Charles Martinet, the iconic voice of Mario for more than three decades, is “stepping back from recording character voices” for Nintendo as he transitions into a new role.
Now a “Mario Ambassador,” Martinet will travel the world and interact with fans on behalf of the gaming company.
Martinet is not involved in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder game, out Oct. 20 on Nintendo Switch. “While Charles is not involved in the game, we’re excited to honor his legacy and contributions, including looking ahead to what he’ll be doing as a Mario Ambassador,” Nintendo said in a statement to Variety.
Martinet started at Nintendo in 1991, and his first major performance as the mustachioed plumber was in 1996’s Super Mario 64, the landmark 3D platformer that introduced much of the world to Mario’s enthusiastic Italian intonation.
He’s credited for voicing Mario — and a handful of other Mushroom Kingdom adventurers including Luigi, Wario and Waluigi — in over 150 Nintendo games. Bringing to life Mario’s unforgettable catchphrases like “Let’s-a go!,” “Mamma mia” and “Wahoo!,” Martinet left his mark on some of Nintendo’s biggest properties, including Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Party.
Martinet even had a brief cameo in this year’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” in which Chris Pratt took over as Mario.
“Charles Martinet has been the original voice of Mario in Nintendo games for a long time, as far back as Super Mario 64,” Nintendo of America said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Charles is now moving into the brand-new role of Mario Ambassador. With this transition, he will be stepping back from recording character voices for our games, but he’ll continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all! It has been an honor working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him. Please keep an eye out for a special video message from Shigeru Miyamoto and Charles himself, which we will post at a future date.”
Martinet shared Nintendo’s statement on his Twitter account, writing, “My new Adventure begins! You are all Numba One in my heart!”
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