Famed British actor David Warner passed away yesterday at his home in London. We got eighty years out of him, but we wish it was more.
Warner had many significant roles in film and TV, several from the Star Trek franchise alone (he was the guy who tortured Picard in the two-part “Chain of Command” episode and single-handedly created that “four lights” meme). He was in Titanic, he played Jack The Ripper in 1979’s Time After Time, he had a role in Twin Peaks, and he played Keith in The Omen.
But perhaps his most prolific role was that of voice acting in cartoons. Animation fans are VERY familiar with this guy’s voice, because it was the perfect villain voice. Both calming and eerie, both chilling and alluring…when Warner was your bad guy, he gave you shivers. Only Tony Jay was in the same league as him.
Here are some of our favorite David Warner roles from the past 40 years…
TRON Warner played multiple roles in this one, both as himself and as an animated creation. Outside of the supercomputer he was Dillinger, inside he was his avatar Sark, and also the giant red face behind it all, the MCP (Master Control Program). “De-rez” is a weird thing to say, but when it comes out of Warner’s mouth, you take it as a threat.
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES The word “detective” should ring a bell for this one. Ra’s Al Ghul had no gimmicks, no costumes and no powers…but when you heard Warner’s voice come out of Ra’s, you knew Batman was dealing with someone serious.
MEN IN BLACK: THE SERIES As people have pointed out, this show had a villain that went harder than anybody who appeared in the movies. Warner was Alpha, a former MIB employee who went rogue and grafted alien body parts onto himself to become unstoppable. While most of the threats MIB faced would explode into goo after 22 minutes, Alpha was a much more formidable foe they would have to confront at least once a season. To put it this way, they once managed to take all of Alpha’s alien parts out of him and lock him inside a maximum-security prison as a mortal man — and even under those conditions, he still escaped, got his parts back and whipped their asses.
FREAKAZOID Warner got the rare chance to explore his comedic side with The Lobe, a sharp-toothed man in a suit with a giant brain for a head. It’s because of Freakazoid that Warner could add “sung a musical number” to his resume, having performed “Bonjour Lobey” in the episode Dexter’s Date. The Lobe was one of the characters to return in Teen Titans Go’s Freakazoid reunion episode “Hugbees,” along with Ed Asner (also recently deceased) and announcer Joe Leahy.
THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL The blue cat from Elmore didn’t face too many threats in his original run of episodes, with the exception of a glitched-up figure voiced by Warner who, for some reason, considered Gumball his nemesis. He then attempted to destroy Gumball’s entire life in an epic, fourth-wall-shattering two-parter. It’s worth pointing out the David Warner voice was only temporary and the man eventually lost it, so he could conceivably return in Gumball’s revival.
Warner had many, many roles beyond these. What were some of your favorites?