Thomas James Kenny (born July 13, 1962) is an American actor and voice artist. He is best known for voicing the title character in the SpongeBob SquarePants TV series, video games, and films. Kenny has voiced many other characters including Heffer Wolfe in Rocko's Modern Life; the Ice King in Adventure Time; the Narrator and Mayor in The Powerpuff Girls; Carl Chryniszzswics in Johnny Bravo; Dog in CatDog; and Spyro from the Spyro the Dragon video game series. Kenny has won a Daytime Emmy Award and two Annie Awards for his voice work as SpongeBob SquarePants and the Ice King.
Kenny was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, to Theresa Bridget (née Donigan) and Paul Austin Kenny. As a young child, he loved drawing and collecting record albums in the late 1960s and 1970s. in Syracuse. He met Bobcat Goldthwait in first grade and they became lifelong friends. In their mid-teens, they saw an ad for an open-mic night at Skaneateles that featured comedian Barry Crimmins with the moniker "Bear Cat". He and Goldthwait went to the event, and performed under the monikers Tomcat and Bobcat, respectively, as a tribute to Crimmins, after which Goldthwait used Bobcat as his stage name. Describing Kenny's stand-up routines, Goldthwait said, "Tom would get up there and talk about his therapist and he didn't even have a therapist, he just loved Woody Allen."
Kenny went to Bishop Grimes High School, a Catholic high school. After college, Kenny performed stand-up comedy around the country for about eight years before he moved on to other venues.
Kenny has acted in many films and TV shows, debuting in How I Got Into College and later appeared in films such as Shakes the Clown and Comic Book: The Movie. On television, he would host the "Music News" segments of Friday Night Videos in the early 1990s. He appeared in sketch comedy shows The Edge, and Mr. Show, both roles in the show were as a regular cast member.
His voice acting career came when Joe Murray auditioned Kenny for voice acting roles for Rocko's Modern Life in a casting call in Los Angeles, California. On one occasion, the producers required Kenny to fill the role of Charlie Adler, who was absent. Murray later chose Kenny for several roles on another one of his projects, Camp Lazlo as Scoutmaster Lumpus and Slinkman, because Murray felt that Kenny "adds writing to his roles" and "brings so much".
While working on Rocko's Modern Life, Kenny met marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, who was also the creative director in the show's fourth season. Hillenburg drew a square sponge that he thought was funny and decided that he had found his character. After the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life in 1996, Hillenburg began developing the concept and hired former Rocko crew members. To voice the character of SpongeBob, Hillenburg approached Kenny. Hillenburg chose the name SpongeBob and used the name SquarePants as a family name that "had a nice ring to it". Spongebob SquarePants premiered on May 1, 1999, on Nickelodeon and by 2000 would become a commercial success. Kenny voices several other characters on the show including Gary the Snail, the French narrator, as well as portraying the live-action Patchy the Pirate. In 2010, Kenny received the Annie Award for "Voice Acting in a Television Production" for his role as SpongeBob.
Kenny has gone on to voice many notable characters, including Dog in CatDog, The Mayor and the Narrator in The Powerpuff Girls, Carl Chryniszzswics in Johnny Bravo, Eduardo in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and the Ice King in Adventure Time, among many others.
Kenny has been married to Jill Talley since 1995. They have two children.
- Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002) - Caius Lucius, "My Bad" Soldier
- Rolling with the Ronks! (2016-2017) - Flash
- The Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (2011-2014) - Rabbit
- Kaena: The Prophecy (2003) - Zehos
- Immigrants (2008) - Courier, Craig
- The Adventures of Panda Warrior (2012) - Bernie Hothead, Manny Mantis, Spinny the Monkey
- Delhi Safari (2012) - Alex
- Rave Master (2001-2002) - Griffon Kato
- IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix (2005-2006) - Benjamin Bright, Critic (ep. 17)
- Porco Rosso (1992) - Ferrari
- The Animatrix (2003) - Operator, Additional Voices
- Tekkonkinkreet (2006) - Sawada
- The Laws of the Universe Part 0 (2015) - Ummite
- Batman Ninja (2018) - The Penguin, Samurai Captain
- The Laws of the Universe Part 1 (2018) - Ummite
Video Game Dubbing
- Final Fantasy X (2001) - Rin, Wantz
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2013) - Dr. Sheep
- Kingdom Hearts III (2019) - Rabbit