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Who has the best voice...?


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Not singing voice, but speaking voice. These are the ones that I love:

 

1. George Macready

2. Ann-Margret

3. Orson Welles

4. Mae West

5. Herbert Marshall

6. George 'Foghorn' Winslow

7. Nancy Kulp

8. Raymond Walburn

9. Milburn Stone

10. Dana Andrews

 

Honorable mentions: Janet Gaynor, Anne Baxter, June Allyson and Lassie (should've been cast in THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY)

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And at the other end of the spectrum, Pat Buttram, Andy Devine, and Francis The Mule (should have been cast in commercials on "Death Valley Days").

 

Hey now, Miles. I'll have you know I always liked Chill Wills' voice! They don't come any folksier than THAT, ya know! ;)

 

And to the list of likes here:

 

Gregory Peck

Ronald Colman

James Mason

Cary Grant

Vincent Price

William Holden

Lauren Bacall

Deborah Kerr

Ava Gardner

Jean Simmons

Eva Marie Saint

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I second the votes for Orson Welles, Claude Rains, Lauren Bacall and William Holden.

 

I'd like to throw these names into the ring:

 

Errol Flynn

Eleanor Parker

Rita Hayworth

Frank Sinatra

Barbara Stanwyck

Alexis Smith

Maureen O'Hara

Myrna Loy

 

 

At the other end of the spectrum... Marlon Brando, Gilbert Gotfried, and George Lindsay have irritating voices.

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In addition to those already mentioned,

 

Male

George Sanders

Sean Connery

Richard Burton

Henry Daniell

Robert Mitchum

 

Female

Joan Crawford

Claudette Colbert

Olivia De Havilland

Judy Garland

Deborah Kerr

 

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Not singing voice, but speaking voice. These are the ones that I love:

 

1. George Macready

2. Ann-Margret

3. Orson Welles

4. Mae West

5. Herbert Marshall

6. George 'Foghorn' Winslow

7. Nancy Kulp

8. Raymond Walburn

9. Milburn Stone

10. Dana Andrews

 

Honorable mentions: Janet Gaynor, Anne Baxter, June Allyson and Lassie (should've been cast in THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY)

You LOVE June Allyson's speaking voice? No comment.......Nobody has mentioned Ronald Colman, who was known for his voice.

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I would add to that list with:

 

1  Claude Rains

2  Billie Burke

3  James Earl Jones

 

And at the other end of the spectrum, Pat Buttram, Andy Devine, and Francis The Mule (should have been cast in commercials on "Death Valley Days").

Wasn't Francis done by CHILL WILLS?

 

Anyway, throw ROSCOE LEE BROWN on that heap.

 

I always liked JOHN HUSTON'S speaking voice.

 

Let's toss in SEBASTIAN CABOT for good measure.

 

Anybody else I like had already been mentioned.

 

Sepiatone

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In alphabetical order.

 

Men

Stewart Granger

Cary Grant

James Earl Jones

George Macready

Victor Mature

Robert Mitchum

Vincent Price

Claude Rains

George Sanders

Warren William

 

Of course this doesn't include not-so-great-but-nevertheless-distinctive-and-beloved voices like Eugene Pallette, James Cagney, etc.

 

Women

Lauren Bacall

Ingrid Bergman

Leslie Caron

Kay Francis

Judy Garland

Audrey Hepburn

Myrna Loy

Sylvia Sidney

Jean Simmons

Barbara Stanwyck

 

And of course this doesn't include not-so-great-but-nevertheless-distinctive-and-beloved voices like Jean Harlow, Glenda Farrell, etc.

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There have been some great ones mentioned. I agree about James Earl Jones. I also like how distinctively warm Barbara Bel Geddes' voice always sounded.

 

And as Jessica Rabbitt, who can forget Kathleen Turner!

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Andy, love your list. I'd add Ronald Colman, Herbert Marshall and Anthony Hopkins to it.

 

Nothing wrong with any of them, but I wanted to stop at 10 each.  Marshall was just about the last cut, but if I'd watch Trouble in Paradise more recently than a month ago, I might've kept him in there.

 

But speaking of Trouble in Paradise, note the slight change I've made in the second list.   That was a movie of many memorable voices.

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One of the reasons I started this thread is because I keep coming to the idea that film actors of the 30s and 40s had better voices than today's movie stars. Maybe it's because after silent pictures went away, they had to have a distinctive sound (even the character actors) in order to be hired. Also, many of them had side jobs on radio where they had to be quite good at using their voices.

 

As I read many of the replies here, it occurred to me that the voice is one of the best instruments an actor can use. 

 

I remember once when I was a teenager, my sister just wouldn't listen when we crossed the street (she was younger than me). The only way I could get her attention, on a slightly windy day, was to turn around and face the house and call out to her by shouting away from her. She stopped dead in her tracks. She quickly pivoted and looked back to see where the voice was coming from (it was bouncing off the house and had ricocheted over to her). I learned in that exercise that sometimes how we hear something is just as important as what we hear.

 

I never told my sister what I had done. I kept that trick to myself in case I ever had to use it again. :)

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One of the reasons I started this thread is because I keep coming to the idea that film actors of the 30s and 40s had better voices than today's movie stars. Maybe it's because after silent pictures went away, they had to have a distinctive sound (even the character actors) in order to be hired. Also, many of them had side jobs on radio where they had to be quite good at using their voices.

 

As I read many of the replies here, it occurred to me that the voice is one of the best instruments an actor can use. 

I agree that the stars of the Golden Age had much better voices than many of the stars nowadays.  Stars whose voices were not as elegant could make up for it in other areas if they were especially attractive, talented at comedy, etc.  Many of the silent stars were unable to make the transition from silent to sound because they had unattractive voices that didn't match up with their silent persona.  Clara Bow was one such victim of the talkies.  She had a nasely, thick Brooklyn accent.  She was also uneducated and used poor grammar when speaking.  She made only a handful of talkies, none that were successful. 

 

Many of the stars during that time also went through elocution classes to learn how to speak clearly.  Other stars were just blessed with beautiful speaking voices.  Many of the stars who are from the East Coast tend to have British-sounding accents.  I'm thinking of Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  I've also noticed that the stars who possess the more "upper crust" sounding accents tend to be cast as rich/upper class people in their films.  I am thinking of Errol Flynn, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in particular.  Bogart, who has a very distinct voice, but not a particularly elegant sounding one, tends to be cast in roles not particularly associated with class.

 

I personally prefer the voices of the Golden era stars, simply because they enunciate their words clearly and possess unique sounding voices-- whether or not the voice is natural or manufactured, the star's voice is part of their persona.  Stars from yesteryear aren't as interchangeable as the stars of today.

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Voice? 

 

Character voice?

 

Hey look, mister. We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint "atmosphere". Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?” -Nick (It's a Wonderful Life 1946)

 

Is there any voice with more uniquely rasped convincing soul than Sheldon Leonard's? 

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I have to disagree on speedracer5's comments about Clara Bow. He/she stated that Clara Bow was one of those silent stars who couldn't make it in talkies due to her voice. There's no truth to this statement.

There are many reasons for why Clara quit films and none of them were due to her voice.

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Voice? 

 

Character voice?

 

Hey look, mister. We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint "atmosphere". Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?” -Nick (It's a Wonderful Life 1946)

 

Is there any voice with more uniquely rasped convincing soul than Sheldon Leonard's? 

 

Oh, yeah...."Hey! Get ME! I'm givin' out wings!"

 

An' if youse might be lookin' for some gent for ta play da gangstah type back in da day, youse couldnt'a done bettah den callin' Sheldon Leonard's managah! Youse know whad I'm talkin' 'bout he-ah?!

 

(...btw, you DO know that the character of Nick IS the only person in "Pottersville" other than that grumpy and miserly old f-art Potter himself who makes out better financially if George was never born doncha?!...'cause he owns "Martini's bar" AND apparently business is pretty damn good!!!) ;)

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Voice? 

 

Character voice?

 

Hey look, mister. We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint "atmosphere". Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?” -Nick (It's a Wonderful Life 1946)

 

Is there any voice with more uniquely rasped convincing soul than Sheldon Leonard's? 

 

Of course if you want to get into great criminal and generally evil voices, let's not forget these classic characters:

 

Robert DeNiro

Sidney Greenstreet

Boris Karloff

Jack Lambert

Peter Lorre

Bela Lugosi

Al Pacino

Joe Pesci

Edward G. Robinson

Conrad Veidt

Richard Widmark

 

With plenty more honorable mentions

 

 

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