American actor Nathan Lane has been active in the entertainment industry since 1975. For almost 50 years, the actor has been doing theater productions, movies, and TV series. Younger generations probably know him as Clarke Hayden on CBS’ The Good Wife, Pepper Saltzman on ABC’s Modern Family, and Teddy Dimas on Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, for which he recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. But do you know that he has also done a number of iconic voice roles? Below are Nathan Lane voice acting roles you probably didn’t know about.
What voices has Nathan Lane done?
Timon from The Lion King
Nathan Lane’s first-ever voice role is Timon from The Lion King franchise. First appeared in the 1994 theatrical movie The Lion King, Timon is a wisecracking meerkat and the best friend of Pumbaa the warthog (voiced by Ernest Sabella). Although Timon comes from a hardworking family, he, along with Pumbaa, lives an easygoing lifestyle of grub-eating and sleeping, under a problem-free philosophy called Hakuna Matata.
Following the success of The Lion King, Lane has reprised his role as Timon in various form of media. These include direct-to-video movies like Around the World with Timon and Pumbaa (1996), Timon and Pumbaa’s Wild Adventure: Live and Learn (1996), The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998), and The Lion King 1½, which is also known as The Lion King III: Hakuna Matata. Lane also lent his pipes to Timon in the 1995 short film Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable.
On the TV front, Lane voiced Timon in the 1995 TV series Timon and Pumbaa and in 1996’s The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa Smart Yet Satisfying PSA Campaign.
Lane also starred as Timon in a number of video games, including 1994’s Animated StoryBook: The Lion King, as well as Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle, Timon & Pumbaa Virtual Safari 1.5, and Timon & Pumbaa Virtual Safari 2.0. The last three were all released in 2004.
Snowbell from Stuart Little
Nathan Lane’s other iconic voice role is Snowbell from the Stuart Little film series. Lane voiced Snowbell in the 1999 film Stuart Little and in its 2002 sequel Stuart Little 2.
Snowbell is the Littles’ house pet Persian cat. Although Snowbell initially hated having “a mouse for a master” in the first film, the titular anthropomorphic mouse Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox) eventually grows on him to the point where they repeatedly risk their lives for each other. In the first movie, Snowbell served as the former main henchman of the sadistic Russian Blue cat named Smokey (voiced by Chazz Palminteri) and the advisor of Frederick Little (Hugh Laurie), the patriarch of the Little family.
Preed from Titan A.E.
Nathan Lane is also a voice actor for the 2000 animated film Titan A.E. The film centers on Cale Tucker (voiced by Matt Damon), a young man who receives a mission to save humanity and protect a giant ship that can create a new planet after a hostile alien species destroyed Earth. Along his journey, he encounters a ship’s crew and their captain Joseph Korso (voiced by Bill Pullman), who help him find the giant ship before the aliens can destroy it.
In the movie, Lane voiced Preed, a.k.a. Preedex Yoa, a fruit bat-like Akrennian and Korso’s first mate.
Spot Helperman from Teacher’s Pet
Nathan Lane was also part of the voice cast of the Disney animated series Teacher’s Pet, which was broadcast on ABC from 2000-2002, and finished its run on Toon Disney in 2002. Created by Gary Baseman, the series follows the adventures of a 9-year-old boy named Leonard Helperman (voiced by Shaun Fleming) and his dog named Spot Helperman. Voiced by Lane, Spot dresses up as a boy named Scott Leadready II and attends Leonard’s school. While he’s wildly popular at school, he doesn’t want anyone to know that he’s really a dog. At the end of each episode, Spot usually compares the installment’s moral or lesson to a historical event.
Hamegg from Astro Boy
Nathan Lane was the actor behind Hamegg, a surface-dweller who repairs machines and then uses them in his fighting tournament in the 2009 computer-animated superhero movie Astro Boy. Loosely based on the manga series of the same name by the Japanese writer and illustrator Osamu Tezuka, the film centers on Astro (voiced by Freddie Highmore), a teenage robot created by Dr. Tenma (voiced by Nicolas Cage following the death of his son, Toby. Implanted with Toby’s memories, Astro and Dr. Tenman face Stone (Donald Sutherland), the ruthless, rogue, and ambitious President of Metro City who is running for re-election.
The Oracle of the Sun from Spellbound
According to IMDb, Nathan Lane will serve as the voice of The Oracle of the Sun in the upcoming computer-animated musical fantasy film Spellbound. Set in the world of magic known as Lumbria, the story follows Princess Ellian (voiced by Rachel Zegler), a young girl who must break the spell that split her kingdom in two. The film is set to be released on Apple TV+ later this 2023.
What movies has Nathan Lane played in?
In addition to the above-mentioned animated movies, Nathan Lane has also appeared in several live-action films over the years. Five of his most notable live-action big-screen projects are as follows:
Nathan Lane made his first movie appearance in the 1987 drama film Iron Weed. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by William Kennedy, Ironweed revolves around the relationship between two homeless people: Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson), an alcoholic, and Helen Archer (Meryl Streep), a terminally ill woman, during the years following the Great Depression. Nathan Lane plays the minor role of Harold Allen in the movie.
Nathan Lane as Albert Goldman in The Birdcage
Nathan Lane starred in the 1996 comedy film The Birdcage, alongside Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, and Dianne Wiest. An English-language remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles and the musical of the same name, The Birdcage follows engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart) who nervously introduce their future in-laws to each other. Val’s father, Armand Goldman (Williams), a gay Miami drag club owner, pretends to be straight and attempts to hide his relationship with Albert Goldman (Lane), his life partner and the club’s flamboyant star attraction, so as to please Barbara’s ultra-conservative parents, Republican Senator Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman) and his wife Louise (Wiest).
For his performance as Albert Goldman, Lane won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture and received acting nominations from Satellite Awards, MTV Movie + TV Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Awards Circuit Community Awards, and Online Film & Television Association. He and his co-stars also won the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
Nathan Lane as Ernie Smuntz in Mousehunt
Nathan Lane is also one of the four main cast members of the 1997 slapstick comedy film Mousehunt. Also starring Lee Evans, Maury Chaykin, and Christopher Walken, the film follows Ernie Smuntz (Lane) and Lars Smuntz (Evans), two Laurel and Hardy-like brothers in their struggle against one small but crafty house mouse for possession of a mansion which was willed to them by their father.
Despite receiving mixed critical reviews, the movie was a commercial success, grossing 125.4 million at the worldwide box office against a production budget of $37.9 million.
Nathan Lane as Vincent Crummles in Nicholas Nickleby
Nathan Lane was a supporting actor in the 2002 film Nicholas Nickleby. Starring Charlie Hunnam in the titular role, the movie is based on Charles Dickens’s novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. The film tells the story of young Nicholas (Hunnam) right after the death of his father (Andrew Havill).
Left with no means to survive, Nicholas, his sister Kate (Romola Garai), and their mother (Stella Gonet) venture to London to seek help from their Uncle Ralph (Christopher Plummer), but Ralph’s only intentions are to separate the family and exploit them. Nicholas is sent to a school run by the cruel and abusive Mr. Wackford Squeers (Jim Broadbent). Eventually, Nicholas runs away with schoolmate Smike (Jamie Bell), and the two set off to reunite with Nicholas’ family.
In the film, Lane portrays the role of Vincent Crummles.
Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock in The Producers
Nathan Lane led the ensemble cast of the 2005 musical comedy The Producers, which is a film adaptation of the eponymous 2001 Broadway musical, which in turn was based on Mel Brooks’ 1967 film of the same name.
The movie follows failing producer Max Bialystock (Lane) and his accountant, Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick), as they scam a group of elderly women out of their nest eggs by convincing them to invest in a horrendously offensive Third Reich-themed musical secretly intended to bomb the moment it opens. But when high-brow Broadway audiences mistakenly assume Springtime for Hitler is a satire, Bialystock finds himself with the critical praise that has long eluded him.
For his performance as Bialystock, Lane received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
What is Nathan Lane most famous for?
Nathan Lane is most famous for his work on different theater productions, especially those that were co-created by his frequent collaborator Terrence McNally.
In fact, the actor has already won three Tony Award trophies. He scored his first Tony Award in 1996 when he was hailed the Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He received the same Tony Award recognition in 2001 for his performance in the stage production of The Producers. Fast-forward to 2018, he also won Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Roy Cohn in the theater production of Angels in America. Lane also received Tony Award nominations for his roles in Guys and Dolls, The Nance, and The Front Page.
In addition to roles in movies and stage plays, Lane also has a number of memorable live-action TV roles. These include Ward McAllister of HBO’s The Gilded Age, the previously mentioned Teddy Dimas of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, Lewis Michener of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and F. Lee Bailey of FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
His other TV acting credits include the recurring roles of Clarke Hayden in CBS’ The Good Wife and Pepper Saltzman in ABC’s Modern Family. Lane also played Sheridan Whiteside in the 2000 TV movie The Man Who Came to Dinner and the title character of the short-lived CBS sitcom Charlie Lawrence.
Was Nathan Lane in Toy Story?
No. Nathan Lane was not in Toy Story. Though he’s not part of the hit Pixar franchise, Lane has played a number of Disney roles, including Timon from The Lion King franchise, Spot Helperman from the Teacher’s Pet TV series, Frank Meany from the 2008 NBC television special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, and Ed Chapman from the 1993 comedy film Life with Mikey. Lane even played Tom Morrow at the Innoventions, a former attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Nathan Lane’s personal life
Nathan Lane was born Joseph Lane in Jersey City, New Jersey, on February 3, 1956, making him 67 years old as of 2023. His dad, Daniel Joseph Lane, was a truck driver and an aspiring tenor. He passed away in 1967 from alcoholism. His mom, Nora Veronica, was a housewife and secretary. She suffered from bipolar disorder and died in 2000. Lane has two older brothers, Daniel Jr., and Robert. Lane attended Jesuit-run St. Peter’s Preparatory School, where he was voted Best Actor in 1974
Lane publicly came out as gay in 1999 after the killing of Matthew Shepard. In November 2015, he tied the knot with his partner of then 18 years, a theater producer and writer Devlin Elliott. Lane and Elliot are living together in Manhattan and East Hampton.
Lane has been a long-time board member of and fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. For his work in the LGBT community, Lane has already been honored with the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Vito Russo Award, The Trevor Project Hero Award, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation Making A Difference Award in 2015.