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Replacing the Voice of Uncle Iroh

Voiceover Actors in Toon with Nick, by Terrie Roberts, October 27, 2006

  • Excerpt from this article re: the voice of Iroh following Mako's death: 
  • "Mako's death was so hard," acknowledged Noonan. "We knew he was sick, and he knew he was sick, and he really stuck in there for a long time. Mako was Japanese, and we would have loved to have a Japanese-American do that voice. But his voice was so specific and so hard. We're a very creator-driven organization; we believe the show's passion has to come from the creator, and we really go with their guidance. The execs and all have their say, but the creators felt strongly that it didn't make sense to change his voice and get another actor that isn't going to sound like him. So we literally had to get a guy who's a great mimic and did a really great impersonation of Mako.

    "That doesn't end up happening on every show, though. Avatar is a more realistic show, and they're very specific about their characters. Mako was a really big character in the show, and though at first we were considering changing his voice entirely, in the end the creators wanted to be consistent and carry on. We loved his voice, and hopefully, this is our way of keeping the character's voice close to what Mako would have done."

    "Uncle Iroh is such an important character," adds Coleman, "and we don't want to do anything that would compromise him as a character in the series overall."
  • (please click on the link above to read full article) 

Voiceover Actor Mako (Uncle Iroh) Dies

Mako 1933 - 2006
By Ace the Bathound
07-23-2006, 3:16 PM

Veteran Japanese-American actor Mako (Makoto Iwamatsu) passed away on Friday, July 21, 2006, from esophageal cancer at his home in Ventura County, CA. He was 72 years old.

In addition to his groundbreaking work as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood, Mako lent his distinctive raspy voice to such characters as Aku on Samurai Jack and Uncle Iroh on Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as in numerous cartoon guest-spots on shows such as Scooby-Doo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century. (source Toon News)