Since Pixar unleashed the first Toy Story film back in 1995, it has become an absolute sensation that has captivated audiences all over the globe. Whether you’re a die-hard Disney or Pixar enthusiast, there’s an abundance of reasons why these movies are simply irresistible. Devoted fans never tire of unearthing fascinating trivia and engaging in lively discussions about the franchise.
When one thinks of Toy Story, it’s hard not to immediately visualize the incredible voice acting talents of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, who bring Woody and Buzz Lightyear to life. However, throughout the past 25 years, a plethora of gifted actors have lent their voices to an array of delightful characters in the Toy Story series. And let me tell you, there are a few jaw-dropping surprises in store.
So, out of all these astonishing voice actors, who left you utterly flabbergasted?
1. Betty White As Bitey White
Betty White, with her impressive career spanning seven decades, has established herself as one of the most renowned actresses in the history of television. Notably, she holds the distinction of being the first woman to produce and star in a sitcom, Life with Elizabeth. Additionally, she graced the screens of numerous iconic TV shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Betty White Show. However, it is perhaps her portrayal of Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls that remains etched in people’s memories.
In Toy Story 4, White’s character is aptly named Bitey White. Bitey, a teething ring, finds herself confined to the depths of Bonnie’s toy closet, a place where forgotten toys reside. Alongside the other baby toys, Bitey fondly recalls the moments spent with Bonnie, especially after Woody was discarded into the closet.
2. Patricia Arquette As Harmony’s Mom
Patricia Arquette, known for her impressive Hollywood career, made her film debut in 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors as Kristen Parker. Since then, she has starred in a number of critically acclaimed movies such as True Romance, Flirting with Disaster, and Boyhood. Additionally, Arquette has showcased her talent in TV shows like Medium, The Act, and Severance.
Despite her fame, Arquette’s role as Harmony’s Mom in Toy Story 4 is surprisingly minor. She has very few lines throughout the movie. In the story, Harmony and her mom visit an antique store where Woody and his gang accidentally find themselves. When Harmony expresses her desire to purchase Gabby Gabby, her mom declines, citing their abundance of antique toys from the same store, which happens to be owned by her grandmother.
3. Carol Burnett As Chairol Burnett
The Carol Burnett Show broke barriers as the first comedy variety show hosted by a woman. Carol Burnett’s journey to success began on Broadway with Once Upon a Mattress, earning her a Tony nomination in 1959. She later returned to New York City for other remarkable performances. In addition to her stage work, Burnett portrayed Miss Hanigan in the 1982 film adaptation of Annie and lent her voice to Sour Kangaroo in Horton Hears a Who!. Recently, NBC aired a special tribute to celebrate Burnett’s 90th birthday.
Now, in Toy Story 4, Burnett takes on the role of Chairol Burnett, a vibrant green toy chair adorned with colorful stickers depicting rainbows, flowers, and mushrooms.
4. Kate McKinnon As PEZ Cat
Kate McKinnon, known for her brilliant performances on Saturday Night Live, has also made her mark in the film industry. In addition to her SNL gig, she has appeared in movies such as Balls Out, Ghostbusters (2016), The Spy Who Dumped Me, and Yesterday. Not only that, but she even took her comedic talents to the animated world in Toy Story of Terror!
In this short film, McKinnon gives life to a quirky character named PEZ Cat. Picture an anthropomorphic green PEZ dispenser with a cat head and glasses. Despite her limited mobility, PEZ Cat does her best to alert the other toys whenever the motel owner and his iguana start causing trouble. Together with the other toys, PEZ Cat plays a crucial role in defeating the motel owner and making a daring escape.
5. Michael Keaton As Ken
Most people know Michael Keaton as the original Dark Knight from the 1989 Batman and its sequel Batman Returns. But before he became the iconic DC superhero, he showcased his comedic talent in movies like Night Shift and Beetlejuice. Since his Batman days, Keaton has been seen in various other films like Pacific Heights, Much Ado About Nothing, and many more. Interestingly, he even reprised his role as Batman in The Flash.
In Toy Story 3, Keaton lent his voice to the character of Ken. Ken is Barbie’s love interest from the beloved franchise, so it was only natural for them to eventually appear in a Toy Story movie together. Ken is known for his stylish outfits, which often leads to him being teased by Lotso’s crew at Sunnyside Daycare. However, he becomes the first member of Lotso’s group to join Woody’s side in the end.
6. Whoopi Goldberg As Stretch
Whoopi Goldberg, a Hollywood legend, made a name for herself with her breakout role in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. Throughout her career, she has showcased her singing talents in Stephen Sondheim revivals on Broadway, brought laughter as one of the hyenas in The Lion King, and even played a bartender in the Star Trek universe. Additionally, she has spent many years as one of the hosts on The View.
In Toy Story 3, Goldberg lent her voice to Stretch, a sparkly purple octopus residing at Sunnyside Daycare. Like the other toys at the daycare, Stretch goes along with Lotso’s manipulative ways. At first, she tries to prevent Woody and his friends from leaving, but eventually decides to let them go. In the end credits, Stretch writes a letter addressed to Woody, Buzz, and the other toys residing at Bonnie’s house.
7. Jay Hernandez As Bonnie’s Dad
Jay Hernandez, known for his roles in Hang Time and Crazy/Beautiful, has become a well-known name in mainstream media. His portrayal of El Diablo in Suicide Squad and Thomas Magnum in the Magnum P.I. reboot has further solidified his popularity. Interestingly, his involvement in Toy Story 4 marks one of the few instances where Hernandez lends his voice to a character.
In the movie, Mr. Anderson, also known as Bonnie’s dad, takes his family on a road trip just before the start of the school year. Unfortunately, this excursion results in a series of challenges for the toys as they unintentionally get left behind. In the midst of this chaos, Mr. Anderson strives to console his daughter when she realizes her beloved Forky is missing. Additionally, he must navigate through various predicaments as the toys embark on their mission to retrieve Forky.
8. Laraine Newman As Betsy
Laraine Newman, a former member of the original Saturday Night Live cast, has also made her mark in the Toy Story franchise. From 1975 to 1980, Newman showcased her comedic talents through various characters such as Connie Conehead and Valley Girl Sherry. In addition to her work on SNL, she has lent her voice to characters in Pixar films like Finding Nemo and Inside Out.
In Toy Story of Terror!, Newman took on the role of Betsy in the opening scene. Betsy is a character in a black and white horror movie that Woody, Buzz, and the gang are watching. Unfortunately, she finds herself being pursued by a vampire, while our beloved Toy Story characters cheer her on.
9. Bill Hader As Axel The Carnie
Bill Hader, known for his eight-year stint on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, gained immense popularity for his portrayal of the outrageously flamboyant New York tour guide, Stefon Meyers. Apart from his SNL success, Hader is also the co-creator of HBO’s Barry and has lent his voice to various animated films, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Turbo, Inside Out, and Toy Story 4.
In Toy Story 4, Hader took on the role of Axel, a laid-back carnival worker. Axel stumbles upon Buzz Lightyear and decides to make him a prize for one of the games. Fortunately, Buzz manages to escape Axel’s clutches. In a mid-credit scene, we see Axel overseeing the Star Adventurer carnival game, where Woody and his pals manipulate the game, resulting in Axel giving away every single toy prize.
10. Timothy Dalton As Mr. Pricklepants
Timothy Dalton, known for his role as James Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, is a well-known literary icon. However, his acting prowess extends beyond the Bond franchise. He has also showcased his talent in period dramas such as the 1970 adaptation of Wuthering Heights and the 1993 BBC version of Jane Eyre. In more recent times, Dalton took on the role of Peter Townsend in The Crown.
In the beloved Toy Story franchise, Dalton made his debut as Mr. Pricklepants in Toy Story 3. Mr. Pricklepants, a hedgehog, is one of Bonnie’s toys. He was the first to encounter Woody when he arrived at Bonnie’s home and played a crucial role in helping him return to Sunnyside Daycare. Since then, Mr. Pricklepants has made numerous appearances in subsequent films and shorts, further endearing himself to audiences.
11. Bonnie Hunt As Dolly
Bonnie Hunt, a Hollywood veteran with nearly forty years of experience, had an unconventional start in the industry. Before her breakthrough role in Rain Man, she worked as a nurse. Throughout her career, Hunt has appeared in a variety of movies such as the Cheaper by the Dozen series, Beethoven, Jumanji, and Life with Bonnie. Additionally, she has lent her voice to numerous characters in Disney and Pixar films, including A Bug’s Life, Zootopia, Monsters, Inc., and Cars.
In Toy Story 3, Hunt became part of Pixar’s iconic franchise, playing the role of Dolly, one of Bonnie’s toys. Dolly is an adorable doll with purple hair and googly eyes. Within Bonnie’s toy collection, she sees herself as a leader. Despite her sarcastic nature, Dolly is one of the first to welcome Woody when Bonnie brings him home from Sunnyside Daycare.