Thomas James Kenny is an American actor, comedian, and an all-around talented guy. Thomas Kenny is best known for his incredible character voicing abilities – and the title character's voice in the wildly popular cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants.
The Early Years of Thomas Kenny
Thomas Kenny was born in 1962 under the sign of cancer. Kenny was raised in one of New York's largest upstate cities – Syracuse. As a young boy influenced by the culture and events of the late 1960s and 1970s, Kenny began collecting record albums and showing a serious interest in drawing. In first grade, Thomas Kenny met Bob Goldthwait – and this became the moment their lifelong friendship began. They often frequented open-mic comic nights in the nearby village of Skaneateles.
Thomas Kenny graduated from Bishop Grimes Senior High School. After attending high school and during his college days, he fiddled with stand-up comedy – touring the country for about eight years.
Thomas Kenny's Personal Life
Kenny is married to Jill Talley, whom he met when they were working on The Edge. Jill and Thomas Kenny have collaborated on a variety of professional projects – including SpongeBob SquarePants, where Jill voices the character of Karen Plankton. Both have appeared in the Smashing Pumpkins music video entitled Tonight, Tonight. The Kenny's son Mac was born in 1998, followed by a daughter who was born several years later in 2003. The Kennys and their children live in Studio City, California.
Tom Kenny Net Worth
Tom Kenny's Net Worth is approximately $16 million. Much of Tom Kenny's net worth can be sourced to the longstanding and ongoing popularity of the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise. With more than 700 global licenses in 200+ countries, Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants – from a retail product perspective, generates approximately $8 billion annually. This remarkably successful franchise holds the distinction of being MTV's most widely distributed series/franchise as well as the longest-running Nicktoon ever produced.
Tommy Kenny's Film & Television Professional Career
As noted above, Tom Kenny eventually left stand-up comedy to delve professionally into film and television projects. Kenny's early movies included -
- How I Got into College - 1989
- Shakes the Clown – 1991
- Comic Book: The Movie - 2004
On television, Tommy Kenny had similar success –
- Music News segments on Friday Night Videos
- The Edge
- Mr. Show, among others.
Professional Voice Work
Kenny is best known for his voice work as SpongeBob SquarePants. When asked how he created SpongeBob's voice, Kenny replied that he wanted a cross between a child and an adult – something akin to the child/man demonstrated by Jerry Lewis as well as Stan Laurel.
Other voice work includes many and varied projects – many of which were created or produced by the Nickelodeon Network –
- The Fairly OddParents Cupid character.
- Camp Lazlo – various roles.
- Rocko's Modern Life – Heffer Wolfe – an anthropomorphic steer.
- CatDog's – the role of the dog and Cliff.
- The Powerpuff Girls – various roles.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends – various characters, including Eduardo.
- PBS' Word Girl's Two Brains.
- Xialoin Showdown – various characters.
- Codename Kids Next Door -various roles.
- The Transformers – multiple roles, including Wheelie and Autobots Skids.
- Dilbert – various roles, including Asok, Rabert, and Dilbert's shower.
In addition, Tommy Kenny has professionally accomplished some monumental roles, like voicing The Penguin in the 2004 animated series Batman. Then he went on to voice Squanchy on Rick and Morty. Next was a regular role on Sit Down, Shut Up – a Fox comedy series, where Tommy Kenny was the voice of several characters on the show alongside some impressive co-talent that included Henry Winkler, Jason Bateman, Kristin Chenoweth and Will Arnett, among others.
Additional Kenny voice work is found in TV marketing and advertising –
- As an Elf For A Best Buy Christmas Commercial
- As a Talking Modem In An Experian Spot
On the internet, Kenny offers his talents as Talking Hank in a web series put out by YouTube entitled Talking Tom and Friends.
Video Game Work
Tommy Kenny's professional talents are also found in a variety of video games. He has been the voice of Spyro the Dragon, which began in Spyro 2 – Ripto's Rage! He has also voiced several other characters in the Spyro trilogy.
The SpongeBob Years
Tommy Kenny met Stephen Hillenburg (an animator who happens to also be a marine biologist) while working on Rocko's Modern Life. When Rocko's was canceled in 1996, Stephen Hillenburg began the development of an ocean-themed animated series in which he could build on and use his marine science education and background.
And because Hillenburg wanted the main character to be a sea sponge – mostly because it is both a funny and an unusual animal, he asked Tommy Kenny if he was interested in voicing SpongeBob in 1997.
Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants in May 1999. It was quickly a huge commercial success. In addition to voicing the titular SpongeBob Squarepants main character, Tommy Kenny also voices these characters on the animated series –
- Patchy the Pirate – a live-action character
- Gary, the Snail
- A French Narrator who parodies the infamous French oceanographer, filmmaker as well as naval officer.
- Harold SquarePants – SpongeBob's dad.
Tommy Kenny's Nominations
Tommy Kenny's work has been honored and awarded multiple times. He has been nominated ten times for four different awards –
- The Annie Awards – Nominated in 2001, 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016.
The Annie Awards seek to recognize animation excellence in TV and cinema work. They began in 1972 when it was first given for lifetime achievements. Since 1992, individuals have been awarded yearly.
- The Daytime Emmy Awards– Nominated in 2018, 2020, and 2021.
The first Emmy Awards ceremony was in 1949; however, it wasn't until 1972 that the first award was given for a daytime drama.
- Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards – Nominated in 2022.
The first Kid's Choice Award was given out in 1987. SpongeBob SquarePants – as a series, including all contributions, has won the most Kid's Choice Awards
- The Children's and Family Emmy Awards – Nominated in 2022.
Tommy Kenny's Awards Wins
Kenny won an Annie Award in 2010 in the category - Of Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production. It was for his work on a two-part SpongeBob SquarePants episode entitled Truth or Square Lessons. A few years later, in 2014, he won the same award for his work in Adventure Time. Tommy Kenny has garnered two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program – both for his work in SpongeBob SquarePants.
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Written by Allen Lee
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