NINTENDO announced Monday that longtime voice actor Charles Martinet will step down from his role as voice artist for legendary video game character Mario.
Charles Martinet, 67, is an American actor and the original voice of Mario since the first video games where the popular Italian plumber actually speaks.
Who is Charles Martinet?
Charles Martinet was born on September 17, 1955 in San Jose, California, but his family moved to Barcelona and then to Paris when he was a child.
He later attended UC Berkeley to study international law, but then switched to an apprenticeship at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.
Martinet also attended Drama Studio London, where he discovered a talent for mimicking dialects and accents.
His skill proved crucial in creating Mario’s distinctive over-the-top Italian-American accent.
When did Charles Martinet start writing Mario?
Martinet landed the role of Mario in 1991 when Nintendo was looking for a voice for its mascot to use at trade shows and other promotional events.
Back then, Mario games didn’t have voice acting, so Charles Martinet was hired to portray the iconic character for an interactive system called Mario in Real-Time (MIRT).
Developed by US company SimGraphics, the system would allow visitors to promotional events to converse with a 3D version of Mario displayed on a television screen.
The first video game Martinet had to voice Mario for was 1994’s Mario Teaches Typing, an obscure educational game.
1995’s Mario’s Game Gallery is the earliest game to feature Martinet full dialogue in a game.
Still, most Mario fans first heard Charles Martinet as Mario’s voice in Super Mario 64, released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996.
Why is Charles Martinet returning his voice as Mario?
Although Martinet is retiring from recording character voices for Nintendo games, he will take on the new position of Mario Ambassador.
While it’s not clear what exactly this new role will entail, Nintendo’s announcement states that “he will continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with all of you!”
Nintendo’s announcement doesn’t give any specific reasons for the move.
With the announcement, the company promised a special video message from Charles Martinet and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
This video will be released at an unspecified later date.
Who else did Charles Martinet voice?
Besides Mario, Charles Martinet has portrayed many other characters in the Super Mario series.
Martinet has voiced Mario’s brother, Luigi, as well as Mario and Luigi’s arch-rivals, Wario and Waluigi.
He has also voiced special versions of Mario, such as Metal Mario, which appears in the Mario and Super Smash Bros. series.
Shadow Mario, a mysterious Mario double who is a boss in Super Mario Sunshine, is also portrayed by Charles Martinet.
Martinet also voices the Mini Mario toy featured in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series.
Martinet also voiced Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, and Baby Wario, who appear in the Yoshi’s Island series.
In the first Luigi’s Mansion game, Martinet voices the portrait spirit Boolossus and the smaller Boo spirits.
Did Charles Martinet speak to Luigi?
Yes, Charles Martinet has also embodied Mario’s bigger brother Luigi for almost three decades.
1996’s Mario Kart 64 is one of the earliest games to feature a voiced version of Luigi.
In Luigi’s own video game series, Luigi’s Mansion, Mario’s twin brother is also voiced by Charles Martinet.
Written by Stoyan Ovcharov on behalf of GLHF.
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