Essay

The Cast of the Lion King: And Where They Are Now

An Oscar-winning Disney film Against the backdrop of the Pride Lands of Africa, The Lion King (1994) crafted a fanciful musical narrative about family, duty, and staying true to yourself. Combining elements from Hamlet and other biblical stories, The Lion King is still a beloved classic that is enjoyed by both adults and kids. It continues to rank among the best-selling home video films of all time and among the highest-grossing conventionally animated movies even in 2023.

The Lion King’s ensemble has won as many accolades as the film has. In Hollywood, almost all voice actors have become or were sensations. Find out the current whereabouts of the whole cast of The Lion King.

Matthew Broderick

Broderick had already “hit the big time” with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in 1986, when he began work on The Lion King. Following the release of the Disney film, Broderick starred in a number of outstanding motion pictures, musicals, and TV series.

Broderick is still acting at age 61. He portrayed Laird Becker, the father, in the recent film No Hard Feelings, and he will narrate the next film, The Gettysburg Address. He portrayed himself in a two-episode run of Only Murders in the Building and Richard Sackler in Painter.

Two Tony awards belong to Broderick. He played Sam Nash, Jesse Kiplinger, and Roy Hubley simultaneously in Plaza Suite at the Hudson Theater in New York in 2022, which was his final Broadway production. He performed as Babbitt in Sinclair Lewis’s play at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2023.

Together, Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, his spouse since 1997, are parents to three children.

Jeremy Irons: Scar

Jeremy Irons, who is remarkably gifted and multifaceted, portrayed Scar, Simba’s cunning uncle who killed both his brother and Simba’s father. Jeremy Irons, who was already well-known as an actor by 1994, carried on with his remarkable career following the film.

In the recently established DC Cinematic Universe, Irons has assumed the role of Alfred Pennyworth. Among other earlier films, he portrayed the part in The Flash (2023), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), and Justice League (2017). Irons also starred as Scar in Once Upon a Studio and as Francesco in The Cello in 2023. And last, in 2024, he will be in the film The Beekeeper.
Despite winning a Tony, Irons hasn’t performed on Broadway since 2017. He played the narrator of The Pentaverate in his final television appearance in 2022. However, he will next be seen in The Count of Monte Cristo as Abbé Faria.

James Earl Jones: Mufasa

James Earl Jones, who is most recognized for playing Darth Vader in the Star Wars film series, as Mufasa, Simba’s strong, devoted, and unfortunate father.

Jones, who will be 92 in 2023, has drastically cut back on his acting gigs. Even yet, he continues to be associated with the Star Wars property, having voiced Darth Vader as recently as 2022. Jones returned to the role of Mufasa in Disney’s live-action Lion King in 2019.

The Brethren community in Manistee County, Michigan awarded Jones (as well as his mentor Donald Crouch) a bronze sculpture in October 2023 in recognition of their artistic talents and the value of mentoring.

Whoopi Goldberg: Shenzi

Shenzi (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) was the head of Scar’s three hyena underlings. She was a crafty, sly alpha female who hardly ever lost her cool.

Before giving the hyena a voice in 1994, Whoopi Goldberg had a spectacular acting career. She previously portrayed Oda Mae Brown in Ghost, Celie Johnson in The Color Purple, and Deloris in Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

In 2023, Goldberg is still working in the entertainment sector. She has appeared in multiple TV episodes, films, and podcasts. She will also be back for The View’s 27th season, moderating the desk.

Rowan Atkinson: Zazu

The name Rowan Atkinson connotes memorable characters. Among his favorite roles are those of Mr. Bean, Zazu, Johnny English, and Edmund Blackadder.

Since the Disney film from 1994, Atkinson has worked on other projects. In Wonka, he most recently portrayed Father Julius. In pre-production, he is also playing his notorious character, Mr. Bean, in the film Old Bean.

Jim Cummings: Ed

Jim Cummings, like James Earl Jones, has a distinctive voice that people remember. He’s voiced it in other Disney films; in fact, Ed, one of the hyenas, doesn’t make his breakthrough performance in this film. His roles as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Ray (from The Princess and the Frog), Razoul and Farouk in Aladdin, and others have earned him far greater recognition.

He is a regular collaborator with Disney, having contributed his voice to eight separate projects in 2023 alone. Cummings meets fans of his numerous roles at comic gatherings across the country.

Robert Guillaume: Rafiki

In The Lion King, Robert Guillaume portrayed the wise mandrill Rafiki, who advised Mufasa. Prior to the film, he had a distinguished career acting in live-action movies and television series in addition to providing voices for characters.

Guillaume carried on performing in films, TV shows, and Rafiki voice roles after The Lion King. He began doing voice acting for video games when the 2000s arrived. Sadly, he passed away in 2017 as a result of complications related to prostate cancer. His age was eighty-nine.

Moira Kelly: Nala

Moira Kelly, a TV and film star, provided the mature voice of Nala, Simba’s romantic interest. With the exception of her part as Karen in One Tree Hill, she secured the film within the first few years of her acting career. Kelly also portrayed Kate Moseley in the lead role of The Cutting Edge (1992).

She has recently slowed down her efforts. Kelly returned to her role as Nala in the Disney Dreamlight Valley video game released in 2022. She portrayed Joe in five episodes of the TV show Citadel in 2023.

Nathan Lane: Timon

From the tense Timon to the stylish and sarcastic Pepper on Modern Family, Nathan Lane has brought his enthusiasm to every role he has taken on in his career.

Since 1994, Lane has acted regularly. Most recently, she starred as Ward McAllister in The Gilded Age and as Harris in Dicks: The Musical. Lane also hosted a two-night performance of the musical The Frogs in November.

Cheech Marin: Banzai

Actor and comedian Cheech Marin, who is well-known for his stoner comedy and campaigning for Chicano culture, rounds out the hyena three.

Marin has acted for many years. Marin began booking consistently entertaining roles almost two decades prior to The Lion King. Some of the roles she has booked include Cheech and Chong, Cars, Spy Kids, and many more.

Marin most recently acted in two live-action films and three TV shows from 2023. Additionally, he has contributed to the global advancement of Latin and Chicano art and culture. Thanks to his efforts, a permanent display recently opened in September 2023.

Ernie Sabella: Pumbaa

Sabella’s career was mostly shaped by his role as Pumbaa, despite having numerous other acting credits. His most recent roles over the past five years have been as Pumbaa’s voice in The Lion Guard (2016–2019) and Timon and Pumbaa at the Movies (2019).

A few episodes of popular television programs including The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, and That’s So Raven are among the other acting credentials.

Madge Sinclair: Sarabi

In the television series Coming to America (1988), Ernestine Shoop, R.N. (Trapper John, M.D., 1980–1986), and Empress Josephine (Gabriel’s Fire (1990–1991), Sinclair rose to prominence.

Regretfully, Madge Sinclair’s performance as Simba’s mother Sarabi turned out to be one of her final. She appeared in a few television show episodes in 1995 before she passed away on December 20, 1995, at the age of 57.