From Catwoman to Azula: Grey DeLisle’s
10 Best Voice-Over Performances
By Austin Allison, Collider, 2022
While there has been much ado about Hellena Taylor and recasting of the role of Bayonetta in the series’ newest installment, Grey DeLisle aka Grey Griffin is set to return to the role she originated as the English voice of Jeanne in Bayonetta 3. One of the top voice-acting authorities, DeLisle is one of the most versatile and celebrated voice talents working today and has embodied many original and legacy characters with a voice that can be just as cutting and fierce as it can be personable and kind. Here are some of the most iconic and remarkably strong performances from Grey Delisle.
11/11Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked, resulting in a hundred-year war that reaches its peak in Nickelodeon’s wildly beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series follows the latest avatar as he and his friends fight the relentless forces of the tyrannical Fire Nation that threatens to rule the entire world.
The Fire Nation’s malice is no better illustrated than by Azula, the psychotically brilliant princess perfectionist whose only true friends are her skills as a firebending prodigy. Both cold-blooded and hot-tempered, Azula is a master manipulator and a skillful strategist, using her cunning to both intimidate and outsmart her enemies right down to a psychological level. DeLisle’s performance across the show’s second and third season’s effectively shows Azula’s declining sanity when faced with less and less control over her underlings and even herself.
10/11Daphne Blake from Various Scooby-Doo Projects
Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for Hanna-Barbera, 1969’s original Scooby-Doo, Where are You! launched an over 50-year legacy of movies, shows and merchandise that have chronicled the meddling misadventures of Mystery Inc., the iconic group of adolescent sleuths and their dumb dog that have been portrayed by a roster of different actors over the years.
Daphne Blake is most famously voiced by DeLisle, who has portrayed the team’s photogenic fashionista for over 20 years in various films and in shows like What’s New Scooby-Doo? and Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated. DeLisle’s performance as Daphne has been able to maintain consistency across various interpretations of the character, giving her a balance of youthful enthusiasm and teenage annoyance.
9/11Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Cartoon Network’s The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy celebrated the sick and disturbing world of the macabre in a demented comedic lens, banking on gross-out humor and genuine freights to become of the network’s most bizarre and popular series. The Grim Reaper (Greg Eagles) finds himself the indentured servant and caretaker of the titular kids; one being the bumbling Billy (Richard Horvitz) and the other the menacing Mandy.
Mandy is a child both wise and bitter beyond her years. She seldom ever smiles and does not take anything from anybody, whether they’re from the underworld or not. Mandy’s cutting remarks and permanent scowl introduce every episode with ominous and often silly pleads and criticisms to the audience. DeLisle’s performance portrays the kind of irritable intensity that is oddly fitting to come out of a little girl, especially one who has the lord of death as a best friend.
From the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences
8/11Vicky the Babysitter from The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents tells the story of Timmy Turner (Tara Strong), an average kid that no one understands, and how his day-to-day life is bombarded with authority figures that make his life utterly miserable enough to grant him a pair of wish-granting fairy god parents. Each episode shows how Timmy’s life could be improved by a magic wish and how the wishes ultimately go awry.
On top of absentee parents and overbearing teachers, the bulk of Timmy’s misery is owed to his vindictive babysitter, Vicky! “Icky” Vicky runs a veritable monopoly on the demand for babysitters in Dimmsdale and capitalizes on the pain she causes the local children, especially Timmy. DeLisle’s shrieking voice as Vicky channels the kind of cartoonishly exaggerated evil that perfectly embodies the childhood enemy of all things good and fun.
7/11Frankie from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
Inspired by a visit to a pet shelter, Craig McCracken envisioned Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends as a place where bygone and forgotten imaginary friends go for a second chance at life in the hopes of getting adopted by a new family. The very concept invites a menagerie of colorfully inventive characters and ideas for childhood friends, but perhaps the most fan-favorite of the show’s characters was the home’s overworked maid and supervisor, Frankie.
With a voice from DeLisle that is far less caustic and more relaxed, Frankie Foster is the antithesis of Vicky in every way. She is the kindly older sister figure to everyone in the house and has their best interests at heart as a friend of friends. Based upon McCracken’s wife and longtime collaborator Lauren Faust, Frankie is portrayed as a stressed out 20-something trying her best at a job she loves with a warmth and snark that makes her an endearingly admirable character.
From First Entertainment Credit Union
Catwoman from Various DC Projects
Eartha Kitt. Michelle Pfeiffer. Halle Berry. Anne Hathaway. Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) has had a careered life in and out of comics as Batman’s femme fatale feline foil and general villain in the DC universe, stealing jewels and fighting for animal rights across page and screen for over 80 years. DeLisle has voiced the literal cat burglar across video games and animation in recent years and has made her own stamp on the character with a performance that is just as sultry seductive as it is charmingly catty.
5/11Jenny Brava/Ice Queen (Genderbent Cartoon Network Characters)
It is one thing to invent a voice for an original character like Azula or take on a well-known legacy role like Catwoman. It is another skill entirely to translate a characteristically masculine voice into a female one. DeLisle has twice taken on pre-established Cartoon Network icons and voiced genderbent versions of them in her own way. In the Johnny Bravo episode “Witch-Ay Woman”, the beefcake bonehead, originally voiced by Jeff Bennett, is transformed into a woman in order to learn a lesson on gender roles. DeLisle voices the newly embodied Jenny Brava with the snappy charisma of Bravo and a ruggedly feminine raspiness that fits the character. In the Adventure Time episode “Fiona and Cake”, the genderbent versions of the main characters, designed by Bee and Puppycat creator Natasha Allegri, come to life for the first time in animation, including the Ice Queen, a female version of Tom Kenny’s Ice King. Like Kenny, DeLisle gives the Ice Queen a fancifully wicked voice that matches the selfishly vain and romantic motives of the character. DeLisle’s versatility enabled her to harken the essence of the role enough to believably bridge genders.
3/11Lizzie Devine from Codename: Kids Next Door
In the fight against adult tyranny seen in Codename: Kids Next Door, being an operative of the KND is a responsibility that requires the upmost dedication in protecting children’s rights, especially for Sector V leader Nigel Uno (Ben Diskin). Numbuh 1 pours himself into his work and does not allow anything to stop him from carrying out dangerous missions, except for his girlfriend Lizzie Devine, of course.
Throughout the series, Lizzie serves as a reminder that Numbuh 1 is just a kid in the end and must allow himself to act like one in suburban scenarios, whether he wants to or not. While he holds his duties to the KND as his top priority, Lizzie reminds him that she is also his priority as his girlfriend and will stop at nothing until she has him all to himself. DeLisle walks a steady balancing act as Lizzie to depict her with a sweetly juvenile, yet manically obsessive attachment to her “Nigie”.
2/11Martin Prince from The Simpsons (circa 2019)
2019 saw the passing of legendary voice actor Russi Taylor, known for such roles as Minnie Mouse and the original Ducktales’ Huey, Dewey, and Louie. She was also a regular voice on the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons, where she originated the roles of gossipy twins Sherri and Terri and the self-proclaimed boy genius Martin Prince. After Taylor’s passing, DeLisle took on the duties of voicing the twins and Martin Prince in newer season, doing a pitch-perfect emulation of Taylor’s voice while also bringing her own boyish timbres to the characters. DeLisle’s turn as Martin has been a particular marvel as she has not voiced as many young boy characters as her series counterpart Nancy Cartwright.
1/11Xandra: The Goddess of Adventure from The Legend of the Three Caballeros
Based upon Walt Disney Animation’s 1944 package film The Three Caballeros, the all-star cast Legend of the Three Caballeros follows Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo), Jose Carioca (Eric Bauza) and Panchito Pistoles (Jaime Camil) as they are discovered to be the descendants of magical warriors and are called upon to save the earth from destruction.
Xandra is the Greek Goddess of Adventure who guides them on their journey to become the heroes they are destined to be, accompanying them on missions to exotic realms and teaching them the way of the warrior. Xandra culminates the totality of DeLisle’s range and talents as a voice actor as the role requires a wide range of emotions and tones often in the same breath. The amalgamation of DeLisle’s most recognizable voices is found in her performance as Xandra through the character’s sincerity, passion and charm, making her a standout of the series already decorated voice cast. (more to follow…)
From the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences