For me, one of the best celebrity voiceovers in an animated film was performed by the late Suzanne Pleshette in the English version of the Academy Award-winning anime film “Spirited Away,” written and directed by acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. In the film, Suzanne provided the voices of the twin sisters, Yubaba and Zeniba, both witches, but exhibiting diametrically opposed personalities. As Yubaba, Suzanne played a malevolent, egotistic exploiter of child laborers; while as Zeniba, she portrayed a champion of justice and fairness, as well as an exemplar of compassion and redemption. Typically, actors are selected to play a single role in a film, either a hero or a villain. In “Spirited Away,” Suzanne was afforded the rare opportunity to play two polar opposite characters. From one perspective, it could be said that she was playing two aspects of a single character. In any case, her talent and experience enabled her to pull off a convincing, credible performance of both characters. For this reason, she remains one of my favorite character actors, in animated and live action feature films.
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