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In brief: Charles Martinet, who has voiced several iconic video game characters for Nintendo over the years including Mario himself, will no longer record character voices for the company. In a message shared on Twitter, Nintendo said Martinet will transition to a new role as "Mario Ambassador" in which he will continue to travel and share the joy of Mario with fans worldwide.
Martinet is a lifelong actor that had appeared in a handful of films and television shows before finding employment with Nintendo. As outlined in an interview with Great Big Story, his audition for Mario almost did not happen. Martinet walked into the gig at the last minute, just as the casting directors were packing up to leave. He asked to try out and they said what the heck, have at it.
The directors told him to voice an Italian plumber from Brooklyn named Mario, a character in a video game from Nintendo. As Martinet was trying to come up with a voice in his head, he heard "action" and out came the iconic Mario voice we all know today.
We have a message for fans of the Mushroom Kingdom. Please take a look. pic.twitter.com/U1ASicOuTO– Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) August 21, 2023
Martinet's first appearance as Mario in a video game came in 1994 for a typing game, but he started working with the company years earlier doing digital puppetry at trade shows. Most were no doubt introduced to Martinet as the voice of Mario in the 1996 smash hit Super Mario 64, a launch title for the Nintendo 64.
He later went on to voice other characters in the Mario universe including Luigi, Wario and Waluigi, among others. He also had a few surprise cameos in The Super Mario Bros. Movie earlier this year.
According to Game Rant, Martinet will not be featured as the voice of Mario in the upcoming game Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Nintendo has not yet confirmed who will be taking over as the new voice of Mario moving forward.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is available to pre-order now and hits the Nintendo Switch on October 20, 2023.