In his Starlog magazine interview for their November 1989 issue, #148, Tony Jay stated that he was the first to be approached by George Lucas to play the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Lucas at the time stated that he was looking for relatively unknown actors as a large amount of the film's budget would be going to special effects and he couldn't afford to pay big-name actors. Jay never heard anything else from Lucas and later discovered Alec Guinness was given the role.
Though not generally known for singing, Jay can be heard singing in some of his Disney film work and on a couple Disney albums, as well as in a couple of performances on the series Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends.
Regarding his character Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Jay stated that if Frollo were to pair with any other Disney villains, he might choose Scar from The Lion King and Stromboli from Pinocchio.
Though born in England, Jay moved to the United States and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Little is known of Jay's personal life--the actor rarely granted interviews and generally only made news headlines at those times when he either won awards for his work or was nominated for them.
Tony Jay was once a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in their production of Nicholas Nickleby. His work on the stage also including The Merchant of Venice and Great Expectations.
Tony Jay gave an interview to Starlog magazine for their November 1989 issue, #148. In it, he pondered the fate of his antagonistic character Paracelsus from the show Beauty and the Beast.
In addition to his work in films and television, Jay provided narration for several video games, including the extremely popular World of Warcraft, X-Men Legends, and Galleons (in which he also voiced a character.)
When Tony Jay was younger he advertised for cigarette commercials. Later, Jay could be heard saying "Behold the power of cheese" in a series of commercials for the American Dairy Association.
Tony Jay was nominated for an Annie for "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting" for his role as Judge Claude Frollo in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Tony Jay appeared in close to twenty films over the course of his career. In all, he either appeared in, or lent his voice to, over 100 film, television, and video game projects. He was also active in radio work and on the stage.
Tony died in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, from complications after a surgery to remove a tumor from his lung. The tumor was non-cancerous.
Tony narrated voice-overs for the LBC Radio in London between 1974 and 1980.
Tony enjoyed classic Broadway. He had made several spoken-word recordings and performances of old-time Broadway lyrics.
The character Tony played in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo, was originally a priest, but that was changed for the movie adaptation and was made a religious judge.
Tony did several narrations for The History Channel.
Tony Jay was nominated for two awards in 2006 for his voice-acting work, one an Annie nomination for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production and the other a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, both for his role as the voice of Spiderus on the Nelvana-animated CGI series Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends.
Tony Jay was Jewish.
Tony Jay did all of the singing as Judge Claude Frollo in the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Tony Jay wore glasses.
Tony Jay is survived by his only son, Adam Jay.
Tony Jay's voice, which made him famous for various villainous roles, is often mistaken for that of Jay Robinson. Robinson remains alive, but is retired, and has no known credits since the late 90s. Robinson focused mainly on straight film and television roles, and was not known for voice-over roles like Jay. Jay's voice has also been mistaken for that of Peter O'Toole, most recently known for his role as the voice of the critic Anton Ego in the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille.
His trademark was his deep commanding voice.
Tony Jay is survived by his wife Marta MacGeraghty.
Tony: (regarding his appearance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame on the DVD release's "Making Of" featurette) You are making your bid for immortality. You are in a movie by Disney.
Tony: (during an unguarded moment while recording for The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Excuse me, just a minute. I just wanted to scratch my hair.
Tony: My feeling is that you can't shield children from the hard realities and the harsher aspects of life. They're going to find out anyway.
Tony: I have been a fan of Disney animation ever since my parents took me to see Snow White when I was six years old. It's been a constant fascination throughout my whole life, and I think Disney has managed to affect a lot of people's lives by providing a sense of wonder and fantasy. They often get right to the heart of what children are thinking.
Tony: (regarding his role as Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame) This role was made for me. It called for a theatrical performance, and I have theatrical background with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I knew the part from the novel and the 1930s movie- it's a great, gripping story.