From Mario Kart to Super Mario Odyssey: if you hear an upbeat ‘wa-hoo’ or ‘lets-a-go!’ in a Mario game, then you are in fact listening to Charles Martinet’s jolly voice. This happy-go-lucky American voice actor of French descent has been lending his voice to Nintendo’s most famous mustachioed man since 1990, which is also the very first time Mario ever got voiced.
Mario is not the only character with this man’s vocal cords. A lot of other recurrent Nintendo characters got the Martinet treatment too, such as Luigi, Wario, Waluigi and many more.
Fun Fact: Martinet got the Mario voice acting job by crashing a Nintendo audition, uninvited. "The crew was already putting away its equipment, but they let me do it anyway”, says Martinet. “They asked me to do a voice for an Italian plumber from Brooklyn. And I just went on and on about spaghetti and meatballs for half an hour, until the producer said, 'cut, stop, we've run out of tape! We’ll call you.’ Turns out that was the only video they’ve sent in. And Mr. Miyamoto [Mario’s creator] liked it immediately.”
His work for Nintendo was a gateway to other video game voice acting, most notably to the immensely popular The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011, in which he voiced the dragon Paarthurnax. Other gaming projects to which Martinet contributed include Ratchet & Clank, Jet Set Radio Future and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
Charles Martinet will be a guest on September 29 and 30 in Flanders Expo Ghent, for FACTS Fall 2018. He will be available for photoshoots, signing sessions and panels on both days.