The voices of Hey Arnold! were key to the success of Nickelodeon’s much-loved animated series, so let’s take a look back at the talented actors who brought the show's characters to life. Created by animator Craig Bartlett, Hey Arnold! aired on Nickelodeon for five seasons and 100 episodes between 1996 and 2004. The series focused on the titular Arnold – a fourth-grader living with his grandparents in an inner-city boarding house – and followed the adventures of him and his friends.
Before Nickelodeon cancelled Hey Arnold! the show received a feature-length film in 2002 aptly titled Hey Arnold!: The Movie. It wasn’t a success but after a lengthy absence, Arnold and his pals returned to Nickelodeon in 2017 with TV movie Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie, which proved much more popular. The film wrapped up a cliffhanger dangled in the show’s fifth season regarding the mystery of Arnold’s missing parents and scored its co-director Stu Livingston a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.
After the success of the TV movie, there were rumors a series reboot was being shopped to streaming giant Netflix. Whether the animation will get a revival remains to be seen but in the meantime here’s the talented cast that provided the voices of Hey Arnold! in the original series.
Lane Toran/Spencer Klein/Phillip Van Dyke/Alex D. Linz – Arnold
Arnold is a kind-hearted, optimistic fourth-grader who lives with his paternal grandparents in the rundown, inner-city boarding house they own. He has a distinctive football-shaped head which earned him the funny if unimaginative nickname of Football Head from his classmate and frenemy Helga. Arnold was voiced by many actors over the show’s five seasons but Lane Toran voiced him for the most episodes.
Jamil Walker Smith – Gerald Johanssen
Gerald is Arnold’s street-smart best friend. The pair have been pals since preschool with Gerald often acting as the voice of reason in contrast to Arnold’s idealism. Jamil Walker Smith – who played Master Sergeant Ronald Greer on Stargate Universe – provided Gerald’s voice.
Francesca Marie Smith – Helga Pataki
Arnold’s classmate Helga is outwardly mean and bullies him often but is secretly in love with him and builds shrines dedicated to him. Helga is voiced by Francesca Marie Smith who has also voiced characters on shows including Recess and VeggieTales.
Dan Castellaneta – Grandpa Phil
The voice behind Arnold’s grandpa is none other than Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson. Grandpa Phil is a fun-loving octogenarian who often dispenses well-intentioned but not very helpful advice to his grandson.
Tress MacNeille – Grandma Gertie