‘Ghostbusters’ Star Ernie Hudson Was Turned Down to Voice Winston, Despite Playing Him in the Original Movie

Ghostbusters was one of the biggest movies to come out of the 1980s. There are only a handful of films in the franchise so far. Still, fans have often debated which one is the worst or best.

While people discuss the quality of the films, some may remember its animated show from decades ago. None of the original actors were part of the cast, including Ernie Hudson. Hudson did try out for the series but did not succeed despite being the original Winston.

Ernie Hudson was Winston in the original ‘Ghostbusters’

Ernie Hudson gained considerable fame when he landed a role in the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. He portrayed Winston, who is the fourth member of the ghostbusting squad. The character joins later in the film when the other protagonists put out ads after their business began booming.

A sequel, Ghosbusters II, came out in 1989, and Hudson returned to play Winston again. In the beginning, his character quits his job of performing at parties. Later, viewers see Winston rejoin the Ghostbusters team to investigate and fight ghosts.

While Hudson lent his voice to a 2009 Ghostbusters video game, he would not appear again on screen until 2016. However, the actor was only in the reboot film briefly as a cameo. The cameo role was not Winston but another person named Uncle Bill.

Nevertheless, fans did get to see Hudson reprise the character for the 2021 sequel. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a follow-up to Ghostbusters II, showing the original team helping out after Egon’s death. Viewers learned that Winston became a wealthy entrepreneur in between sequels.

The director turned down Hudson for the cartoon

Ernie Hudson at the 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' premiere at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York City
Ernie Hudson at the ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ premiere | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The Real Ghostbusters is a 1986 cartoon spinoff that features the original four members. According to BuzzFeed, Ernie Hudson auditioned to voice Winston in the animated series. Yet, the director turned him down and gave the role to Arsenio Hall.

Hudson did not get the chance to voice the character because he did not sound like Winston. The decision may seem confusing to some people since the actor is the original Winston. Not to mention, Hudson already had experience as a voice actor before the show, according to HuffPost.

In an interview, Hudson explained that he did not have to audition. However, the director wanted to hear him read some of the lines. When Hudson did, the director did not think he sounded right and explained what the actor did in the movie.

“Then I found out that Arsenio [Hall] was doing it. I was very busy doing other stuff, but I was really disappointed because the thought of someone else doing Winston was not something I felt great about. Arsenio’s a friend, so there’s no disrespect to him,” Hudson stated.

Ernie Hudson has been a prolific actor his entire career

Ernie Hudson’s IMDb page shows that he has over 250 acting credits, and his first film was Leadbelly. He was considerably active in the 1970s and early 1980s and had several minor roles in TV shows and movies. Of course, the star achieved significant success with Ghostbusters.

Following the iconic film, Hudson starred in projects like The Crow and Desperate Housewives. Additionally, he had a prominent role in HBO’s Oz. In the series, he was Warden Leo Glynn for all six seasons.

Hudson continues to do voice acting as well. For example, he became a regular on Transformers Prime between 2010 and 2013. Some people might also recognize his voice in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2.

While Hudson did not voice Winston in the show, he will be in the franchise’s newest video game. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is set to come out later this year. In addition, he has multiple upcoming roles for this year and the future.

RELATED: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ vs. ‘Ghostbusters’ 2016: Which Is Better?