The Voices Behind 'Hey Arnold!'
Twenty years ago Friday, viewers first met Arnold Shortman, Gerald Johanssen, and Helga Pataki, among others. Hey Arnold! debuted on Nickelodeon on October 7, 1996, and went on to run for eight years until its wrap in June 2004. Over the course of its small-screen tenure, the beloved cartoon followed the elementary school student Arnold as he navigated life in the city, challenges in the classroom, and the complex social situations of the fourth grade. Two decades later, Arnold’s legacy lives on. In honor of the classic ’90s show’s 20th anniversary, see the voices behind your favorite animated characters, ahead.
Lane Toran, Phillip Van Dyke, and Spencer Klein as Arnold
The role of the title football head was largely shared by three actors. Lane Toran originated the part in the show’s first season. The Recess actor (who voiced King Bob), stepped back a bit in 1997, at which point Halloweentown star Phillip Van Dyke stepped in. Mad About You alum Spencer Klein took his turn at the mic in 1999, and the three spent the subsequent five years trading back and forth in the role of Arnold.
Francesca Marie Smith as Helga Pataki
Francesca Marie Smith has the most episodes of Hey Arnold! to her name with a total of 86 credits. The actress, who also lent her voice to Recess, brought the bullying Helga Pataki to the small screen for eight years.
Jamil Walker Smith as Gerald Johanssen
Hey Arnold! found its Gerald Johanssen in Jamil Walker Smith. The Sister, Sister alum, who went on to play SGU Stargate Universe‘s Ronald Greer, voiced Arnold’s best buddy for the show’s eight-year run.
Justin Shenkarow as Harold Berman
Justin Shenkarow joined Hey Arnold! as one of Arnold’s friends, Harold Berman. The Picket Fences actor voiced the elementary school student for the show’s run, also earning vocal credits for Lloyd in Space and Life with Louie.
Christopher Walberg as Stinky Petersen
Christopher Walberg racked up dozens of credits as Hey Arnold!‘s Stinky Petersen. The actor, who had a previous gig in Little Giants, spent eight years as the Southern student.
Sam Gifaldi as Sid
After appearing in The Mommies and Bless This House, Sam Gifaldi joined Hey Arnold! as Sid, voicing Arnold and Harold’s pal for eight years.
Anndi McAfee as Phoebe Heyerdahl
Anndi McAfee, who also brought Recess‘ Ashley “Ashley A” Armbruster to the small screen, took on the role of Hey Arnold!‘s Phoebe Heyerdahl, the class’ resident smarty pants.
Craig Bartlett as Brainy
Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett picked up additional vocal credits for his brainchild. The writer lent his voice to class geek, Brainy.
Olivia Hack as Rhonda
Olivia Hack joined Hey Arnold! as the popular Rhonda. During her run on the animated show, Hack also played Tana Schrick on Gilmore Girls.