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Who Voices Marlin In Finding Nemo?

Ever since Robin Williams opened the floodgates with his barn-burning performance as the Genie in 1992's "Aladdin," it has become common practice for American animation studios to hire celebrity voice actors. Take a gander at any big-budget CGI toon nowadays and its ensemble call sheet is likely to be more star-studded than any live-action movie this side of "Don't Look Up."

The reasoning behind that process is sometimes marketing-based — celebrities, be they actors or singers or athletes, can provide that extra publicity boost by promoting their roles and lending their names to posters. However, one major league studio that has remained consistently committed to hiring the best, most fitting voice actors for each character, whether they be famous or not, is Pixar. While the prestigious Emeryville house has been known to spring for the occasional Owen Wilson or Chris Evans, the vast majority of Pixar leads are carefully plucked character actors, comedians, and even sound designers pulling double duty.

The best example of the tact and artfulness with which Pixar approaches voice casting, arguably, is "Finding Nemo." Aside from Ellen DeGeneres, the stars of the classic 2003 adventure film are not necessarily ones who scream "pop sensation" — there's Geoffrey Rush, Willem Dafoe, Stephen Root, Austin Pendleton, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett, Vicki Lewis, Elizabeth Perkins, to name several. But each and every one of those actors fits their roles perfectly, and helps the world of "Finding Nemo" feel wholly real and lived in. That's particularly true of the veteran actor who is the film's de-facto star: Albert Brooks, who plays Marlin.

Albert Brooks is a legendary actor, comedian, and film director

Marlin is, in many ways, a rather unconventional lead for a kids' film: awkward, jittery, neurotic, dreadful at telling jokes, he's the piscine equivalent of the most uncool dad at a parent-teacher conference. Not for nothing, the actor who voices him is one of the best ever at playing that kind of character.

A Hollywood veteran with over 50 years of experience to his name, Albert Brooks is one of the people who defined the cinema of the eighties, both in front of and behind the camera. After starting out as a postmodern concept comedian with a "desperate self-deprecator" persona and writing-directing for "Saturday Night Live" in the mid-seventies (via The Buffalo News), he embarked on a sterling career as a triple-duty comedy auteur, writing, directing, and starring in such classic films as "Real Life," "Modern Romance," and "Lost in America." In parallel, he also carved out a space as a highly respected and beloved character actor, earning a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his turn in "Broadcast News" (via IMDb), going down in history as the best guest star in "The Simpsons" history (via IGN), and lending unconventional villainous flair to crime films like "Out of Sight" and, more recently, "Drive." 

Marlin in "Finding Nemo" is probably Brooks' most iconic leading role outside of his own directing oeuvre, and with good reason. Just try to picture any other actor giving such a flawless delivery of "...Good feeling's gone."