Steven Jay Blum

  By Shamus   Jan 5, 2006   3 comments

Steven Jay Blum is a busy guy. Odds are that if you play video games or watch anime, you’ve heard him, even if you’ve never heard of him. He’s most famous for doing the voice work for Spike Spiegel in the Anime series Cowboy Bebop. (English dub, of course.)

spike.jpg
Since seeing Cowboy Bebop, I’ve noticed his voice popping up in lots of video games over the past few years. The most noticeable for me was in Doom3, where he seemed to do every dang voice in the game. Don’t get me wrong, Blum is a talented guy and I love when he shows up, but for a big budget game like Doom to re-use such a distinctive voice so many times seems lame.

For example, in just the first half-hour of the game he shows up as five different characters. You find him first in the kitchen, as the voice of fellow squad member K. Miller. (This is his “major” role in the game, the one for which he’s actually credited) Just a few minutes later you arrive at Mars Underground, and he’s the voice of the guy running the security checkpoint who issues you your sidearm. A few minutes later, you pass a couple of guys doing maintainence work at some conduit. The guy at the far end of the conduit (the guy you can’t see) is again voiced by Blum. From there, you move on the the old comm building and things go sideways. On the way back to Mars Underground (between the airlocks) you get a message from the leader of “fireteam two” who is again voiced by Blum. And finally, once you get back to Mars City there is the guy who lowers the ladder and says, “I can’t believe I found you. I thought I was the only one left alive!” There is Blum again, the fifth time you’ve encountered his voice since you hit the “New Game” button about half an hour ago. Keep playing and you’ll run into him again once you reach Alpha Labs – He’s voicing the guy who’s nearly dead by the exit airlock. I think at this point they give Blum a break, since you don’t run into him again until you rejoin K. Miller just outside the Enpro Plant.

I decided to look up Blum and see what else he’s done. Check out his huge list of appearances. I count about 180 since 1990. That’s an average of 12 parts a year, or a new part and a new character once every month. Actually, since in both anime and games making an “appearance” means playing a half-dozen or so parts, (like the Doom example above) then it means that Blum probably plays over a hundred characters every couple of years. That’s a lot of characters.

It looks like he started out with small TV appearances in the 80’s, moved on to Anime in the 90’s, and has been doing a steady mix of video games and Anime over the last 10 years. According to this site, he’s also famous for 7-11 commercials. I wouldn’t know about that: I don’t have anything to do with TV or radio unless football is on. Still, this is one busy guy.


3Three comments. 33% of them are the most recent.


  1. Fuloydo says:

    I’ve often wondered why video game publishers waste money on paid voice talent for small, one or two lines of dialog parts instead of having Joe from accounting or Sally from sales do it.

    I understand using real voice actors for characters who are part of the ongoing game. I don’t understand it for the guy who’s dying in the corner who tells you “the key is in lab 5″ right before he snuffs it.

    Just found your site a few weeks ago (DM of the Rings) and, after finishing that I’m working my way through your archives. So don’t be surprised if you see me commenting on age old posts. :)

    Love what I’ve seen so far.

  2. […] Okay, this isn’t a complaint, but I just found out that Ramza was voiced by former Mad TV star Phil LaMarr. I don’t even care if that doesn’t make any sense, considering he’s almost the exact opposite of the role. He’s the Samuel L. Jackson of video games and cartoons. He’s the black Green Lantern, if that means anything to you. In fact, that would probably be a good title for his autobiography. It’s cool and all, although it’s not exactly what I imagine to be the conduit for a naive, soft-spoken, good-hearted medieval white teenager, born into privilege but distraught over the greed and corruption and death that surrounds him(and which he is forced to participate in). But I figure since he has, after all, voiced everyone and everything that has ever existed or will exist, he’s just as good a choice as any. He was Samurai Jack, which might explain why I am satisfied with this casting. And hey, they showed some restraint by not just giving it to Steven J. Blum. I like the guy’s work, but MAN. We could use a Blum-Break. […]

  3. […] like Steven Blum. I really do. But his natural speaking voice does not sound right coming out of a […]

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Okay, this isn’t a complaint, but I just found out that Ramza was voiced by former Mad TV star Phil LaMarr. I don’t even care if that doesn’t make any sense, considering he’s almost the exact opposite of the role. He’s the Samuel L. Jackson of video games and cartoons. He’s the black Green Lantern, if that means anything to you. In fact, that would probably be a good title for his autobiography. It’s cool and all, although it’s not exactly what I imagine to be the conduit for a naive, soft-spoken, good-hearted medieval white teenager, born into privilege but distraught over the greed and corruption and death that surrounds him(and which he is forced to participate in). But I figure since he has, after all, voiced everyone and everything that has ever existed or will exist, he’s just as good a choice as any. He was Samurai Jack, which might explain why I am satisfied with this casting. And hey, they showed some restraint by not just giving it to Steven J. Blum. I like the guy’s work, but MAN. We could use a Blum-Break. […]

  2. […] like Steven Blum. I really do. But his natural speaking voice does not sound right coming out of a […]

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