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Teen Movie Critic

Bob Bergen

February 23, 1998

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Kids say the silliest things. Bob Bergen, host of the kids' game show Jep (Game Show Network), for example, told his parents that he wanted to be Porky Pig when he grew up. "I was about five, and they thought it was cute," he laughed. "But guess what? A couple years ago, I voiced Porky Pig (and Tweety) for the movie Space Jam!"

When Bergen was a little older, he called the man who voiced Porky Pig, and was given advice on just how to say," Th-th-th- that's all, folks!" (He did some impressions for me on the phone, and they were quite an accomplishment.)

When he was twelve, his parents moved to Los Angeles, and Bergen tried everything to get into show business. At one point, he took a job giving tours at Universal Studios, where he watched the filming of movies and TV shows on his lunch break. "I'd go up to the casting directors there and beg them to let me read for a part," he said. "One guy said, 'If I let you read for one part, will you promise to quit bugging me?' So he let me read for the part just to get rid of me, and I got the part!"

That led to more roles, including the many voice-overs Bergen has done. "I think one of the biggest secrets in Hollywood is that so much has to be voiced- over," he explained. "And not just animated features either - in movies and TV shows where the actor's words didn't sound clear, etc."

Although Bergen enjoys doing the voice-overs, he says he prefers to be onscreen (he's appeared on several TV shows and does live theatre as well), which he gets to do on Jep. "I love doing the show and working with kids," commented Bergen, who was a contestant on two game shows as a teen. "I think the show retains everything that makes the original Jeopardy fun, but it's for kids, and the contestants are all kids." (A casting director travels across the country holding live auditions to pick kids for the show.)

It's not surprising that Bergen has been a part of the Big Brother mentoring program for nine years, and says that the most rewarding thing is "just knowing you're a part of these kids' lives, that they have someone to turn to."

Bergen has no kids of his own, and isn't married. "I'm not seeing anyone right now, but I'm definitely looking," he exclaimed. "I am very single, and very ready to get married and have a family."

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