Unless you’re a hardcore animation fan, you probably don’t know the name Tom Kane, but there’s a very good chance you’ve heard his voice sometime over the past 25 years. Tom Kane is probably best known for voicing Jedi Master Yoda in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and various other Star Wars animated TV shows and video games. Unfortunately, the voice actor suffered a stroke back in November, leaving him mostly unable to speak.
Deadline called our attention to a post on Tom Kane’s Facebook page yesterday from his daughter Sam. The post reads:
“Hi everyone! This is Tom’s daughter, Sam. Our family wanted to share why my dad has been MIA. About two months ago he had a left side stroke that gave him right sided weakness and damage to the speech center of his brain. This means right now he cannot efficiently communicate verbally, nor read or spell. He is still competent and very much himself, but can only get out a few words right now. As many of you might know about strokes, it is possible for him to gain these functions back and we have found him excellent care in Kansas City for speech, occupational, and physical therapy, but for now, we have been warned by his neurologist that he may not do voiceovers again.
My dad still remains in good spirits and his extreme stubbornness has helped him already show improvements in speech. He is fully on board with me sharing this and he will see anything you guys post.”
This is truly tragic. Tom Kane is beloved across the voiceover community, and he’s been working steady for 25 years now. Just this year alone he reprised his roles as Yoda and the series narrator of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, not to mention playing Jedi Master in The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special and the upcoming video game LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. He’s been voicing Yoda in Star Wars projects since The Clone Wars animated series from Genndy Tartakovsky in 2003. Kane even made the jump to live-action Star Wars by voicing Admiral Ackbar for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Outside of the endless work Tom Kane has done across various Star Wars media, the actor has also played Ultron in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Professor Utonium in both iterations of The Powerpuff Girls, Magneto in various X-Men animated series and video games, Darwin in The Wild Thornberrys, and Woodhouse/Hans Hessler in over a dozen episodes of Archer. Kane was also hired to impersonate the late Donald Pleasance in voiceover as Dr. Samuel Loomis in Halloween H20. His work also extends to massive video game franchises like Call of Duty and Batman: Arkham, and he even took the lead in the LEGO Indiana Jones video game from 2008. Plus, there have been dozens of movie trailers featuring his narration as well.
Though doctors have cautioned that Tom Kane may never do voiceover again, anything is possible. We know Kane will be fighting to gain back his communication, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. There have been plenty of miraculous recoveries in instances like this, and we hope Tom Kane is lucky enough to be one of them. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope we haven’t heard the last of Kane’s many characters.
If you’d like to know more about Tom Kane, here’s a profile from his alma mater, The University of Kansas:
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