The Original Lion King Cast: Where Are They Now?
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
The '90s teenage heartthrob, who voiced young Simba in the classic 1994 film, continued to thrive in his acting career after the animated film hit big at the box office. Thomas went on to star in films like Man of the House and I'll be Home for Christmas, and most famously played middle child Randy Taylor on the TV 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 time 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 headed back to Los Angeles, where he currently resides. He also recently directed his Home Improvement dad Tim Allen in an episode of Last Man Standing.
By the time he played adult Simba, the actor's voice was already recognizable, thanks to a little movie called Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Since The Lion King, the actor married Sarah Jessica Parker; the two are parents twin daughters Tabitha and Loretta and son James Wilkie. He continues to act on steadily on Broadway, in films and on TV.
James Earl Jones
The star most famously voiced the role of Darth Vader before he went on to play Mufasa in The Lion King films. Since then, Jones has gone on to have a robust voice career, narrating for TV films like The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics and episodes of The Simpsons. Fans should look out for Jones, who will be reprising his role as King Jaffe Joffer in the sequel to Craig Brewer’s 1988 hit, Coming 2 America, which is slated for a 2020 release. He will also voice Mufasa again in the 2019 Lion King remake, out this summer.
The actor, who brought personality and enthusiasm to Simba’s quick-witted sidekick Timon, played his character in a spinoff television series called Timon & Pumbaa in 1995. A year later, Lane played Albert Goldman opposite Robin Williams in Birdcage, which won a Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. Since the mid-'90s, Lane has made appearances on TV shows and movies, such as Stuart Little, 30 Rock, The Good Wife, American Crime Story and Modern Family, in addition to multiple Broadway roles. Fans can catch Lane as Lewis Michener, a veteran LAPD officer, in the upcoming 2019 supernatural drama called Penny Dreadful: City of Angels on Showtime.
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 Sabella’s effervescent voice. After The Lion King premiered, Sabella continued to be the voice of Pumbaa in television and movie spinoffs, video games and film shorts.
The British actor had more than a decade worth of acting credits before voicing the role of sinister Scar. He began his career in notable films such as The Mission and Kafka, and went on to play Humbert Humbert in Lolita and Alfred in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice after the original Lion King film wrapped in 1994. Irons has currently taken on the role as a much older Adrian Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, in HBO’s Watchmen.
While playing his most iconic role as Mr. Bean, 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 in his self-titled animated series, movies, TV shorts and more.
The late actor, who died of prostate cancer in October 2017, voiced Mufasa’s trusted advisor Rafiki. Guillaume went on to lend his voice to many Lion King offshoot projects, including The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, the TV series Timon & Pumbaa and several video games including The Lion King: Simba’s Mighty Adventure and Rafiki’s Challenge.
The actress who played Nala in all of the Lion King films later played The West Wing’s no-nonsense political strategist Mandy Hampton and One Tree Hill’s successful business woman and single mom Karen Roe. Her latest role as Madeline Shoaf in the 2018 Lifetime movie Girl in the Bunker, a film based on the true story of Elizabeth Shoaf, who was abducted in 2006 by Vinson Filyaw, a former construction worker who posed as a police officer before handcuffing and keeping Shoaf captive underground for 10 days, can be seen on Amazon Prime now.
The star was already a household name before playing Shenzi, Scar’s chief lackey and leader of a hyena pack of three. The actress continued to have a massively successful career in movies and television and is currently a co-host on the Emmy-winning daytime talk show, The View.
Fans may be surprised to learn that in addition to voicing Ed, one of Shenzi’s minions and loyal follower of Scar, Cummings also lent his voice to several classic characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, the Tasmanian Devil, Darkwing Duck, Razoul in Aladdin and Rasputin in Anastasia. 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.
One-half of comedy duo Cheech & Chong brought his acting chops to play to role of Banzai, the third hyena in Scar’s trusty trio. Since then, Marin has voiced the role of Ramone in the Cars animated movies and will be the voice of Chef Louie in 2019’s The Little Mermaid: An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience, alongside Lea Michele, who will play Ariel and Harvey Fierstein, who will play Ursula.