50 Years Strong!: A Reflection on Tara Strong’s Career


Tara Strong turned 50 on Feb. 12, 2023.

Emma Christiansen, Media Critic

If you don’t know her name, you most certainly know her voice. It is time to celebrate the wonderful Tara Strong as she just turned 50 this year on February 12th. We’re here to explore her massive career as one of the most talented and well-known voice actresses in the entertainment industry. In over 30 years, she has voiced over 140 roles, many of which are cartoons—and she’s nowhere close to retiring. With that being said, I won’t be going over every single role, according to her Wikipedia or IMDb pages. For lack of a better term, it’ll just take way too long. So, I’ll be covering a lot of her most famous roles throughout her career and how much of an impact she left in at least three generations of childhoods—including mine.

Before she voiced any animated roles, she played her first professional role in Limelight Theater’s production of The Music Man, at the age of 13. In the same year, she voiced her very first cartoon role as the titular character, Hello Kitty, in Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater; since then, she continued acting in both animated and live-action films and shows. After she moved to Los Angeles in January 1994, her career slowly began to take off—as any career does in the entertainment industry. This led to her voicing her first well-known role as Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, in the superhero animated series The New Batman Adventures in 1997 alongside—Matthew Valencia as Tim Drake/Robin, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and the late Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman. This was her first role in the DC Comics Universe (in animation) before she progressed to a handful of female characters in dozens of adaptations, such as Raven in Teen Titans (and later Teen Titans Go!) and Harley Quinn in multiple cartoons and video games, including the Batman: Arkham series. 

In the new century, Strong’s career expanded in dozens of cartoons in different childrens’ programming networks. For Cartoon Network, she voiced Bubbles—best known as the “softest and sweetest” of the trio—in the superhero cartoon The Powerpuff Girls, alongside Cathy Cavadini and E. G. Daily. For Nickelodeon, she voiced protagonist Timmy Turner (and other characters, such as Poof) in The Fairly OddParents. It is currently the network’s second longest-running animated show from 2001 to 2018, behind SpongeBob SquarePants. The show itself gained such popularity that it spawned countless specials, multiple live-action films (including a reboot just last year), a video game titled The Fairly OddParents: Breakin’ Da Rules, and a crossover trilogy called Jimmy Timmy Power Hour with the CGI-animated series Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Both her roles as Bubbles and Timmy Turner led to multiple nominations at the annual Annie Awards. In video games, one of her honorable roles was Rikku in the Final Fantasy franchise—one of which earned an Interactive Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance. 

The 2010s is no different. As she continues with her performances as Timmy Turner and the three DC female characters, she hit new territory as Twilight Sparkle, a socially naïve yet studious unicorn, in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Giving Hasbro new merchandising opportunities due to its commercial success, the show spawned a spin-off franchise, a feature-length film adaptation in 2017, and then another spin-off comedy series three years later. Though it aimed for a younger female demographic, it surprisingly attracted a large following of adult men who call themselves “bronies.” In 2012, there was a documentary film titled Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, that centers around this subculture, including the number of conventions dedicated to it. The project raised much more than anticipated leading to Lauren Faust, the show’s original creator, and Strong stepped in as executive producers. 

As of now, we’re only three years into the new decade, and already she has made dozens of appearances in new or ongoing cartoons, animated movies, and video games. The My Little Pony franchise continues to thrive with their new series My Little Pony: Make Your Mark, with Twilight Sparkle being a supporting role, as this particular show has a new lineup of characters. The Teen Titans Go! franchise released their third and fourth films on Cartoon Network, with Strong reprising her role as Raven, along with her fellow cast members from the show and the previous one two decades earlier. Her role as Harley Quinn reappears once again in video games, such as last year’s MultiVersus and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which will be released this May. Last, but not least, she is officially part of the massive cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Miss Minutes, the animated mascot for the Time Variance Authority (TVA) in the Disney+ series Loki. She will reprise her role in its second season this year. 

Of course, all of this was just a fraction of the number of characters she played throughout her entire career. However, they are undoubtedly some of her most prominent performances; the ones that fans would instantly recognize just from hearing her voice. To put it simply, a lot of us grew up with her. Though she’s not the only voice actress that made an impact on our childhoods (especially in cartoons), we will always remember her for her expansive variety of characters, big or small, and the pleasant memories we had watching them on the small screens in our living rooms. At this rate, with her everlasting work ethic, she may do the same for our children—whether it’d be with old or new characters. 

Tara Strong, happy 50th birthday. Thank you from all our hearts for bringing sparkling joy through entertainment. We will always remember what you accomplished in the past and look forward to what you bring in the future.