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Birthdate/Place: 17 September 1955 | San Jose, California, USA
Occupation: Actor, trade show presenter, voice-actor
Also Known As: Charles Martinez, Charles Martinee
Charles Martinet is an American actor whose primary role is the voices of Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi in Nintendo's Super Mario series and its spinoffs.
Apart from his various Nintendo-related accomplishments, he is also an actor of stage and screen, a voice-actor in several radio and television advertisements, and a trade show presenter. He has been seen in films alongside several well-known actors, such as Hugh Grant in Nine Months, Michael Douglas in The Game, and John Voight in Ishi. On television, Martinet has played various roles in Nash Bridges and Midnight Caller.
On the expo floor, Martinet has spoken for a number of electronics manufacturers and software development firms, most notably Sun Microsystems, Canon, and Apple. He has also appeared in a number of corporate videos for firms such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft,
and Bank of America.
Martinet was born in San Jose, California, USA, on 17 September 1955.
In 1974, while attending the University of California at Berkeley, studying to become an attorney, he was given an opportunity to take an acting class. After receiving a round of applause for reading a monologue from The Spoon River Anthology, he continued to pursue stage acting. Reportedly, after being turned down for the part of Oberon in a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, he vowed to "[get] everything from now on." Martinet joined the university speech team, during which time, they won first prize in the state and national championships. He was, later, accepted for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre's apprenticeship programme. He attended school in Oxford, England, to study acting, then he returned to the United States, where he began theatre acting. After acting in the theatre for ten years, Martinet found work in corporate videos, trade shows, and voice-over.
Around 1990, an acquaintance of Martinet's suggested that he audition for a Nintendo trade show event. When he arrived for the audition, the director had already put away the camera, but allowed Martinet to read for the character of Mario. He was told that he was to be the voice of an Italian plumber from Brooklyn and that he would have a number of motion-sensors attached to his face that would allow him to animate a cartoon Mario head, interactive for passers-by. Reportedly, Martinet immediately thought of the archetypal Brooklyn "Mafioso" accent, but then considered that it may be too gruff and unfriendly, should he have to speak to children. Recalling a character he played in The Taming of the Shrew, named Gremio, a "nice old Italian guy," the director called, "Action!" With that character in mind, Martinet spoke to the camera in a falsetto Italian accent until the tape ran out. He learned later that the director rang Don James, Nintendo of America's chief operations officer at the time, and said, simply, "We've found our Mario." Martinet's was the only tape sent to Nintendo.
Charles Martinet is often mistakenly credited with being the first voice of Mario -- he is, in fact, the fourth person to play this role. The first person to portray Mario's voice was Toru Furuya in Supa Mario Burazazu Pichi-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (trans. "Super Mario Bros: Grand Adventure to Rescue Princess Peach"), an anime released in Japan in 1986. The second was Peter Cullen for the Saturday Supercade. The third was "Captain" Lou Albano for The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!!. Other actors to portray Mario during Martinet's tenure include Walker Boone (The Adventures of the Super Mario Bros), Ronald B. Ruben (floppy-disk version of Mario Teaches Typing), Marc Graue (Hotel Mario), and Bob Hoskins (cinema rendition of Super Mario Bros).
Martinet is a self-proclaimed "brat", saying, "Don't tell me I can't have [a part], I'll want it more."
Ostensibly, the gruff pseudo-Brooklyn accent that Martinet thought to use for Mario at the audition would eventually come to be used for Wario.
Martinet has the distinction of voicing the most Nintendo characters of any other voice actor. At present, he is the voice of Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Wario, Toadsworth, Shivers the Butler (Luigi's Mansion), and the Nokis (Super Mario Sunshine) -- a total of ten distinct characters.
Alternate spellings of Charles's last name include "Martinee" and "Martinez". Interestingly, all three spellings are pronounced the same in French, a language which he speaks fluently.
Charles Martinet Official Site
Charles Martinet on Wikipedia
Charles Martinet on the Internet Movie Database
Aussie-Nintendo.com Interview with Charles Martinet
Sydney Morning Herald: Charles Martinet at Sydney EB Games
Charles Martinet at Facebook, on Twitter
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