Billy West is an American voice actor best known for his roles on animated television series such as The Ren and Stimpy Show and Futurama.
West has been in television since the late 1980s. His first role was for the 1988 revived version of Beany and Cecil.
West's first two high-profile roles came almost simultaneously: Doug and Ren & Stimpy, which were two of the first original three Nicktoons (the other being Rugrats).
West provided the voice of Stimpy in Nickelodeon's The Ren and Stimpy Show from 1991 until 1996, and he provided the voice of Ren from 1993-1996 (after Ren's original voice and series creator John Kricfalusi was fired by Nickelodeon).
According to West, he was originally supposed to do the voice of both Ren and Stimpy, but then Kricfalusi chose instead that he would voice Ren.
West was also the voice of the show's namesake, Geeker throughout Project Geeker's 13-episode run.
West's roles in Futurama include Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan, as well as various other incidental characters. As he and other Futurama cast and crew point out in DVD commentaries, West is speaking to himself half the time during an episode.
West went into the Futurama auditions and tried out for, as he says, "just about every part"; eventually landing the professor, Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan. It wasn't until some casting changes were made that West got the part of Fry, which originally had gone to Charlie Schlatter.
While West is known for doing many different and unique voices, the voice he does for Philip J. Fry is often considered to be closer to his natural voice than any other character he has done. This similarity, West acknowledges, was done purposefully in order to make it harder to replace him in the part.
The part of Zapp Brannigan was originally to be voiced by Phil Hartman; however, Hartman's death occurred prior to production, and West assumed the role.
He has described the voice of Zapp Brannigan as an imitation of Phil Hartman, but described the actual vocalizations of the character as being based on old-time radio announcers.
According to the commentary for the Invader Zim pilot episode and Richard Horvitz's interview on the first Zim DVD, West was originally cast to provide the voice of Zim (which he did in the pilot episode) on the series, but the part was given to Horvitz instead.
It was also disclosed on the DVD commentary that series creator Jhonen Vasquez disliked using Billy's voice as it reminded him of other cartoon characters Billy contributed vocal acting for, notably Fry from Futurama.
Perhaps West's most memorable film work came in the 1996 movie Space Jam. Starring along side Michael Jordan, West provided the voice of both Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. West reprised the roles of Bugs and Fudd in subsequent Looney Tunes feature-length films and even returned as Fudd in the theatrically-released Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
In 1998, West starred in the direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island as Shaggy, becoming the second person to portray the character (the first being Casey Kasem).
2004 saw West encounter two interesting milestones; voicing the classic character Popeye in the 75th anniversary film Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy and making his live-action film debut in Mark Hamill's Comic Book: The Movie.
Other films West has lent his vocal work to include: Joe's Apartment, Cats & Dogs, Olive, the Other Reindeer, The Proud Family Movie, and three Tom & Jerry direct-to-video movies.