Patrick Warburton Reveals His Favorite Animated Characters To Voice - Exclusive

Patrick Warburton is well known to television viewers for his on-screen roles in TV series such as "Less Than Perfect," "Rules of Engagement," and the Netflix hit "A Series of Unfortunate Events" — though he might be best remembered for his iconic character David Puddy, the sometimes-boyfriend of Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on the classic sitcom "Seinfeld."

Warburton is also known for his distinctive voice, which he's used to great effect in an array of animated films and TV series. These have ranged from Joe Swanson on "Family Guy" to Brock Samson on "The Venture Bros." to Buzz Lightyear in "Toy Story"-inspired TV projects. For his latest voice acting project, Warburton is providing the voice of Days Inn's "complimentary" pillow, which speaks to hotel guests by offering compliments when its corner is pressed.

During an exclusive interview with The List, we discussed a few of these characters, and Warburton zeroed in on some of his favorite voice roles.

The Disney character that remains his favorite

Of the numerous animated characters Patrick Warburton has voiced over the years, one stands out above the rest. "Always, the one nearest and dearest to my heart would have to be Kronk [from 'The Emperor's New Groove']," he shared. "Being a Disney-phile — it was in my early days — I got to create the character. I got to discover and create what he sounded like and present that. The makers of the film loved it, and that's what we went with."

Another favorite was the Wolf in "Hoodwinked." "That was a fun project, although I got screwed over by Harvey Weinstein," Warburton said, explaining that he was "paid scale" for the independently produced feature but negotiated a "back-end deal" based on the film's success. But after Weinstein saw the film and bought it for wider distribution, things didn't pan out the way Warburton's contract had outlined. 

"I go, 'Well, now it is the first independently animated feature to ever get a major theatrical release. I have a contract.' Harvey said, 'Sue me,'" said Warburton. "It was interesting to be one of the four main voices in a film that between domestic and worldwide and DVD made at least $250 million ... I made a total of about $20,000 on that movie."

He loves the creative process behind animated stories and characters

Patrick Warburton relishes the opportunity to shape a vocal characterization as part of the early creative process. "Producers can have a couple of pages of a character description, but when it's an animated character, they don't know what that character sounds like until they hear it. That's why that's a great opportunity to experiment," he said. 

That was particularly true when it came to his performance as Kronk. "I remember early, early conversations with [Disney]. I said, 'He's this big guy, he's a henchman, but he seems to be reticent in his position. He's also a cook. Instead of him sounding dark like this, I made him sound a little bit sweeter, like this, and bring it down. And he likes to cook.' They're like, 'That's it.'"

Ultimately, Warburton explained, "It's really fun to be able to step into a room [and] show them what a character sounds like. In that entire creative process, everything feeds everything once you know who the character is [and] what he sounds like. Then you're stepping into those shoes and running with it. The process is a lot of fun, especially when you're working with so many wonderful creative individuals like you do with Disney, from all the animators."

The new "complimentary" pillow is available until July 30 in select Days Inn locations throughout the summer.