James Jonah Cummings
November 3, 1952
Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
(m. 2001; div. 2011)
James Jonah Cummings (born November 3, 1952) is an American voice actor who has appeared in almost 400 roles, including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, the Tasmanian Devil, Pete, and Darkwing Duck.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Cummings relocated to New Orleans, where he designed and painted Mardi Gras floats, worked as a river boat deck hand and sang and played drums in the regionally-successful rock band Fusion. He attended Immaculate Conception and St. Columba grade schools as well as Ursuline High School and graduated from there in 1970.
He later married and moved to Anaheim, California, where he managed a video store in the early 1980s, before launching his voice-acting career in late 1984.
Cummings's first voice role was as Lionel the Lion and Aunt Fira in Dumbo's Circus. Some of Cummings' earliest vocal work was at Disney, where he replaced Sterling Holloway as the voice of Winnie the Pooh in 1988. He was the understudy for Paul Winchell as Tigger, before fully replacing him as the character in 2000's The Tigger Movie. In 1991, he was hired by Warner Bros. Animation to voice Taz on the animated series Taz-Mania and would continue to voice the character in various Looney Tunes media.
When actor Jeremy Irons, the voice of Scar in The Lion King, developed vocal problems during recording of the song "Be Prepared", Cummings replaced him on the remainder of the track along with providing the voice for Ed the hyena. He also provided Scar's voice in a brief nightmare sequence in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Cummings would later be hired as the singing double for Russell Means in Pocahontas, the speaking voice of Kekata in Pocahontas and the singing voice of Grigori Rasputin in Anastasia.
In commercials, he voiced Smokey the Bear in several commercials, ads and promos from 1993 to 2006. Also in 2006 through 2008 he was the announcer for the short-lived court show Judge Maria Lopez, which was produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
In 2018, he became the first voice performer of animation to reprise his role(s) for a live-action Disney film, reprising the roles of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger for the film Christopher Robin. His performance as Pooh was particularly praised by Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair, who felt it was "Oscar-worthy" and said that "[a]s Winnie the Pooh … the veteran voice actor gives such sweet, rumpled, affable life to the wistful bear of literary renown that it routinely breaks the heart."
Cummings has two daughters with Stephanie Cummings, as well as two older daughters from a previous marriage. Cummings and Stephanie divorced in 2011, after ten years of marriage.
In 2019, during a battle over child custody and care payment, Stephanie Cummings stated that during their marriage, her former spouse had "engaged in physical, sexual and emotional abuse including but not limited to death threats, rape, and various sexual deviant behavior forced upon me without my consent". She also said that Cummings had raped her in 2013 and mistreated the family dog. She claimed that as a result, she had moved to Utah and filed a restraining order against him three times.
Cummings in turn denied all of these statements, and accused his ex-wife of extortion. He said that Stephanie was an abuser of drugs, had purposefully exaggerated her stories in an attempt to ruin his reputation, and had threatened multiple times to damage his relationship with the Walt Disney Company and end his career if he did not follow demands she gave. He stated Stephanie had also missed many months of assigned and required visitations with the daughters. In addition, he also said that the authorities themselves had stopped responding to her calls of abuse after she kept calling them multiple times, with them citing it as "a waste of police resources." Authorities, including child protection services in three states, investigated the couple's claims.
Cummings soon won the case, gaining primary physical custody of the girls, but it was also decided both parents would continue to share joint legal custody. Both exes were also admonished by the judge for "bad parenting" by not having put their children ahead of their personal feud, and that there was varying amounts of abuse from both parties. They were then awarded mutual restraining orders in which they had to stay 100 yards away from each other, excluding visitation purposes. The orders will remain in effect until May 9, 2022. In June 2019, Cummings stated in an open letter to fans that he and his legal team had contacted the FBI in helping to dispel the allegations.
Main article: Jim Cummings filmography
|1992||Annie Awards||Best Voice Acting for Television||Darkwing Duck||Won|||
|1995||Bump in the Night||Nominated|
|2003||Best Voice Acting in a Feature Production||The Jungle Book 2||Nominated|
|2011||Gnomeo & Juliet||Nominated|
|2012||Annie Awards||Best Voice Acting in a Feature Production||Zambezia||Nominated|
|2009||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||My Friends Tigger & Pooh||Nominated|
|2013||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||Nominated|