'The Lion King' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Hakuna Matata! Find out what the iconic cast of voice actors have been up to since the famous animated film premiered in 1994

James Earl Jones and Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Nathan Lane
Photo: Mike Pont/WireImage; Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty
01 of 12

Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Young Simba

Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

The '90s teenage heartthrob, who voiced young Simba, continued to thrive in his acting career after the animated film hit it big at the box office. Jonathan Taylor Thomas went on to star in films like Man of the House (1995), Tom and Huck (1995) and I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998), and most famously played middle child Randy Taylor on the sitcom Home Improvement.

Hearts broke around the world when Thomas decided to step away from the spotlight during the height of his career. The actor expressed that he had worked long enough and wanted to pursue other interests.

"I'd been going nonstop since I was 8 years old," Thomas told PEOPLE in a 2013 interview. "I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break."

After attending Harvard, Columbia University and St. Andrew's University in Scotland, Thomas returned to Los Angeles, where he currently resides. He also directed his Home Improvement on-screen dad Tim Allen on three episodes of Last Man Standing.

02 of 12

Matthew Broderick as Simba

Matthew Broderick
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

By the time he played adult Simba, Matthew Broderick's voice was already recognizable, thanks to the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination.

Since The Lion King's 1994 release, Broderick has also starred in Election (1999), The Stepford Wives (2004), The Producers (2005), Tower Heist (2011), Manchester by the Sea (2016) and Lazy Susan (2020).

Broderick has been married to actress and fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker since 1997; the two are parents to three children, including twin daughters Tabitha and Loretta and son James Wilkie. Continuing to act in films and on TV, he is also a decorated Broadway star, performing in a revival of Plaza Suite in 2022 with his wife, Parker.

03 of 12

James Earl Jones as Mufasa

James Earl Jones
Mike Pont/WireImage; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures/Everett

James Earl Jones most famously voiced the role of Darth Vader before he went on to play Mufasa in The Lion King films. Since then, Jones has had a robust voiceover career, narrating for TV films like Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics and episodes of The Simpsons.

He also voiced Mufasa again in the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King and reprised his role as King Jaffe Joffer in the 2021 sequel to Craig Brewer's 1988 hit, Coming to America. After 40 years of voicing Darth Vader, Jones had his last run on the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi before stepping down from the role in 2022.

Jones had a son with wife Cecilia Hart, who died in 2016 from ovarian cancer.

04 of 12

Nathan Lane as Timon

Nathan Lane
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty; Inset: Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

As Pumbaa and Simba's quick-witted sidekick, Nathan Lane brought personality and enthusiasm to the character, Timon, in the film and on the 1995 spin-off series Timon & Pumbaa. A year later, he played Albert Goldman opposite Robin Williams in the 1996 film The Birdcage, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for best actor.

Since the mid-'90s, Lane has made appearances on TV shows and in movies, such as 1999's Stuart Little and on 30 Rock, The Good Wife, American Crime Story, Modern Family and Only Murders in the Building — the latter of which earned him his seventh Emmy nomination, making him the most nominated guest actor in TV history — in addition to multiple roles on Broadway. Fans can catch Lane on the Studio 54 stage alongside costars Danny Burstein and Zoë Wanamaker in Pictures from Home.

In 2015, Lane married his partner, Devlin Elliott, after 18 years of being together.

05 of 12

Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa

Ernie Sabella
Paul Archuleta/Getty; Walt Disney Pictures

Pumbaa may have been dreamt up as a supporting character, but the pudgy jungle warthog with a heart of gold and best friend to Timon became a star thanks to Ernie Sabella's effervescent voice. After The Lion King premiered, Sabella continued to be the voice of Pumbaa on TV and movie spin-offs, video games and film shorts.

Sabella has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1999.

06 of 12

Jeremy Irons as Scar

Jeremy Irons
Jordi Vidal/WireImage; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

Oscar-winning British actor Jeremy Irons had more than a decade's worth of acting credits before voicing the role of The Lion King's villain, the sinister Scar.

Irons began his career in notable films such as The Mission (1986) and Kafka (1991). After the original Lion King film premiered in 1994, he played Simon in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Humbert Humbert in Lolita (1997) and Alfred in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).

He also appeared on HBO's Watchmen and Netflix's The Pentaverate. His other film credits include Red Sparrow (2018), Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (2020), Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) and House of Gucci (2021).

Irons and his wife, Sinéad Cusack, have two sons: Samuel and Maximillian.

07 of 12

Rowan Atkinson as Zazu

Rowan Atkinson
Taylor Hill/Getty; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures/Everett

While playing his most iconic role as Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson voiced Mufasa's first in-command Zazu, who had the unpleasant task of taking care of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young Simba. Fans today who can't get enough of Atkinson as the eccentric, scheming Mr. Bean can watch him on his self-titled animated series, Johnny English film series, TV shorts and more.

Atkinson was married to Sunetra Sastry, the mother of two of his children, for 20-plus years before they divorced in 2015. The actor had one daughter with comedian Louise Ford in 2017.

08 of 12

Robert Guillaume as Rafiki

Robert Guillaume
Amy Graves/WireImage; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

Robert Guillaume, who died of prostate cancer at age 89 in October 2017, voiced Mufasa's trusted advisor Rafiki. The late actor also lent his voice to many Lion King offshoots, including The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), the TV series Timon & Pumbaa and several video games, including The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure and Rafiki's Challenge.

09 of 12

Moira Kelly as Nala

Moira Kelly
Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

Moira Kelly — who voiced Nala in all The Lion King films — also played The West Wing's no-nonsense political strategist Mandy Hampton and One Tree Hill's successful businesswoman and single mom, Karen Roe. She's also been in several TV films, including Girl in the Bunker (2018) and My Southern Family Christmas (2022), as well as on the shows The Resident and Panic.

Kelly has two children, Ella and Eamon, with her husband, Steve Hewitt.

10 of 12

Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi

Whoopi Goldberg
Roy Rochlin/Getty; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

Whoopi Goldberg was already a household name before playing Shenzi, Scar's chief lackey and leader of a hyena pack of three. The EGOT-winning actress continued to have a massively successful career in film and on TV. She has starred on the eponymous series Whoopi, Instinct, The Stand and Harlem. Her film credits following The Lion King include Cinderella (1997), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), For Colored Girls (2010), Top Five (2014), Nobody's Fool (2018) and Till (2022). Goldberg has co-hosted the Emmy-winning daytime talk show The View since 2007.

Goldberg has been married three times but has no plans to do it again, as she prefers to be on her own. She has one daughter, Alex Martin.

11 of 12

Jim Cummings as Ed

im Cummings
Jamy/Barcroft Media/Getty; Inset: Buena Vista Pictures/Everett

Fans may be surprised to learn that in addition to voicing Ed, one of Shenzi's minions and loyal follower of Scar, Jim Cummings also lent his voice to several classic characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, the Tasmanian Devil, Darkwing Duck, Razoul in Aladdin (1992) and Rasputin in Anastasia (1997). Gamers can also hear Cummings as Hondo Ohnaka in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and as Pete, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in 2019's Kingdom Hearts III.

Cummings shares two daughters with ex-wife Stephanie Jardon, who accused the actor of sexual and animal abuse during their acrimonious child custody battle in 2019, and has two older daughters from a previous marriage.

12 of 12

Cheech Marin as Banzai

Cheech Marin
Paul Morigi/Getty; Inset: Walt Disney Pictures

Half of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong, Cheech Marin brought his acting chops to the role of Banzai, one of the hyenas in Scar's trusty trio. Since then, Marin has voiced Ramone in the Cars animated movie series as well as on the Disney+ spin-off series, and Chef Louie in 2019's The Little Mermaid: An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience, alongside Lea Michele as Ariel and Harvey Fierstein as Ursula. He also appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Tin Cup (1996), Spy Kids (2001) and Shotgun Wedding (2023).

The father of three was married twice before tying the knot to longtime girlfriend Natasha in 2009.

Related Articles