March 27th, 2017
If you are at all familiar with the audio versions of the popular Harry Potter books, you probably have already scratched your head and wondered to yourself, “Who is that talented man who makes the book come alive on audio?” Well, the mysterious voice behind the Harry Potter audiotape and CD versions is Jim Dale, and he is in fact an exceedingly talented voice actor who has voiced many of the characters from the immensely popular Harry Potter series that was created by JK Rowling. Here is some insight into that unnamed virtuoso voice that is behind all the Harry Potter audio tapes.
Jim Dale is a well regarded English singer, songwriter and actor who was born James Smith on August 15, 1935. One of his most popular roles, besides working as the voice who brings the Harry Potter books alive on audio tape, is for his role in the Carry On film series. He was born in Rothwell, in Northamptonshire. His career was launched when one of his songs became a minor music hit for Des O’Connor in 1969. The song he wrote was “Dick-a-Dum-Dum (King’s Road)” and it proved a hit. Another major songwriting success came when Dale wrote the lyrics for the movie them to the film Georgy Girl. His song was nominated for an Academy Award in 1966, a major honor for any actor. The song was also a commercial success. It was recorded and performed by The Seekers, and it reached the number two slot in the US music charts the next year. In fact, many of his song compositions were released as UK singles, and many of them also became hits. Some of his most popular song compositions include “Be My Girl” (released in 1957, and reached the UK charts as #2 in the same year), “Just Born” (1958), “Crazy Dream” (1958), and “Sugartime” (1958). He became the first singer to work under the now famous record producer George Martin. George Martin has now been honored to knighthood as Sir George Martin because of his contribution to British culture and music, including most notably his work with the Beatles.
Jim Dale has also enjoyed a successful film career. He has acted in eleven of the popular Carry On films, and most of the time he is cast as the romantic lead. Jim Dale also appeared in the critically acclaimed silent short film called The Plank. He also played a young Spike Milligan in the film adaptation of Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall. Other film roles have included a role in Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World, as the comic villain the Disney film Pete’s Dragon, and a role in The Spaceman and King Arthur. Besides his singing and film career, Dale has also enjoyed a fruitful stage career. He is well regarded as an accomplished stage actor, and he is known to be versatile, playing both musical and ‘straight’ roles on stage. To this date, Jim Dale has been nominated for four Tony Awards, winning once for his role in Barnum.
These days, Jim Dale is gaining critical recognition for his work as narrator of the American versions of the Harry Potter audio books, as well as the Harry Potter DVDs (he narrates all of the special feature sections). In 2006, Dale returned to the theatre, appearing on Broadway in the popular production of The Threepenny Opera as Mr. Peachum. He was named ‘the toast of Broadway’ by the NY Times. Although is theatrical career has been impressive indeed, it his work as the voice of the Harry Potter books that have allowed him to reach an unprecedented amount of rapt listeners who are spellbound by his virtuoso performance on the Harry Potter audiobooks.