Rob Paulsen Just Beat Cancer
One could easily make the case that Rob Paulsen represents the voice of a generation. One look at his IMDb profile will show that he has lent his voice to just about every project imaginable. Although shellheads will know him best for his roles as Raphael in the original animated series and Donatello in Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he has done a lot of notable work throughout his career. His voice is instantly recognizable to most as that of Yakko Warner from Animaniacs, and he also provided the unique vocal stylings for a lovable little lab rat named Pinky.
Needless to say, Rob Paulsen has become one of the most significant names in voice acting over the last 30 years, so it would have been quite sad to discover that he was no longer with us. Of course, you might be surprised to find out just how close we were to losing Rob to cancer last year. Earlier this month, Rob posted the latest episode of his podcast Talkin’ Toons. Unlike past episodes, he was not joined by any guest stars; he simply wanted to speak with all of his fans about what had happened over the course of the last year. During the podcast, he explained that he had been diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer in early 2016.
Knowing there would be questions, Rob quickly went about the business of answering as much as he possibly could. He stated that he didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want his fans to worry about him when there are children out there going through far worse situations. The very idea that someone would feel upset about his predicament seemed to upset him a little, as he felt he had lived a long and happy life – that his situation was far more preferable to that of a child who might not see their next birthday. That being said, it was clear that he was very appreciative of everyone who has supported him over the years and he owed a lot of his success to his fans.
Near the end of the episode, Rob became a little choked up when he thought about how lucky he had been and how much he loves meeting his fans. The irony of getting throat cancer was not lost on him, but he was just happy to have received the care necessary to save his life. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy he underwent has had the affect of making it more difficult to produce saliva, and his taste buds are apparently out of order as well. Although he can’t taste very much right now, he still had enough of a sense of humor to suggest that cheez-its are among one of life’s greatest joys – among other significant experiences such as kindness and passion.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that Rob Paulsen is not only one of the most talented voice actors we have ever heard, but he is also one of the most terrific human beings out there. If anyone deserves the success they have seen, it is Rob – and he never shies away from sharing his appreciation for it all. If there is one word I could use to describe his last podcast, it would be “humble.” Not only has he been humble throughout all of this, but he has shown great compassion and humility in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
As shocking as this news is, I’m sure we’re all happy to hear that Rob has officially beaten the disease. During the special episode, he expressed a desire to bring on more guests and retool the Talkin’ Toons podcast. I’m legitimately excited to see what he does next, and I’m so happy to hear that he is alright. Despite his struggles, Rob keeps moving forward and making plans for the future. Perhaps we could all learn a lesson from him and try our best to keep moving forward as well.
If you want to hear the entire podcast for yourself, please click here to listen to the entire 26 minutes of harrowing humility. Trust me – you won’t regret it.