Tony Jay

Tony Jay


2/2/1933, London, England, UK



Birth Name

Tony Jay


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Tony Jay was a renowned actor for film, television and stage. He was also a respected talent in the world of animation voiceover. His roles included a recurring villain on the TV series Beauty and the Beast, the voice of Monsieur D'Arque on the acclaimed Disney film version…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • 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.

  • Quotes

    • 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.

  • One of the Best Villainous Voice Actors Of All Time

    Tony Jay was one of the best voice actors for villains ever. He was awesome as Frollo and made me want to be a voice actor myself.

    Sadly, he passed away on August 13th, 2006, which was the day before my twentieth birthday. You can imagine how devastated I was. But he left behind a great legacy and we will never forget him.
  • A true American classic. Tony Jay has left behind a body of work from both great villainous dramatic performances to a fine library of animated work. His work I have enjoyed includes characters from "Beauty and the Beast" (film and TV) and "Miss Spider."moreless

    Tony Jay, unfortunately, passed away in August 2006, but he has left behind a series of performances that will be enjoyed by audiences for ages to come. The quality of his voice assured him various villainous roles, both on-screen and in animation, but he was a multi-talented performer who could embrace a variety of roles.

    I first became aware of Jay through "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends" (and the film from which it was launched, "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids," based upon the events of the book by the same name) in his role as the seemingly-villainous Spiderus. In the film, Spiderus is first portrayed as a villain, who will seemingly stop at nothing to steal Miss Spider from her new husband, Holley. "What does she see in him?" he wonders. Miss Spider, however, shows him that even he can find love, showing him that he knows its true when he feels "butterflies" for a charming spidress named Spindella. I was really impressed with the development of this character throughout the series. He learned compassion, he learned to relax and be friends with others, and, perhaps most interestingly of all, he became a father to three young spiderlings. Along the way was Jay, in a role truly suited to his talents. He even got to sing! I don't know yet who, if anyone, will take over the role. The Spiderus character was not featured in the most recent of the show's specials, "The Prince, the Princess and the Bee," though I know not if this was because Jay was unavailable due to his health, or he simply wasn't scripted into it.

    The other main role I know Jay from is his work on the TV series "Beauty and the Beast," which I have recently had the pleasure of enjoying on DVD. He played a truly villainous character, Paracelsus, who comes into direct conflict with the show's two main characters, Vincent (the "Beast") and Catherine. Not only that, but Jay was also one of the voices in the Disney film version of "Beauty and the Beast," which I adore. In fact, I'm not certain, but I think he may be the only actor to have that distinction (to have been on both the TV series and the Disney film.)

    Jay also voiced characters on several other series that I enjoy, or did enjoy, including "Reboot" and "Darkwing Duck." He even did the "Star Trek" thing, appearing in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I admire his industry, talent, and innovation.

    Replacement? Nobody can truly replace him, though I think Alan Rickman (the actor who plays the seemingly-sinister Snape in the "Harry Potter" films) has a similar quality of voice and might not be a bad choice. Others have suggested Peter O'Toole, most recently the voice of the critic Anton Ego in the film "Ratatouille." Well, whoever replaces his voice in those cases where it needs replacing, let's not forget Tony Jay.moreless