. Bell also voiced Lex Luthor in the 1988 Superman cartoon (a role shared with Sherman Howard and Clancy Brown).
During the 1990s, Bell voiced a number of recurring villains on different animated shows. He was Quackerjack on Darkwing Duck (on which Kenneth Mars also voiced a recurring villain, namely Tuskernini) and Aziz on Aladdin (on which Jason Alexander and James Avery voiced the most recurring villains, Abis Mal and Harud Hazi Bin), both for Walt Disney Television. He also voiced Ixis Naugus on Sonic the Hedgehog and Ezekial Rage on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. In addition, he was Ferdinand, the scheming, overweight, skateboard-riding dog on Tom and Jerry: The Movie. The latter also featured the voices of Henry Gibson, Tony Jay, and David L. Lander.
Bell is also one of the many Star Trek alumni to have lent his voice to Disney's animated series, Gargoyles. On this series, Bell voiced the recurring role of Pal Joey, an associate of mob boss Tony Dracon. Among the others who lent their voices to Gargoyles were Diedrich Bader, Clancy Brown, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Matt Frewer, Gerrit Graham, Clyde Kusatsu, Kate Mulgrew, Nichelle Nichols, John Rhys-Davies, Salli Elise Richardson, W. Morgan Sheppard, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, David Warner, Frank Welker, and Paul Winfield.
Bell's non-villainous voice-over roles during the 1990s included Opus the penguin on the animated TV special A Wish for Wings That Work and Captain Grimalken in an episode of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. In the latter, his character's ship is stolen by a villain voiced by aforementioned TNG/DS9 regular Michael Dorn. Later in the decade, Bell voiced parents Drew Pickles, Chaz Finster, and Grandpa Boris Kerpackter on the Nickelodeon series Rugrats and 1998's The Rugrats Movie (with the latter featuring the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Jay, Andrea Martin, and Iggy Pop). He also reprised his role as Lance on Voltron: The Third Dimension. He also did voice work for an episode of The Incredible Hulk (1996-1997 Series) along with Neal McDonough (The then current voice actor depicting Bruce Banner).
Bell continued voicing Drew Pickles, Chazz Finster, and Grandpa Boris on Rugrats until 2004 and its spin-off series, All Grown Up!, from 2003 through 2008. He also played the first two roles in the films Rugrats in Paris and Rugrats Go Wild (with Tony Jay and Ethan Phillips).
Bell parodied his Super Friends role as Zan in an episode of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. He also voiced Pongo the dalmatian on Disney's series House of Mouse. He later played several characters on the animated series W.I.T.C.H. and he can be heard in the "Brian the Bachelor" episode of Seth MacFarlane's series Family Guy. In addition, Bell and the aforementioned Paul Eiding supplied additional voices for the blockbuster Disney/Pixar film Cars, which also featured the voice of Paul Dooley.
Video game voice work Edit
Outside of his work in film and television, Bell has supplied his voice to numerous video games since the 1990s. He played various characters in four installments of the Baldur's Gate video game series, on which he again worked with Earl Boen, Hamilton Camp, Michael Dorn, Alan Oppenheimer, and Frank Welker. Bell also worked with Brian George, James Horan, Jason Marsden, John Rhys-Davies, Dwight Schultz, and David Warner on these games.
Bell and W. Morgan Sheppard voiced Russian soldiers in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (again working with Earl Boen and Paul Eiding). Bell later voiced The Fear in the sequel, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (with Eiding and Richard McGonagle). Bell can also be heard on the Command & Conquer games Tiberian Sun (with Nicholas Worth), Red Alert 2 (with Ray Wise and Nicholas Worth), and Generals Zero Hour (with Brian George).
Bell voiced the soul-devouring anti-hero Raziel in three of the Legacy of Kain video game series, working alongside Tony Jay as the voice of the Elder God. Two of the games also featured the voice of aforementioned DS9 regular Rene Auberjonois in the role of Janos Audron, an ancient winged vampire resembling an angel, and all of the Franchise's five installments featured Simon Templeman as the voice of Kain. Bell's many other video game credits include Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix (with Earl Boen, Rosalind Chao, Lilyan Chauvin, Boris Lee Krutonog, Kenneth Mars, Alan Oppenheimer, and Keith Szarabajka), Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (with Paul Eiding), the first Call of Duty (with Greg Ellis), and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, in addition to many more games with Earl Boen, Alan Oppenheimer, and others mentioned above.
In the Star Fleet Command series of PC games, Bell has voiced the tutorials for the Romulans, Hydrans, and Lyrans, giving each race a distinctive voice. Also appearing in these games were the voices of George Takei, Alan Oppenheimer, and Cam Clarke.
Live-action performances Edit
Bell appeared in several feature films during the 1950s and 1960s. He had a supporting role in the 1967 stock car racing action drama Thunder Alley, as did Stanley Adams. That same year, Bell and Sid Haig appeared as penthouse lobby guards in the crime thriller Point Blank. Fellow Trek alum Sharon Acker, James B. Sikking, and Michael Strong also had roles in this film.
His next film role was a brief appearance in the 1968 western Blue, which also featured Ricardo Montalban. Following an uncredited appearance in the hit disaster film Airport (which had set decoration by Mickey S. Michaels), Bell had a role in the 1971 drama Brother John with Paul Winfield. This film was directed by James Goldstone, whom Bell first worked with on the 1970 TV movie A Clear and Present Danger (co-starring Sharon Acker and Jeff Corey) and with whom he reunited several years later for the 1977 disaster film, Rollercoaster.
Bell has only appeared in three films since Rollercoaster. The first was the Robert Scheerer-directed comedy How to Beat the High Co$t of Living, co-starring with Byron Morrow. He later appeared in the 1989 horror comedy C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud with Larry Cedar, Gerrit Graham, and Robert Symonds. Most recently, he played Marvis in Martin Lawrence's hit 1996 comedy A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
During the 1960s, Bell guest-starred on several hit TV programs, including Gomery Pyle, U.S.M.C., Get Smart, The Monkees, and The Big Valley. He was seen in the pilot episode of NBC's Then Came Bronson, as well, and appeared on the comedy series Here Comes the Brides with series regulars Robert Brown, Mark Lenard, and David Soul. He also worked with director Alexander Singer on episodes of The Monkees (with Vic Tayback) and Desilu's Mission: Impossible (with Robert Ellenstein).
Between 1970 and 1974, Bell appeared in six episodes of NBC's crime drama Ironside, each time playing a different character. Barbara Anderson was a regular on this series for Bell's first two episodes. His very first episode, "Little Jerry Jessup," guest-starred TOS regular William Shatner as well as fellow DS9 guest actor Kenneth Tobey. Star Trek alumni he worked with on subsequent episodes this show included performers Vince Howard, Gene Lyons, and Phillip Pine, and directors Don McDougall and Robert Scheerer.
Bell again worked with Don McDougall on a 1972 episode of Mannix with Steve Ihnat, Julie Parrish, and Norman Stuart. McDougall also directed Bell on the 1972 ABC Movie of the Week The Heist, which co-starred Arthur Batanides and Paul Sorensen. Bell's other TV appearances during the early 1970s included two additional episodes of Mannix (working with Barry Atwater, Paul Carr, Walker Edmiston, Rosemary Forsyth, Chuck Hicks, Frank Orsatti Jay Robinson, and, once again, Kenneth Tobey), an episode of Cannon with Richard Kiley, a pair of crossover episodes between Cannon and Barnaby Jones (working with Sharon Acker, George D. Wallace, and Barnaby Jones regular Lee Meriwether), and several episodes of Petrocelli (starring Susan Howard and David Huddleston).
Between 1975 and 1986, Bell appeared on such shows as The Streets of San Francisco (with Paul Carr, Sherry Jackson, Charles Napier, and Phillip Pine), Charlie's Angels (including an episode with Ed Lauter), The Rockford Files (including an episode directed by Reza Badiyi and also featuring Ed Lauter, as well as Bill Quinn), CHiPs (starring Robert Pine), Fame (again working with director Robert Scheerer), Remington Steele (with Camille Saviola), and Scarecrow and Mrs. King (with William Schallert). He has also been seen on such hit comedy shows as M*A*S*H, Benson, and Three's Comedy.
Perhaps his most notable live-action television role was that of recurring character Les Crowley in four episodes of Dallas airing in late 1980 and early 1981. Among the Star Trek performers he worked with on this series were Barbara Babcock, Mary Crosby, Ted Gehring, Richard Herd, Susan Howard, Leigh J. McCloskey, William Smithers, Paul Sorensen, and Morgan Woodward. Bell made a return visit to the series in 1991, albeit as a different character. Bell has not appeared in a live-action TV project since his last appearance on DS9 in 1994.