TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is always excited to be able to present a well rounded and experienced actor to all our readers. Lee Tockar is just the type of person to be able to shed the full light of his experience on all the students of the arts who follow our publication. Lee is an actor with over 131 titles to his credit, and has garnered accolades from every corner of the field of entertainment.
Lee, what made you choose acting as your career of choice, and who was your greatest influence to do so?
LT- I have been voicing cartoons for over twenty years but I did stand up comedy before that. My first time on stage was when I was seven and I got the bug when I heard I could make people laugh. But, in truth, I have also been writing and drawing and painting for just as long. Cartoons were just the first thing to pay me well enough to dedicate myself to it. Where Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seus and Magrete have influenced my art, I would have to say that Mel Blanc was my idol for animation. I always wanted to be able to do multiple voices like him.
TAEM- What training did you undertake for your career?
LT- No training. Many logged on stage hours doing stand up maybe. That was a kind of training, I suppose but my shtick was always doing different voices anyway so this seemed like a natural progression. If anything, my real training came from being a class clown.
TAEM- You have ventured into acting in the theater as well as performing comedy. Please tell us about these experiences.
LT- I had many opportunities to act in dinner theatre and traveling shows but I wrote for theatre long before I endeavored to act in it. I won the BC playwright competition in 1988 for “Confessions”. I wrote for the Backstage Theatre in Kelowna around the same time. It helped me develop my skills for storytelling. I co-wrote and co-starred in “Another Instant Classic” for the Vancouver Fringe Festival four years ago, to sold out shows.
TAEM- Of those, which did you find most apealing ?
LT- The best experience I had acting on the theatrical stage was when I performed “Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll” 12 characters – all me. I absolutely loved it. Under the direction of John (Jesus) Murphy, we were held over for two weeks to sold out shows, here in Vancouver. I was… elated.
TAEM- Your real forte was in voice acting, and you have excelled in this more than any actor that I know. At what point did you venture into this field, and why ?
LT- I remember walking down the street, holding my mother’s hand. I was five, it was in my hometown of Kelowna and I looked up at her and said, “I want to grow up to be a cartoon.” I had no idea what that meant or how but I knew that I wanted to be a part of the animated shows I had seen, while sitting on the high piiled shag carpeting, watching the big, wooden, floor-model TV at my grama’a place. The rest is history. Man, I think I just totally dated myself. Ah well.
LT- In the first few years I worked with Disney, Studio B, Mainframe, Hanna Barbera, Nerd Corps, Warner Brothers… you name it, I worked with them.
The thrill never goes away. Hearing my voice opposite people like Eric Idle, Ben Kingsley, John Goodman, Alfred Molina and so many others… the thrill never goes away. I pinch myself all the time. I sometimes can’t believe how fortunate I am to be able to work with talent such as this – to be able to do what I do and actually get paid.
TAEM- In film you worked with Twentieth Century Fox in Marley & Me 2 and with Warner Brothers in Cats & Dogs 2. You’ve also written Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys and was the associate producer for Come Together. These were quite great accomplishments. Tell us the thrill that you received having these productions on the silver screen.
LT- Although I am absolutely thrilled, I try not to get to wrapped up in the ‘star’ angle. Each one of these jobs were just that… jobs. I always try to bring my A-game and let others decide if it is good. I am always just happy to be invited to participate in projects; whether that is as an actor, writer, producer or what-have-you. I love it all.
TAEM- Your greatest accomplishments to date, however, was your venture into television shows and video games. Nearly every animated series on television has your name in it, and you portrayed many of the characters that made these shows famous. Please name some of them and how you were able to individualize the many voice parts that you created.
LT- Well, let’s see… I played George in “George of the Jungle”, Bling Bling Boy, the General and Speed Mac Cool in “Johnny test”, Doktor Frogg in “The League of Super Evil”, Bibble in most of the “Barbie” movies, Snips in “My Little Pony”, Covert Agent Ravvage in the old “Beast Wars” cartoon and so many more I actually (quite literally) lost count. I know that it is coming up to over 5000 episodes of animation to date. That’s a lot of silly voices for a ton of silly toons. I have a hard time remembering what I ate this morning.
TAEM- Of these shows which did you find most fascinating to do ?
LT- that is a bit of a loaded question. Understand that I am STILL working for many of these companies, on NEW productions. I am playing the lead comic foil in Nerd Corps’ and Disney’s new co-production, “Slugterra” series coming out soon, one for Studio B and Johnny Test is coming back for season five, so (not wanting to make anyone feel unloved) let me say… I just love the heck out of all of them… phew, dodged a bullet there… haha.
TAEM- Tell us about some of the video games that you worked with.
LT- I know I have done some… Planet Hulk, Speed-something-or-other, Warhammer-something, and some others but I try to stay away from them. They tend to really tracsh the vocal chords. There is a lot of fighting and punching and kicking and “Fire in the hole!” stuff, which tends to make all my cute and cuddly voices all sound like Tom Waits after a night of smoking cigars and drinking cleaning products.
TAEM- With so many accomplishments to your credit what are your goals for the near future ?
LT- This is my year to take over the world. I am producing a podcast called “Fabuilt” (Entertainment Tonight for the “Animation world), an animated series called “Animation Idol”(Which my lawyer has informed me we finally have the right to use and trademark), I have just signed to a literary agent who is representing a few of my children’s books, I am writing a movie called “The Grym Possession of Chesterfield Couch”, which I am pitching to some producers I have worked for in LA., and my first public art show is coming up in the summer… you know… unless my brain finally implodes.
TAEM- Lee, I am humbled by being able to have you interview for The Arts and Entertainment Magazine and know that the many students who read it can learn from you. Please promise to keep in touch with us so that we can keep all our readers informed of everything that you do in the future.
Thank you very much. Please follow my Fanbuilt page of Facebook, my website at leetockar.com, my twitterings and please send me as many psitive whim-whams as you collectively can. The wonderfully humbling thing about playing show and tell with the world is potential for failure. Thankfully, that’s entertaining too.
And thank you very much.
Lee (Sleep is for babies) Tockar