‘Hey Arnold!’ Had 6 Different Actors Voice Arnold
Thanks to the accessibility of streaming services, plenty of older TV shows are getting new audiences and a resurgence of appreciation years after they’ve gone off the air. This has included classic primetime dramas and comedies, but it also includes television programming originally aimed at kids.
These series are often nostalgic doses of fun for the kids who grew up with them, and shows from the 1990s are particularly popular as the now-grown viewers turn to them for fond memories and a momentary escape from adulthood.
Nickelodeon offered up a full slate of these programs, and Hey Arnold! was among the favorites. Fans might be interested to know just how many voice actors got a turn as the title character, and the answer may surprise them!
Nickelodeon was an early network for kid-focused programming
Nickelodeon started out under a different name (Pinwheel) and was more focused on educational, family-friendly programming. It aired without commercials and operated primarily with parents in mind as the target audience. They wanted to showcase their high-quality programming as good for kids’ developing minds.
Over time, though, the network struggled to pick up viewers. They added commercials to help pay the bills and rebranded as Nickelodeon.
Soon, they also shifted their focus. Instead of providing programming that parents would like, they instead started creating content directly aimed at kids’ own interests. The plan was a roaring success, and their first original animated shows — Rugrats, Doug, and The Ren & Stimpy Show — premiered in 1991 and became predecessors to the wide-ranging animated options Nickelodeon would debut over the years.
‘Hey Arnold!’ premiered on Nickelodeon in 1996
Following up their successful programming with even more original animated series, Nickelodeon found many hits along the way.
In 1996, that included Hey Arnold!, which centers on a fourth-grader named Arnold who lives in an urban boarding house with his grandparents. The characters include some strange boarders who live in the house, an overbearing bully named Helga who secretly loves Arnold but makes his life miserable, and Arnold’s best friend, Gerald.
The show was mostly innocuous — though a few sexual innuendos that likely went over kids’ heads did get it banned in Kenya. It ran for five seasons before eventually concluding in 2004, and nostalgic 1990s kids have often floated the title as an option for a comeback.
Arnold had many different voice actors playing his role
Voice work is a particular kind of acting talent, and often adults voice children in animated series. The role of Arnold was filled by many different voice actors over the years, as Mental Floss reports.
In the pilot — which never aired on TV but did run as a theatrical short ahead of Harriet the Spy — J.D. Daniels provided the title character’s voice. As the IMDb page for the show demonstrates, many other stars took on the part after that.
First up was Lane Toran, who was born in 1982 and was just 14 when he took on the role in 1996. He did the work at least some of the time through 2001.
In 1997, Phillip Van Dyke (who was born in 1984) stepped into the part. He continued through 2000.
In 1999, Spencer Klein (who was born in 1986) came on board as well and stayed in the part until the show’s 2004 conclusion.
Alex D. Linz (born in 1989) took on the part for two episodes in 2002. Finally, Rusty Flood voiced younger versions of Arnold in two episodes that involved flashbacks.
All told, Arnold had six different actors giving him a voice.