Have you ever listened to an audiobook and thought, “wait a second, I recognize that voice?” It might be that the audiobook you’re listening to is narrated by a celebrity.
Whether they’re reprising a role from a film adaptation of the same book or lending their voice to a personal favourite, there are a number of celebrities who have lent their talent and their voices to audiobooks—and that’s not even counting the ones who’ve narrated their own memoirs and autobiographies.
Read on to see if your favourite celebrity has narrated an audiobook!
1. Wil Wheaton
Star Trek: The Next Generation actor and ‘80s pop culture icon Wil Wheaton has remained in the spotlight for more than just his work as an actor. He’s a writer, producer, YouTuber and much more.
To many, he is synonymous with geek culture, which is why he made the perfect choice to narrate the audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Cline’s 2011 debut novel is a nostalgic romp through ‘80s pop culture set in dystopian 2044. A film adaptation of Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg, which hit theatres at the end of March, only ramped up the title’s popularity. The sci-fi novel is available in our collection as an audiobook on CD and downloadable audiobook.
Wil Wheaton has also narrated a number of other titles that are, unsurprisingly, united by a science fiction and pop culture theme. These include Armada by Ernest Cline, What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe, Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi, Lock In by John Scalzi, Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas by John Scalzi, Homeland by Cory Doctorow, and Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created and Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner.
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda
Even if you don’t recognize Lin-Manuel Miranda’s name, you’re probably familiar with his work as both creator and star of ground-breaking and award-winning Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. Or maybe you’ve heard of the Disney film he co-wrote the music for: Moana.
Somehow—between writing, singing, composing and acting—Miranda also found the time to lend his powerful voice to the audiobook narration of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The critically-acclaimed young adult novel follows two Mexican-American boys and their struggles with racial and ethnic identity, sexuality and relationships.
Miranda, raised by Dominican-American parents who spoke both English and Spanish at home, adds depth and authenticity to the audiobook. It’s available in our collection as an audiobook on CD and downloadable audiobook. Miranda has also lent his voice to the Dominican-American protagonist of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.
3. Maggie Gyllenhaal
From Donnie Darko to Secretary, many of Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s films have a certain level of darkness to them. Maybe that’s why it’s no surprise she narrates a title of a similar style: Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
Her voice is unique, earnest and just a little sad—perfect for Plath’s dark dive into neurosis and eventual breakdown. The Bell Jar remains a timeless American classic that is made even more haunting by Gyllenhaal’s narration. It’s available in our collection as an audiobook CD.
4. Tim Curry
English actor Tim Curry has portrayed a broad range of characters across theatre, film and television. Some of his most notable works include The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the 1990 version of Stephen King’s It. When he’s not playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter or a maniacal demon clown, his deep and, at times, villainous voice can be heard in a number of animated films, video games and audiobooks.
Curry adds an extra level of despair and sorrow to the woeful tale of the Baudelaire orphans in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. You can listen to Curry tell the terrible tale on audiobook CD, downloadable audiobook and streaming audiobook.
5. Alan Cumming
You may already know that Scottish-American actor, singer, writer, producer, director and activist Alan Cumming recorded the audio for his own books, Tommy’s Tale: A Novel, Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir and You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures, but did you know he has also lent his voice and acting talent to the audiobook recording of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan?
A steampunk reimagining of World War I, the novel follows two teens from opposite sides of the war who find their paths crossing in the most unexpected ways. Cumming’s theatrical background lends itself well to Westerfeld’s fantastical, around-the-world adventure. You can borrow and listen to Leviathan as an audiobook CD or as a downloadable audiobook.
Can’t get enough of Cumming’s Scottish accent or the steampunk world Westerfeld has created? You’re in luck because there are two more books in the series, Behemoth and Goliath, and Cumming does the audio for both.
6. Meryl Streep
Considered by many to be the best actress of our time with a record-breaking 21 Academy Award nominations to prove it, Meryl Streep is well-known for commitment to her roles and her ability to completely transform into a character.
That transformation was so well done in the 1986 film adaptation of Nora Ephron’s semi-autobiographical novel Heartburn that Streep was asked to do the audiobook recording as well. The result is an irreverent look at love, marriage and storytelling made even wittier by Streep’s interpretation. You can listen to Heartburn as an audiobook CD or downloadable audiobook.
In her acting career, Streep has shown her diversity again and again, defying any attempt at typecasting. This is also true of her work on audiobooks as Streep has worked on another title in our collection that’s something quite different from Ephron. Alongside Stanley Tucci, Streep narrates and provides a number of hilarious sound effects for a collection of William Steig’s children’s stories in The One and Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories.
7. Armie Hammer
Continuing the trend of actors starring in film adaptations and then narrating the audiobook is Armie Hammer. This American actor has starred in a number of big films including The Social Network, J. Edgar and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Most recently he starred in the Academy Award Best Picture nominee Call Me by Your Name, a film adaptation of a novel of the same name by André Aciman.
The film and the book are a coming of age story that chronicles the romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio and his father’s 24-year-old assistant, Oliver. Hammer, nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his depiction of Oliver, seems to effortlessly switch to voicing Elio and his thoughts.
Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you’ll want to listen to Hammer’s rendition of the audiobook. You can find it in our collection as a downloadable audiobook.
8. Benedict Cumberbatch
Honestly, who wouldn’t want to listen to a book read by Benedict Cumberbatch? This English actor caught the world’s attention portraying Sherlock Holmes in the BBC television crime drama Sherlock.
Even with so many characters under his belt, Cumberbatch has become synonymous with Sherlock Holmes for many people.
That and his ability to seamlessly switch between accents and characters makes him the perfect narrator for Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories by John Taylor.
Ready to be read to? Find an audiobook—celebrity-narrated or otherwise—that interests you. Still need a library card? It takes less time to sign up than it will to pick out your next read.