Chatting with Rich Little: 'The Man of a Thousand Voices' Special

Posted Jan 13, 2021 by Markos Papadatos
Veteran impressionist and voice actor Rich Little chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about being the sole headliner performing in Las Vegas at the moment.
Rich Little
Rich Little
B. Harlan Boll Public Relations
He is affectionately known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices." A master mimic of more than 200 voices, including former American Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, both George Bushes and Barack Obama, he has a voice for every presidential administration.
Little is infamous for his skewering of political figures. He has charmed, amused, intrigued, and entertained politicians in the United States and his native Canada. He entertained at both of Reagan's presidential inaugurations and got to know the Reagans very well during that time. President Reagan used to say to Little, "You do me better than I do."
He was supposed to make his Broadway debut as Richard Nixon, but that got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "This production didn't happen because of COVID, and you never know when anything will be rescheduled," he said.
In the meantime, he is excited to be back on the Las Vegas stage performing at The Tropicana. "I'm the only headliner performing in Las Vegas at the moment. It feels funny because the audience is 25 feet from me, so nobody is close and they are all wearing masks, and they are all spaced 10 feet apart. It's a pretty safe environment. Overall, it's working out since I don't have a big showroom," he said.
"In the old days in Las Vegas, if you didn't draw a lot of people you weren't doing very well, but today, if you do draw a lot of people you are not doing well," he added.
Each day, he is motivated simply by having the opportunity to perform. "I didn't perform for eight months, so it's great to be back on stage performing in front of a live audience," he said. "I am very privileged to be given that opportunity when so many people aren't."
For young and aspiring voice actors and impressionists, he said, "I think it's a pretty good field to go into. I don't think there are as many impersonators today as there used to be. There are still some good people performing doing impressions such as Gordie Brown, who is from my hometown, he is one of the best."
A fun fact about Rich Little is that he is a talented portrait artist. "I sketch almost every day. I've done hundreds and hundreds of portraits. Not only do I do the voices of people but I can sketch a lot of those people. I think that I've drawn most of the people that I've impersonated, and they've figured out a way to make my pictures talk. It surprises people at the show. I show a lot of my art in the show, so it works out great," he said.
He defined the word success as: "working and being able to perform."
For his dedicated fans and supporters, he said, "I am very grateful that they've stuck by me and they remember me. There are a lot of younger people that come to my show and they enjoy it."
"I had a 16-year-old kid that enjoyed my show the other night and he was laughing his head off," he said. "He told me that he didn't know anybody I was doing but I was 'very very funny.' I told him I was flattered and then he told me he was confused. I said 'what were you confused about?' and he wondered why I kept changing my voice all the time. There's a lot of people that come and they don't know Dean Martin, George Burns, Jimmy Stewart or John Wayne."
To learn more about Rich Little, check out his IMDb page and his official website.