Born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1913, voice actor William H. Thompson grew up with Vaudevillian parents so show business was always around the corner in his life, but his own career started in Chicago radio, where one of his earliest roles was as a regular on the morning variety show The Breakfast Club hosted by Don McNeil. On this show, Thompson originated the meek, mush-mouthed character that would be dubbed Mr. Wimple and was the voice Thompson would be most well known for later in his career.
Thompson’s biggest breakthrough role came after joining the radio comedy Fibber McGee and Molly in the late 1930s and bringing the Mr. Wimple voice to that show in 1941, primarily for his character Wallace Wimple (“Hello folks”) the timid birdwatcher who lived in fear of his wife “Sweetie Face,” although he voiced various characters on that show, including the recurring Old Timer (“That ain’t the way I heerd it!”) as a popular example.
Film director and animator Tex Avery was inspired by Wimple when creating his enduring popular cartoon character Droopy, and Avery hired Bill Thompson to voice the bassett hound in his 1943 film debut Dumb-Hounded, with Thompson reprising the role in every Droopy cartoon all the way until 1958.
After World War II, Thompson’s voice acting career in animation picked up steam, especially in the fifties when in addition to working for Tex Avery at MGM, Thompson would voice various Disney characters, including both the White Rabbit and Dodo in Alice in Wonderland (1951), Mr. Smee in Peter Pan (1953) and many characters from Lady and the Tramp (1955) including Jock the Scottish terrier, Tony’s assistant chef Joe and two pound dogs: the cockney Bull and the German Dachsie.
Thompson also voiced King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty (1959), Uncle Waldo in The Aristocats (1970) and had recurring roles in Disney shorts as Ranger J. Audobon Woodlore in a few Donald Duck and Humphrey the Bear films, and as Professor Owl in Melody (1953) and Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953). Plus some Hanna-Barbera fans will recognize him on television as the voice of the miniscule but heroic Touché Turtle (“Touché away!”) opposite Alan Reed’s Dum Dum, Touché’s canine sidekick, as part of the anthology show The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series which ran in syndication from 1962 to 1963 (and incidentally also introduced the world to Wally Gator and the duo of Lippy the Lion and his hyena sidekick Hardy Har Har).
Bill Thompson lived until 1971 when he died at the age of 58.