“This…is ‘SportsCenter.’” Chances are you just read that in the voice of the man pictured above. Chances are you’ve also never seen him before, but he’s the owner of the voice that was with you when you stayed home from school. And when you killed time in a hotel room. And when you quickly flipped the station after someone walked in on you watching scrambled Spice Channel.
For some reason ESPN recently unveiled Chris Kelley, the man responsible for the iconic timbre, and here he is in action:
Gah! That was jarring. We liked it better not knowing. It’s like when you’re at the gym staring at a girl on an elliptical in front of you. She’s perfect. You’re in love. And you’re glad you can’t see her face because it can’t live up to your expectations.
ANYWAY, Kelley isn’t the first famous voice to reveal his identity after a lifetime of anonymous voice work. Here are eight other famous voices matched with the unknown faces responsible for them.
1. The “In a world…” movie trailer guy
Credit: Dan Tuffs/Getty Images
Don LaFontaine passed away in 2008, but his voice will live on forever thanks to YouTube and because all future trailer voices try to emulate him. For something like four decades his “just smoked 1,000 cigarettes and gargled with gravel” voice WAS the movies. Here’s one of his classics.
2.The GPS voice
Credit: Sydney Morning Herald
Well, this certainly changes things! Her name is Karen Jacobsen, and you can hear her work voice and real voice in this video. Maybe we shouldn’t have been hurling all those insults at her every time she chirped “recalculating.”
3.The Mastercard “Priceless” voice
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
According to IMDB, actor Billy Crudup has been voicing these ubiquitous ads since 1997, which means this project that he probably started to send his kids to college is now old enough to go to college itself. If it were a human. And super smart. Here he is actually appearing in one of the ads in 2005.
4. The voice of NFL Films
John Facenda was known as The Voice Of God. And like God, he is ever-present, because even though he died in 1984 we’ve all heard him. On ESPN Classic, on the NFL Network, on all kinds of old highlight reels, that commanding voice was there to narrate while a tight spiral spun in slow motion.
5. The E*Trade baby
Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
6. The voice of HBO Sports
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
7. Motel 6′s Tom Bodett
Nope, Tom Bodett isn’t some faceless character invented for TV like Dr. Claw. So why did Motel 6 feel the need to have a non-celebrity announce his own name in their ads? We have no idea. But now we’re talking about it, right?
8. Shredder from “Ninja Turtles”
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Can you believe it, James Avery was Shredder AND Uncle Phil on “Fresh Prince”?! Hall-of-fame career, right there. And he didn’t even see the Shredder gig as some throwaway for a paycheck: in this strange interview he explains how he threw his full actor gravitas into the role.