On Monday, August 21, 2023, Nintendo of America announced that longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is retiring from his Nintendo voice acting roles. The announcement was made on social media. However, Nintendo states that Martinet will continue to be associated with the character as a “Mario Ambassador.”

Charles Martinet as Mario Mario

Martinet originated the voice of Mario Mario in live performances at video game trade shows in the early 1990s. According to an interview, he based his performance on Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew. He made his game debut as the character in 1994’s Mario Teaches Typing. Finally, he debuted as the heroic plumber on a Nintendo console game, Nintendo 64’s Super Mario 64, in 1996. In the years since, he took on additional roles. These include Luigi, Wario and Waluigi, as well as the many variations of the characters.

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Some fans were dismayed when it was announced Chris Pratt would play the role of Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Movie. However, Martinet did appear in the successfully animated adaptation of the Nintendo game series. He played two roles, both of which put more pressure on the fourth wall than Mega Mario tripping over a stack of Goombas.

The first was “Guiseppe.” Appearing at Punch-Out Pizzeria in Brooklyn, Guiseppe wears red suspenders over a blue shirt and plays the arcade game “Jump Man.” This cameo has several bonus meta-levels, considering Martinet voiced characters for Super Punch-Out!! before appearing as Mario in Mario Teaches Typing.

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And his second role played by Martinet in the Super Mario Bros. Movie was, fittingly, that of Mario’s father. Just what Martinet’s role may look like as “Mario Ambassador” remains to be seen. However, given his appearances in games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Party 8, despite his retirement, devoted Nintendo Switch players will continue to hear his voice in their living rooms for years to come.

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Avery Kaplan