Image via YouTube
Just who are the M&M's characters? Oh, yes, we know they melt in your mouth and not in your hands. That's something we discovered a long time ago. And we also know that they're pretty much everywhere. You'll see them in TV and movie theater commercials, on a wide variety of merchandise ranging from T-shirts to lunch boxes, and they’re stars at no less than five retail stores, four in America and one in London.
While the candy got its start in 1941, the M&M’s themselves were first brought to black and white life on television commercials in 1954. But back then it was only two of them, one plain and one peanut, and both more than happy to dive into a pool of chocolate, which gave them their candy coating. Over the years their numbers have grown and so have their personalities, as you can see from the two videos we’ve included.
After so many years of watching their mini-adventures, we began to wonder just who it was that was bringing their multi-colored personalities to life. After a little digging, we found the answer and couldn’t wait to share it.
Red (Jon Lovitz and Billy West)
He’s described as being “cynical and sardonic” (tough descriptions for a piece of candy, we’d say) and is considered the leader of the group, representing the milk chocolate, peanut butter and crispy M&M’s. Jon Lovitz voiced the character in commercials from 1995-96. Prior to that, he had spent 1985-90 as a member of Saturday Night Live. He’s appeared in a wide number of movies, among them Grown Ups 2, Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, The Ridiculous 6 and Mother’s Day. He’s also provided his voice in movies like Hotel Transylvania, Jungle Master, Birds Of Paradise and A Mouse Tale.
Succeeding Lovitz as the voice of Red in 1996, and continuing to this day, is voice artist Billy West. He’s voiced dozens of characters, but had his most sustained role in the series Futurama, for which he brought, among others, Philip J. Fry, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan to life.
Yellow (John Goodman and J.K. Simmons)
Happy and gullible, Yellow is the mascot for peanut and dark chocolate M&M’s. He was voiced by veteran actor John Goodman (no doubt best known as Dan Connor on the long-running sitcom Roseanne) from 1995-96. After that, and continuing onward to today, is character actor J.K. Simmons, star of those Farmer Insurance commercials, and who played J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films and will be Commissioner James Gordon in this November’s Justice League.
Blue (Phil Hartman and Rob Pruitt)
Considered the cool one, Blue represents Almond, Rasberry and Dark Chocolate M&M’s. He was voiced from 1995-98 by Phil Hartman, a member of Saturday Night Live and featured in such films as Sgt. Bilko, Jingle All The Way and Small Soldiers. Sadly, it all came to an end when he was shot to death by his wife in 1998.
Rob Pruitt was hired to replace him in 1998 and has never stopped bringing Blue to life. Additionally, he voices Joshua Gray on Archer, Santa Claus on the TV special Yes, Virginia, and Chip The Wolf on Cookie Crisp commercials. Live action appearances have included the TV series Onion SportsDome and Damages.
Green (Cree Summer)
Wikipedia refers to Green as being “seductive” (which just sounds so wrong). Representing dark chocolate, dark chocolate mint and peanut butter, she’s voiced by Cree Summer. From 1985-95 she appeared on a variety of TV series (most notably the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World), but has actually been doing voice work since 1983. She is perhaps most famously known as the voice of Elmyra Duff on Tiny Toon Adventures, Susie Carmichael on Rugrats, Princess Kitana on Mortal Kombat: Defenders Of The Realm, She-Hulk on The Incredible Hulk, Foxxy Love on Drawn Together, the mutant Storm on The Super Hero Squad Show, and Nebula on Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Orange/Crispy (Eric Kirchberger)
This one represents crispy and pretzel M&M’s, and he’s considered the neurotic one of the group. Bring him to chocolaty life is comedian, actor and screenwriter Eric Kirchberger. Besides doing stand up comedy around the world (and being featured on Comedy Central and HBO Comedy, among others), he has appeared in films like Lucky and Wild Girls Gone.
Brown/Mrs. Brown (Vanessa Williams)
Mrs. Brown, the Chief Chocolate Officer, was introduced as a representative of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. She’s voiced by Vanessa Williams, a powerful force as an actress, singer and fashion designer. She was also the first African-American Miss America, though she lost that title due to a scandal involving nude photos she had posed for that Penthouse got a hold of and published. Needless to say, she rebounded nicely.
Tan/Caramel (David Cross)
He’s the newest member of the gang, and taken in despite the fact that he’s square in appearance. Providing his voice is David Cross, known as Tobias Funke in the television series Arrested Development and providing the voice for Crane in the Kung Fu Panda films. He’s made his biggest pop culture mark as a stand up comedian, and was a part of HBO’s Mr. Show.
Pretzel (Maurice LaMarche)
Pretzel-shaped, he’s there more to offer support to M&M’s who don’t like the idea of their bodies having a pretzel inserted in them. Canadian-born Maurice LaMarche provides his voice, and although he has an incredible number of voice roles credited to him, he is undoubtedly most recognized (if that’s the right term) for voicing the role of The Brain on Animaniacs and the spin-off Pinky And The Brain.