Charles Fleischer, an actor and comedian known for his work in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Back to the Future II" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street," will be one of many celebrity guests appearing at Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience April 17-19. In an interview with the Deseret News, Fleischer discussed his career and expressed his excitement about the upcoming convention.
Fleischer was born in Washington, D.C., then later attended college in New York and studied acting at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. He eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
Though Fleischer always aspired to be an on-camera actor, he has become most easily recognized as the voice of the iconic animated character Roger Rabbit. He also voiced the characters of Benny the Cab and weasels Greasy and Psycho in that same movie.
Fleischer referred to his ability to imitate a wide variety of accents as "a gift from God," adding, "Some people think it makes you clever, but it’s just fun."
Imitating accents and doing vocal impressions may not be a skill everyone can develop, Fleischer explained. It might be something you're born with.
"I think it’s a genetic predisposition," he said in his regular American accent. "It’s based on hearing something and being able to reproduce it. Essentially, when we’re all little babies, we have what I would say is a vocal imprint device."
Switching to a British accent, he continued. "So, for instance, if you had been born in England, you’d talk with an English accent. There’s a cut-off point at some time in the development of a human being where that switch gets turned off and the way you talk is locked in.
"For certain people," he said, while speaking in the voice of an elderly Southern man, "that switch never gets cut off, so they can hear a voice ...
"And they can do that voice," he concluded, flowing seamlessly into an Indian accent.
But Fleischer is not only famous for his versatile vocal capabilities. He has also played roles in popular live-action films.
He appears twice in "Back to the Future II," most notably during a scene where he casually mentions to Marty McFly that he wishes he could go back in time and "put some money on the Cubbies." Fleischer noted that "Back to the Future" director Robert Zemeckis, who he also worked with in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," conveniently placed a Roger Rabbit doll in the store where Marty buys Grays Sports Almanac.
Fleischer provided the voice for the Elf General at the North Pole in the 2004 film "The Polar Express." He mentioned that the faces of the computer-animated elves were based on a combination of his own face mixed with that of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
"If I had been paid as an extra," Fleischer said, "I would have made more because there were, literally, thousands of versions of my face running around as little elves in that movie.”
Fleischer's fans may also recognize him from his appearances on television shows such as "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "The Richard Pryor Show," and for his roles in horror movies such as "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984) and "Zodiac" (2007).Comment on this story
"I will be there (in Salt Lake City) next week, and I’m excited about it," Fleischer said. "Hopefully people come down and check it out."
For Utahns who may be on the fence about coming to the FanX convention, Fleischer offered one simple piece of advice:
"Make sure it’s not a barbed-wire fence."
Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience runs from April 17-19 at the Salt Palace Convention Center downtown. For more information, including a list of celebrity guests and a schedule, visit saltlakecomiccon.com. Single-day and multi-day tickets may also be purchased online.
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