Peter Cullen Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (12)

Overview (3)

Born in Montreal, Québec, Canada
Birth NamePeter Claver Cullen
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Cullen was born on July 28, 1941 in Montreal, Québec, Canada as Peter Claver Cullen. He is known for his work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).

Trade Mark (2)

The voice of Optimus Prime, the heroic leader of the Autobots on The Transformers (1984)
Often provides a deep raspy voice for his characters, most notably Optimus Prime

Trivia (15)

Frequently does voice-overs for commercials, cartoons, movie previews, etc.
Has four children: Clay Cullen, Angus Cullen, Claire Cullen and Pilar E. Cullen.
Has been the voice of two characters involved in chicken runs (when two cars drive towards each other). The first was the evil K.A.R.R. in the television series episode Knight Rider: Trust Doesn't Rust (1982). The second was the heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime on the animated series The Transformers (1984).
Though he provided vocals for the inhuman alien Predator in the Predator films and the voice of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, he is best known for voicing the heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime on The Transformers (1984) animated series. Though this was originally intended for his character to remain dead after being killed in The Transformers: The Movie (1986), the death caused such a public backlash that the surprised producers brought the character back in two separate episodes of the third season (ultimately saving the world in the second appearance).
Was one of only three voice-over actors from The Transformers (1984) animated series to voice a character in the live-action film versions Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). The others being Charlie Adler and Frank Welker. Cullen once again provided the voice of the heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime for the films.
Has stated that the voice of legendary American film actor John Wayne had some influence on his choice for the voice of Optimus Prime. However, he clarified in an interview for the 2007 Transformers video game that the inspiration for Prime's voice was actually based on an impression of his older brother's voice -- the authoritative tone he used while serving as an officer with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
Stated that of all the roles that he has done, his signature role, Optimus Prime, is his favorite. He described playing Prime in the 2007 film as "slipping into a very old, very comfortable pair of shoes". He explained his preference for the character by saying "making people happy makes me happy".
Attended and graduated from Regiopolios-Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Kingston, Ontario.
Attended and graduated from the National Theater School of Canada in Montreal, Quebec (1963).
He was the first actor to voice Nintendo's video game mascot Mario - of Super Mario Brothers - for the Saturday Supercade series.
His older brother, Larry Cullen, was a retired Captain in the United States Marine Corps, and helped inspire the voice of Optimus Prime.
Provided the roar of the title character in King Kong (1976), injuring his throat in the process. The experience turned him off of voicing inhuman sounds, though he later made an exception for Predator (1987).
Occasionally provides the narration for movie trailers. Most notably for Batman & Robin (1997) and Spawn (1997).
Father-in-law of Molly Culver.
He is of mostly Irish descent.

Personal Quotes (12)

Everybody's going to approach a character differently, depending upon what they bring to it on their own intellectual level or their feelings from their heart and soul.
I enjoy dramatic narration, of course, because I'm an actor and I started as an actor. But I love things that are a challenge, and I look forward to more work with that in the future. So there's always a sun coming up the following day for me.
My brother was a captain in the Marine Corps and a very big hero in my life.
I immerse myself right into my character whether or not I'm relating to people live as an actor on stage or whatever.
I'm always involved with the Aerospace Program and NASA and Goddard Space Flight Center. And if kids feel so inclined, they can log onto NASA and the Optimus Prime Spinoff Award, which we present every year to some of the brilliant young minds that are taking up into the academics of space, science, technology, math.
As a young actor, I would be invited to the CBC radio drama department to do voices for different characters, and I found that I could do quite a few of them. I wasn't a visual presence, and I found it easier to construct a voice from the written page.
The phenomenon of The Transformers (1984) itself is mind-shaking, you know?
I kind of modeled Optimus Prime's voice out of many people I had known over the years, my family especially.
I always try to make a voice to go with the characteristics - if the guy's a hothead or he's cool, whatever.
My mom used to say, "Peter, don't do this, you're going to ruin your voice! It's going to stay like that!" But when I was an acting student, I studied under an operatic coach named Bernard Diamant from New York. He described the basic instrument, as we all have, the human voice. I was particularly impressed with a remark that he made: A baby, when it's born, has the most perfect vocal ability. Opera singers study to get back to that for years through the use of your diaphragm, the expansion of air in your chest and lungs, the use of tonal cavities that are built into your upper chest and your head.
On Optimus Prime: For Optimus, they follow the guidelines of character traits. There's still the honesty, integrity, honor, dignity, the sense of trustworthiness and compassion. Those qualities have not changed, and that makes it relatively easy for Optimus to maintain a consistent level of character.
On The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1971): I was brought into the studio and they showed me an animated ball that was being poked with a stick from the inside, and the ball would open up. They said, "Try to think of a voice, or something. He's kind of like a little gremlin inside the ball ... Then, as an announcer, I want you to say, 'From Television City in Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen, it's the Sonny & Cher Show!', okay?" So I do Take One. They kept that recording for the next four years. I never had to do it again.

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