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The voice behind Tigger lives the dream

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
August 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jim Cummings is living out his Hollywood dream. He's made a name for himself as a top voice over artist. His favorite characters being the classics: Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger. He loves being part of such a rich history."They're not in a trend," said Cummings. "They're not linked to any fad, evergreen characters and they just keep going, year-in and out. And I feel like I'm a torchbearer."

"I'm very protective of my little guys, Pooh and Tigger," said Cummings. "In fact, Paul Winchell, when he retired officially, he said, 'Hey kid take care of my little buddy for me', so I'm trying."

The late Paul Winchell originated the voice of Tigger and Cummings has done him more than proud. He's up for a Daytime Emmy for outstanding performer in an animated program for his work on the series "My Friends Tigger & Pooh." If he wins, he will have to decide whether or not to accept the award while in his character's voice.

"Well that's ridiculous," said Cummings in the voice of Tigger. "I would never talk just like a Tigger because I'd have to bounce and stripes wouldn't match with the tux."

Cummings uses his past experiences to help bring "character" to his many characters. In his teens, he worked river boats in New Orleans, which inspired the character for an upcoming project. Cummings will be the voice of a Cajun firefly named Ray in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog."

"There's a little bit of four or five of my old river boat captains wrapped up in Ray," Cummings said. "I've always been a singer, so you just kind of blend all that together and the next thing you know, you're going down Mississippi River like that."

With more than 300 credits to his name, even Jim can't keep track of what voices he's done. But because he is heard and not seen, he can go anywhere virtually unrecognized.

"It doesn't get me a good seat at a restaurant, but at a drive through I'm the king," Cummings joked.

The 10th anniversary of the Tigger movie is available on DVD.

Cummings will be at the Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, August 30.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

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