About Bill Farmer
For decades, audiences of all ages have enjoyed Bill Farmer’s standout work in vehicles and venues as diverse as his talents – from clubs to conventions, broadcasts to podcasts, and TV screens to movie screens.
What began in the standup comedy clubs of America’s heartland has become one of the most colorful careers in Hollywood, with a seemingly endless list of live and recorded performances engaging fans of every demographic.
While Bill has famously performed as the official voice of Disney’s Goofy and Pluto since 1986, his sterling voice-acting resume includes thousands of leading and supporting roles in film, television, advertising, consumer products and more.
For his unparalleled body of animation-voice work with such leading studios as Pixar, Warner Brothers, Universal and MGM, Bill became the first voice actor to receive the prestigious Friz Freleng Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Animation. Equally distinguished is
the immortalizing Disney Legend Award (recognizing individuals whose unique talents have helped shape the Disney legacy), which Bill received with entertainment icons Robin Williams and Betty White. Further adding to Bill’s many honors is an Emmy nomination for his memorable performances in the hit animated series, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.”
Currently in production is “The 7D,” a new Disney-animated TV series conceived as an irreverent prequel to the landmark film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Bill now voicing the role of Doc.
Never straying from his comedy roots, Bill – and his more than 100 celebrity impressions and dialects – has continued to thrill adult audiences with standup routines at clubs and corporate events, and through his monthly improvisational performances with Fred Willard’s sketch-comedy group, The MoHo’s, at Hollywood’s Second City Theater.
To help others reach their performance potential, Bill teaches voice-acting students, produces voice-actor demos and offers private coaching through his own production company, Toonhouse, Inc.
Video Links to Bill Farmer
• Speaker Demo (7:33)
• Interview at Oz-Comic-Con-2013 (15:51)
• VO Buzz Weekly Interview (5:46)
• Trailer: "Bill Farmer--The Person Behind The Voice" (1:36)
• KCAL-9 interview (3:39)
Programs Offered by Bill Farmer
You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks...My Life With Goofy And Other Famous Characters
Follow the journey of celebrity voice actor Bill Farmer from his roots in rural Kansas to being one of the most recognized Hollywood Voice-Over artists of our time. This Emmy nominated Disney Legend mixes humor and life experiences in his inspiring and uplifting story of success in the
highly competitive entertainment industry. With film clips, anecdotes and insider stories, Bill's presentation wows audiences in schools from Elementary through College, large audiences, Conventions and Corporate Presentations nationwide.
Succeeding With ADD And Tips For....Oh Look! A Squirrel!
Bill Farmer was diagnosed with ADD well into adulthood. In this presentation, the Emmy nominated celebrity voice actor offers a humorous and thought-provoking look at dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder with strategies to thrive and survive with the obstacles and opportunities presented by ADD at any age.
Success Through Acting
Learn to use the tried and true tips and techniques of acting to supercharge success in any career. With a mixture of humor and life lessons, and stories from his successful 30 year acting career, Emmy nominated Bill Farmer teaches the steps that can lead you to the top in your chosen profession. Build confidence, perform at your best and avoid sabotaging yourself. Find the best inner you while maintaining necessary balance in your life for long lasting success and happiness in your professional and personal lives.
How To Voice an Animated Character
Few Hollywood stars have taught us as much as Goofy, who has shown us how to do everything from conquering the slopes to tearing up the gridiron to hooking up our home theaters. Now Disney Legend, Bill Farmer, who has voiced the Goof for more than 25 years will teach audiences the latest lesson in the Goofy curriculum: How To Voice An Animated Character.
Rather than just answering questions about how to do it, Bill invites audience members to try their hand (or voice) at his craft. Volunteers will perform their best Goofy, participate in “table reads”, create original character voices and more, all under the expert guidance of one of the best in the business.
Whether your idea of fun includes being goofy on stage or simply enjoying unpredictable entertainment from your seat, this is the show for you!
Comments about Bill Farmer
“If you believe Walt Disney’s assertion that ‘laughter is America’s most important export,’ then Bill Farmer is a national treasure. His endearing humor, expert insight and approachable warmth continue to consistently engage audiences in memorable fashion. To listen to Bill Farmer is to learn from one of the best in the business.”
Ryan March, Disney Vacation Club Marketing Communications
"Wanted to take a moment to say Thank You!
Thank you very much for your time away from home to attend the little event we like to call the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet.
We work hard to put on the best show possible and to provide the fans with the most interesting and entertaining guest speakers possible with the budget we have.
Your support and attendance has helped us to exceed all guest expectations once again.
I couldn't be more humbled and proud of what our team is able to accomplish and provide to our guests...creating Disney fan magic if just for a day...
I purposely work hard to keep the event small with a "home grown/grass roots" style and feel as I don't want the event to 'feel' Disney or try to 'be' Disney...
But rather to honor and celebrate what the Disney brand means to so many fans on a personal level and continue to honor Walt and the incredible gift he has given us all.
I believe I speak for my team and the many fans who attend, we sincerely appreciate your generosity with your time away from family, your wonderful stage show with Tony and Jeff and the time spent with the fans.
It was my sincere pleasure to get to know you and I hope that we may continue to stay in touch and cross paths again in the near future.
I will have other follow up for you in a week or so with final charity numbers and some photos I think you might like to see.
If there is ever anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to email or call anytime.
I wish you safe travels to Australia. Thanks again."
Don Morin, Director, PNW Mouse Meet
"Just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoyed your class yesterday at the WDFM! You did a fantastic job, were so interesting, and gave us such a wealth of information! Truly, the class COULD have gone on for several more hours without any waning of interest. My husband and I also very much enjoyed your participation in the panel discussion of audio animatronics! We always learn so much from attending those sessions.
We are so glad you were finally able to come up and visit the Walt Disney Family Museum! It is truly a treasure for the Bay Area! Roy and I go there every chance we get. We always enjoy learning more about Walt's life and accomplishments. We hope in the future you will have many more opportunities to visit both as a presenter and a guest!
Finally, we would like to thank you for all the enjoyment you have given us over the years through your wonderful talents in character VoiceOver! Your repertoire of characters is astonishing. We're looking forward to "hearing" much more from you in the future, so please keep up the great work!"
Cory (and Roy) Johnson, Walt Disney Family Museum
"Thank you so much for your recent presentation to our Emerging Leaders at The University of Akron. We were thrilled and honored to have you as part of our UA Leads program and spring semester class (Leadership Principles and Practices). You were definitely a hit! The students have been talking about you for weeks.
Not only were our students motivated by your presentation, but they came away with a greater appreciation of what you do and the value of hard work and perseverance. Your comments on leadership were especially inspiring. Also, I appreciate how you made the presentation very interactive (the voice looping segment!) and engaging with the question/answer opportunity at the end. Your pictures and slides were wonderful as well.
I want to personally thank you and Jennifer for the time and attention you gave our student leaders outside the presentation. It is important to me that speakers and entertainers work well with our student leaders prior to and after the show. Both you and Jennifer certainly did that, especially at dinner. We loved hearing your stories about working for Disney and the entertainment industry. From an advisor's perspective, you were as easy to work with us as anyone I have booked during my thirty years in higher education.
I am confident that your presentation will be well received by other colleges and universities. There are so many possibilities for your program at the college levelBleadership lecture, Family Day or Sibs Weekend presentation, etc. There is no doubt that student and faculty members would be thrilled to have a true Disney Legend on campus. Please do not hesitate to use me as a reference. You have my highest recommendation.
It was a pleasure and honor having you and Jennifer as part of our program. We can't wait to have you both return to The University of Akron. Please keep in touch!"
Thomas L. Faessel, Associate Director, Residence Life and Housing, University of Akron
“I have worked with Bill Farmer for many years, both as a presentation panel moderator and on-stage interviewer. Through his appealing personality, approachable demeanor and innate talents as an entertainer, Bill never fails to connect with an audience. His storytelling skills are akin to Garrison Keillor or Tom Bodett with material that is sophisticated enough for adults but appropriate enough for younger audiences. Any event or organization would be lucky to have
Bill appear on their marquee.”
Tim O’Day -Executive PR Consultant, Events Producer, Author and Pop Culture Historian
“Bill Farmer is the inimitable voice of Disney’s Goofy, but that’s just one of the hundreds of voices he breathes his brand of spectacular life into. He has hosted several high profile awards ceremonies for our organization, and spoken on many industry panels about his craft and career. As VO artist extraordinaire, Bill is supremely clever, flexible, classy, and playful from gig to gig to gig. He’s the ultimate Pro and VO go-to guy.”
Chris Shoemaker, International Family Film Festival Founder/Executive Director
“Bill has a real gift for inspiring an actor to open up and find more interesting choices for their voice over reads! He is creative, fun and encouraging in his direction and brings his passion, joy and expertise to every student!”
Hope Levy, President, Voice Actors Network
“Bill Farmer combines all the right ingredients into each one of his presentations--a generous blend of knowledge, insight, inspiration and encouragement – seasoned throughout with his wonderful humor and voice talents. His creative stories and wisdom are served up with his warm and engaging personality delivering a uniquely fun and satisfying experience for all involved.”
Shun Lee Fong, President/Creative Director, The Greenhouse Arts & Media, Inc.
“Bill Farmer’s upbeat and positive outlook on life is entertaining and thought-provoking. He is a blessing to our congregation and to any audience who is fortunate enough to hear him speak.”
Mark Brewer, Senior Pastor, Bel Air Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles, CA
Articles about Bill Farmer
PROFILE by Lydia Benda
Actor keeps Goofy in fine voice
In this fast-paced world, it seems all that remains timeless are taxes and Disney cartoons. Well, hold on to your hat–according to Bill Farmer, these days Goofy has a twitter feed. With Web cartoons, talking Goofy toys, clocks and watches, “the technology is changing all the time,” Farmer says.
Thankfully, Farmer, j’75, is there to ensure the lovable, clumsy, 80-year-old pooch keeps up. The Pratt native has been the official voice of Goofy for more than 25 years after his big break came at Disney in 1986.
“They said, ‘Can you do any of the Disney characters?’ and I said, ‘Well I can kind of do a Mickey’, [insert uncanny “Oh boy, wow!” Mickey impression here], ‘and my Donald Duck is not very good,’ but [as Goofy], Gawrsh! Goofy was right in the pocket.”
Disney hired Farmer on the spot–and he has remained the only person to consistently voice Goofy since Pinto Colvig in the 1960s.
“At first, I was just doing an impression of the original voice from the ‘30s,” Farmer says. “But then I started putting a little more of myself in the character, and I think he gets closer and closer to me all the time.”
Goofy had been semi-retired (and mostly silent) since the 1960s, but with Farmer, he has seen a major resurgence in popularity, including the 1990s’ TV series, Goof Troop, and the hit children’s film, A Goofy Movie.
“There was a lot of evolution involved in the movie because he’d never been a single dad before,” Farmer says. “We had to show a lot of layers to him–he had to be caring and serious at times, with a lot of personality.”
Soon thereafter, Goofy got jiggy with it, and Farmer has made more than 30 CDs–including a rap album–singing as Goofy. He also speaks with hospitalized children through Famous Phone Friends and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In addition to Goofy, Farmer has voiced more than 3,000 projects for characters such as Pluto, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam and Sylvester the Cat. He’s done background voices in more than 50 movies, including Space Jam, The Lorax, The Toy Story series, and Monsters, Inc. He runs a voice demo-recording studio, Toonhouse, Inc., in Los Angeles with his son; tours as a public speaker; and has a comedy sketch group, MoHos, with actor Fred Willard. In the last couple of years he has won a Disney Legend Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Family Film Festival, and was nominated for an Emmy.
Though his career is hectic, Farmer manages to keep Goofy young, and says he can only hope for more of the same. “Because, gawrsh! I never have to grow up. I get to be a kid forever.”
Reprinted with permission of the Kansas Alumni Magazine, No. 4, 2012
Bill Farmer has been vitally involved in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years. When Bill’s wife introduces him to people as “my husband, Bill, he’s goofy,” he doesn’t take it personally. He just laughs, “ah-hyuck,” and the confused looks turn to smiles of recognition. Farmer’s voice is familiar around the world as that of Goofy and Pluto, two of Disney’s most enduring and endearing characters. “Goofy was always my favorite,” Farmers says, “so this really is a dream come true.”
A native of Pratt, Kansas, Farmer grew up not too far from Missouri, where the original cartoon adventures of Mickey, Donald and Goofy took place, and where Walt Disney spent part of his childhood. He says, “Goofy’s voice is so close to my own, I just exaggerate it a bit.” With his blond good looks and natural ability to negotiate a flight of stairs without falling, Farmer appears to have little in common with his animated alter-ego, aside from the melodic Midwestern twang. “Well,” he admits, “there is something. We’re both eternal optimists.” Which explains the, uh, goofy way he began his career in voice impressions.
“I’d been doing impressions since the age of 15,” Farmer recalls. “It was great for teen pranks–we’d pile into a car, pull up at the Burger King drive-through speaker, and I’d order the burgers as Walter Brennan.” After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in broadcast journalism, Farmer tried careers in radio and electronics, but he never stopped developing his voice repertoire, which grew to include 100 celebrity impressions.
Farmer ultimately opted to take his one-man cast of characters to Los Angeles for a crack at show business. “The first animation audition I went up for in 1986 was Goofy, and I’ve been at it ever since.” Farmer fashioned the Goofy voice after Pinto Colvig, the former circus clown and musician who originated Goofy’s laugh in 1932, and was the official voice of Goofy for many years. Using a reference tape supplied by Disney, Farmer recreated Colvig’s laugh and sing-song delivery style. “But the hardest thing to learn was the Goofy yell,” says Farmer of the patented “ya-ha-ha-hoooiieee!” that has accompanied Goofy’s elaborate pratfalls since the 1941 short, The Art of Skiing, (it was originated by noted Olympic skier and yodeler Hannes Shrolle).
As the voice of Goofy, Farmer has starred in an animated feature film (A Goofy Movie) and television series (Goof Troop), as well as many roles–as both Goofy and Pluto (since early 1987)–throughout The Walt Disney Company. Farmer also supplies the voice of famed Disney characters Horace Horsecollar, Practical Pig and Sleepy of the Seven Dwarfs, and both scripted and voiced the character of “Alec Tronic” in the Innoventions exhibit at Epcot Center in Florida.
Bill continues voicing the Goof and Pluto to this day and has worked on over 2000 projects for Disney alone. Among his many non-Disney performances, Farmer has also ventured into other classic roles, including the famed Warner Bros. characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn in Space Jam, as the voice of Stinky in the direct-to-video sequel, Casper: A Spirited Beginning, and as the voice of President George (H.W.) Bush in an episode of Murphy Brown.
One of the things Farmer enjoys most about being the official voice of Goofy, aside from the creative challenge, is the work he does with children’s charities. “I love calling kids on the phone as Goofy,” he says. “These characters are so real to them. It’s a thrill for them, and at the same time, it seems perfectly natural to kids that goofy would pick up the phone and give them a call. And I’m glad to oblige.”
Bill remains a very active voice-over actor in animation as well as in commercials, video games, television, and film. Bill heads his own production company, Toonhouse Inc., which produces documentaries, actor demos, and teaches voice-over skills to seasoned pros and young actors alike.
Farmer received the coveted Disney Legend Award in a ceremony at the Anaheim convention Center along with entertainment greats such as Robin Williams, Betty White, and others on September 10, 2009.
Bill lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
Reprinted with permission of the International Family Film Festival-2011
Bill Farmer is available for speeches, workshops and personal appearances through the MasterMedia Speakers Bureau. Contact Tony Colao for further information.