Jim Cummings: The voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too

Giving a voice to the sweetest stuffed bear in the Hundred Acre Wood is an honor that only three men have had since Winnie the Pooh first became animated by Disney in the 1960s. Jim Cummings is the most recent to hold the title, and has voiced Pooh — and Tigger, too!?— since the ’80s. Metro caught up with the voice actor (who also does the Tasmanian Devil) to hear what he thinks of Pooh’s latest full-length film, in theaters now.

How did you replicate a voice developed by Sterling Holloway?

Whenever a character needs to be replaced, you have to remember that everyone is so used to the sound of the voice, the tenor, the quality. Job one right off the bat, make sure you sound like him, then remain true to the character. I always say that I am a torchbearer for the next generation.

What’s Winnie the Pooh’s dialect? Is he from the South?

I think maybe he had a little bit. I think that Sterling Holloway had a little bit. I heard people say that they heard a little bit of a British accent, too.

Are there any particular kinds of voices that are harder to do?

I probably joke that that I am Winnie the Pooh and the Anti Pooh. What I mean by Anti Pooh is the Tasmanian Devil, that’s me too. Taz is a bit tougher on the pipes, so I would always ask the producers, “Can we do Taz on Friday afternoon, that way I got the weekend to heal?”

Do you identify more with Pooh or with Tigger? Who do you feel most like?

I’ll go with Tigger, personality-wise, because I’m more outgoing, more bouncy. Pooh is very laid-back, but I love them both — they are so different.

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