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From Jewel Box to Dream Girl: Oklahoma provided start for actress Tara Platt

by Matthew Price Published: August 10, 2009
Actress Tara Platt. (c) 2008 John Phillips.
Actress Tara Platt. (c) 2008 John Phillips.

Oklahoma-raised Tara Platt has voiced superheroes, starred in movies and written a book.

Platt is maybe best known as the voice of Temari on the anime hit “Naruto,” but she has also portrayed superheroes Dream Girl (on “Legion of Superheroes”) and Wonder Woman (on the “DC vs. Mortal Kombat” game). She’s also appeared on “Charmed” and “Gilmore Girls.” But it all got started in Oklahoma, where Platt lived from age 7 to 11.

Dream Girl from Legion of Superheroes.
Dream Girl from Legion of Superheroes.

“I remember we went to see ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ and there were a bunch of kids my age in the chorus,” Platt said. “They were dressed up in fun costumes and singing and seemed to be having a blast. After the show, I turned to my mom and said, ‘I wanna do that.’”

Platt’s mother told her that it takes lots of skill, time and energy to become an actress, but didn’t discourage her.

“She said that if I read the paper and came across an audition listing, that she would take me,” Platt said. “A few months later I saw an ad for the Jewel Box Theatre’s production of ‘Wait Until Dark’ with a role for a 9-year-old girl. I auditioned and got Gloria, and I haven’t looked back since!”

Wonder Woman from DC Vs. Mortal Kombat
Wonder Woman from DC Vs. Mortal Kombat

Platt lived in Oklahoma while her father attended the University of Oklahoma’s medical school. She said her overall memories of the state are wonderful.

“I ended up going to elementary school there at Wiley Post Elementary,” Platt said. “We did the Sooners’ Run where we pretended we were pioneers and got to run across the school yard and stake out land with our red wagons and toy guns.”

That imagination is still in play today.

“A definite draw to (voice-over acting) is the ability to not be constrained by looks or age or gender,” Platt said. “Anywhere your imagination can take you, you have the possibility of working as a voice actor.”

Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal (photo (c) Boris Kievsky, used with permission
Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal (photo (c) Boris Kievsky, used with permission

In the English dub of Naruto, Platt voices Temari, the eldest of the Sand Siblings, who bears an iron fan. Naruto is a Japanese show based on the manga of the same name. The show, about a young ninja who seeks to become the greatest ninja of all, has a large fan base in Japan and the United States.

“There are such strong characters, and really so many that there is a character for everyone,” Platt said. “They deal with real issues; it isn’t just a ‘kids show.’ There are major conflicts that Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke and the various other characters … are all dealing with that parallel many things we all must deal with: disappointment, rejection, family conflict, life and death, love, loss and many other important things. I think that is one of the reasons that Naruto is a fan favorite. That and the ninjas, of course!”

Platt’s sharing her knowledge of the voice-over world in an upcoming book. With husband Yuri Lowenthal, also a voice actor, Platt has written “Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic,” which comes out this fall and is available to pre-order at BugBotPress.com.

Voice-Over Voice Actor, from Bug Bot Press
Voice-Over Voice Actor, from Bug Bot Press

“There are tips, exercises and practice copy in addition to the nuts and bolts about the business,” Platt said.

In addition to frequent voice work, Platt takes on other roles in front of and behind the camera. Platt’s film production company with Lowenthal, Monkey Kingdom Productions, recently finished the psychological thriller “Tumbling After.” They’re also working on a documentary about the world of voice-over with director and documentarian Boris Kievsky.

Platt will be in front of the camera in some upcoming commercials and in a live-action sci-fi romantic comedy feature starting next month.

By Matthew Price
From Tuesday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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