Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

While most voice actors tend to go unrecognized for their talents, forever hidden behind the larger-than-life characters they lend their voice to, John DiMaggio is one of the few exceptions. As the voice of Bender in Futurama; Jake The Dog in Adventure Time; and countless other memorable characters from TV, movies, and video games, DiMaggio has made a name for himself despite almost never appearing on camera. So it’s fitting that when he sat down to detail his own colorful life story that it would be presented as an animated short.

In the newest installment of JASH’s Very Animated People series, DiMaggio talks about growing up as an outsider, first as the only white kid in an all-black town and then as the only kid with a black stepdad in an all-white town. The future cartoon legend knew from a young age that he wanted to perform and jumped at the chance to be in musicals and join the school choir. Despite the constant threat of bullies, DiMaggio followed his passion and ended up gaining friends because of his unflappable authenticity. That same passion has carried him through to a successful and eclectic career, in which, as he puts it, he gets to “wave his voice over ding-dong around and not give a shit.” As the audience on the receiving end of that, we can all be thankful he persevered.

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