We’ve all grown up with Tony the Tiger, the face of Kellogg’s breakfast treat Frosties, or Frosted Flakes, since 1952.
But did you know that since 1999 the popular cartoon character with the catchphrase ”they’re GRRREAT” has been voiced by Droitwich resident Tom Clarke-Hill?
California-born Tom is an actor who has appeared in the films Denial and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (both 2016). But he’s most in demand as a voice artist for TV and games.
The iconic Tony the Tiger was originally voiced by actor Dallas Mckennon, but one year later Thurl Ravenscroft made the role his own, with his dulcet tones appearing in every English language advert for the next 46 years.
In 1999, Thurl semi-retired (working only to voice Tony in U.S. commercials until his death in 2005) and Tom became the tiger for all UK adverts. He says: ”I remembered what Tony sounded like from when I was a child and when I went for the audition it just came out.”
Tom’s first love was jazz, playing double bass, and might have stayed a musician had it not been for a stint on cruise ships, where he studied the stand-up comedians.
“I’d always done impressions. I was always the kid in school in trouble for foolin’ around,” he told the Worcester News in 2002. “So I began to introduce some comedy into some of the numbers.
”I’d do the Louis Armstrong thing in Hello Dolly and I worked out a version of Misty which included 16 voices – John Wayne, Richard Nixon, Johnny Mathis, people like that.”
Tom and his wife moved to Droitwich in 1993 “to get away from the drive-by shootings in LA”.
He joked: “Droitwich doesn’t have drive-by shootings, it has drive-by shoutings. And the last one of those was two years ago when a guy drove down the street yelling about mushy peas.”
Here’s a 2018 video of Tom and Tony….
And here’s Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston trying to guess Tom’s claim to fame on their Heart FM breakfast show in 2020.