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Voice Mail

Which actors could you listen to all day? Check out today's Ask the Critic question, then post your own

TALKIN' WALKEN Whenever this man speaks, Schwarzbaum will be listening
Image credit: Christopher Walken: Armando Gallo / Retna
TALKIN' WALKEN Whenever this man speaks, Schwarzbaum will be listening

Which actors have the best speaking voices?

On my list of movie stars of the past with memorably beautiful voices, I'd include Ronald Colman, Richard Basehart, and Margaret Lindsay (in Jezebel!). Which of today's stars do you think make the list? —Cindy Leary

Luuuuuuke... I. Am. Your. Father. James Earl Jones' pipes are in a galaxy all their own, but elsewhere on earth, my tastes run to the smoky and mature rather than the trilling and winsome — Patricia Clarkson and Alec Baldwin, say, rather than Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. I love the authority and dignity that Jodie Foster, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Samuel L. Jackson bring to every line. And I love how John Hurt makes every character sound as if he's hiding a secret. Still, when it comes to the phone book test — who I'd want to read it to me, A to Z — there's only one voice for the job: Christopher Walken's. His aren't the smoothest tones in the business, and yet I'm always riveted, wondering, What weird stuff will he say next?

(Got a question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

Originally posted Sep 27, 2006 Published in issue #900 Oct 06, 2006 Order article reprints

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