A look back at Mario actor’s Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - Mario on a background of Paarthunax and Beethoven

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - Mario on a background of Paarthunax and Beethoven

For the past 32 years, voice actor Charles Martinet has been the heart and soul of Nintendo’s most beloved characters. As the voice behind Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi and more, Martinet has captured children’s imagination everywhere.

Unfortunately, Martinet will no longer be the voice of Mario or any other Nintendo character. After three decades in the role, the voice actor has been replaced, recast by a new voice actor.

But Mario is far from the only role Martinet has voiced. Over his decades in the industry, we’ve collated some of the actor’s weirdest roles in video games.

Male Prostitute - Police Quest: Open Season

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - the Mario voice actor starring as a male prostitute in Police Quest
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There’s a different kind of pipe he’s going in here.

Two years after voicing Mario at trade shows, Charles Martinet made his debut credited video game appearance in the fourth Police Quest point-and-click game. While Martinet may be known for the family-friendly appeal of Nintendo’s iconic plumber, his first video game role leans a bit more mature. Simply put, he’s a male prostitute.

A classic 90s FMV game, Martinet isn’t just a voice actor in Police Quest: Open Season, but a live-action presence. In fact, he has three live-action roles in the game. Alongside playing an unnamed male prostitute, he’s also a janitor and the actor behind Billy Bob.

Martinet’s stint as a faux prostitute is a very small part of the Police Quest game, but it’s still surprising nonetheless. After all, Mario is the most family friendly you could be, more so than Mickey Mouse, so it is a little shocking to see this role on the actor’s resume.

William Shakespeare and Beethoven - Carmen Sandiego’s Great Chase Through Time

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - a cartoon Ludwig van Beethoven sitting at a piano
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Some would say that Charles Martinet will be an unforgettable historical figure, but did you know he’s also played some. In the 1997 edutainment game Carmen Sandiego’s Great Chase Through Time, aka Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, stars Martinet as two historical icons: William Shakespeare and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

As Beethoven, you’ll have to help Martinet’s very Mario-esque sounding musician find his “stolen 5th and 6th” symphonies. In his role as Shakespeare, Martinet is attempting to teach his actors to learn their damn lines, and you’re tasked with helping.

Martinet’s impressions of Beethoven and Shakespeare are very fun, and solid performances. While they’re not as “wahoo” as Mario, they’re still plenty engaging.

Gimli - The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - Gimli and his wife or something g
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Stepping into the toes of another small humanoid character, Charles Martinet surprisingly played the role of Gimli in one of the Lord of the Rings PS2 games.

The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age wasn’t a third-person action game like other games of the era. Instead, it’s a turn-based RPG with Martinet’s voice portraying the series’ iconic, gruff Dwarf.

As Gimli, Martinet channels a gruffness that you wouldn’t expect from the actor. However, as surprising as it is to hear the actor give as deep a performance as you’d expect from Gimli, it’s got nothing on this next time.

Paarthurnax - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Charles Martinet’s weirdest roles - the great dragon Paarthunax standing on a rock
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The child of the Time God Akatosh, the Elder Dragon Paarthurnax has one of the most stunning and memorable performances in Skyrim. As it just so happens, the voice behind that performance is none other than Charles Martinet.

As the leader of the Greybeards and brother of the game’s villain Alduin, Martinet’s performance as the hulking dragon is one of the most profound in the entire Elder Scrolls series. Standing tall alongside series greats like Dagoth Ur and Michael Gambon’s Varen Aquilarios, Martinet’s acting in Skyrim is unforgettable.

While it may not be his most iconic performance, Paarthurnax is certainly one of his best. Over 12 years after Skyrim released, and the great dragon’s intimidating tones are still as unforgettable as they were back then.


Charles Martinet will always be known as the voice of Mario, no matter who replaces him. Despite that, his other roles shouldn’t be left behind. In fact, they’re some of the actor’s most impressive.

From male prostitute to Paarthurnax, Charles Martinet is one of the all-time greats. We only hope that the end of his role as Mario will lead to more performances from the actor over time.

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