September 20, 2021
The magical arrival of a certain Disney voice actor had Asbury University exclaiming “Gawrsh!”
On Sept. 9, Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, visited campus and spoke to students and faculty about the inspiring path that led to his voice acting career and his incorporation of faith into the world of animation.
Starting as a radio show host and stand-up comedian, Farmer said he had “a place to fail” and practice what it meant to develop different voice characters and know how to comedically work an audience. Later, by the advice of his agent, he went to Hollywood to audition for Disney animation characters and was chosen for the voice of “Goofy” out of thousands of other voices.
Farmer has played the iconic animated role of Goofy and Pluto, as well as incorporating other voices for 4,000 different projects since 1986.
He is the recipient of the “Disney Legend Award,” which is gifted to those whose talents have greatly impacted and shaped the Disney legacy. Farmer was honored with the award in 2009 alongside of notorious entertainers Robin Williams and Betty White. He also received an Emmy nomination for his prized role in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
In “Goofy’s Life Lessons,” Farmer discussed what it means to work the job of voice acting in animation and gave advice to those interested in pursuing the career.
“You’ve got to go on a journey, enjoy that journey,” said Farmer, “Looking back over my life, I thought ‘If I could only win an award, I’d be happy; If I only got a series, I’d be happy.’ And yes, it does make you happy, but it’s not enough as you might imagine.”
He also touched on how encouragement and perseverance led him to success and for those inspired to commit to and work in the same field, “failing forward” is a principle that he believes in.
When asked about the importance of his faith and how biblical principles translated into his day-to-day work, the “Goofy” voice actor touched on his practice of allowing God to govern his life.
“It was the ability to let Him [God] help, to let Him guide me,” said Farmer, “The peace that you get from trusting in God was the most important thing for me because it allowed me to overcome. Don’t be afraid, go boldly and with joy.”
Farmer’s Goofy character can currently be seen – and heard — on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Amphibia, The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, Mickey’s Fun House, and as host and executive producer on It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer on Disney Plus.