Sunday, January 27, 2019

E.G. Daily Reflects on 'Rugrats', 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure' and 'Power Puff Girls'

We all know the voice of Tommy Pickles from Rugrats, one of the most iconic characters in Nickelodeon history, and E.G. Daily, the voice actor behind the adventurous baby. But did you know that Tommy very nearly had a totally different voice?

EG Daily, right, the voice of "Rugrats" character Tommy Pickles, poses with a "Rugrat" at a ceremony honoring the popular animated children's show "Rugrats" with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame June 28, 2001 in Hollywood, CA. — Getty

Daily is recognized by many as “the voice" of their childhood for her work in voicing numerous beloved cartoons, including Pickles, Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls, Baby Mumbles in Happy Feet, Steve in Curious George, and Babe in Babe: Pig in the City, just to name a few.

Daily starred in Rugrats (including its three theatrical movies) from 1991 until 2006, and also continued to voice Tommy in the spin-off series All Grown Up! (2003-2008). However, the gig of a lifetime turned out to be a happy accident, she recently recalled to Fox News. It all started when a pal suggested she auditioned for voice-over work and she gawked at the idea because she thought of herself first and foremost an actress. Still, she gave it a shot, and history was made!

“They showed me a little Claymation character, a little boy, and I remember thinking… I didn’t know what I was doing or how to do it,” she said. “I was an actress, singer. But I went ahead and just did a voice that I felt matched the little Claymation… and suddenly Tommy Pickles came out. I left the audition and about a couple of hours later I found out that I had booked the role of Tommy Pickles, which was my first voiceover audition of my career.”

"Rugrats" — Nickelodeon

But Daily said the voice of Pickles had long existed even before Rugrats. In fact, Daily learned she could do voices when she was a child.

“I think I realized I could do voices before I realized I could do voices,” she explained. “When I was a little girl I used to walk around the playground with my best friend holding pinkies, and we would do little voices, little kids voices. We were little already but we would just kind of make [our voices] smaller. And I think it was just something that I could naturally do since I was probably 8 or 9 years old. And I also noticed that I was able to mimic and imitate voices, so it’s kind of a hobby of mine.”

“I think it just started really young and then I didn’t know then that it was going to be something that was going to change my life and become a part of my career,” added Daily. “A monumental part of my career.”

Daily can still recall when she went into labor while filming an episode of Rugrats.

“I didn’t really know [that I was in labor],” the 57-year-old told Fox News. “My doctor said I was fine. But … I would do a line, like ‘A baby’s gotta do what a baby’ — hold, please. And I’d be like ‘Ugh!’ And the [engineers and directors] would say ‘Oh my God EG you’re having contractions every three minutes.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but the doctor said I’m fine.’ And that night I actually went into labor with one of my daughters, so it’s true. I went into labor doing Rugrats."

Daily is the proud mother of Hunter, 22, and Tyson, 20, with ex-husband Rick Salomon.

Daily first pursued show business when she was just 8 years old with the help of commercials. By age 15, she earned her big break on television with a guest role on Laverne & Shirley in 1979. In 1985, she won the role of Dottie in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure — and a lifelong friend.

“Paul Reubens? Pee-wee? He’s my main man,” said Daily. “… He’s just an incredible writer. People don’t realize that he’s a genius as a writer. … He’s a really kind and thoughtful person. If anyone’s friends with Paul Reubens, also known as Pee-wee, the Pee-wee to my Dottie, he remembers everybody’s birthday. And every birthday he’ll send me texts throughout the day. Just really sweet little funny, vintage looking texts.”

And while Daily was initially hesitant in trying out voice-over parts, she quickly became in-demand. In addition to voicing many Nickelodeon characters, she also voiced a popular character in The Powerpuff Girls, a Cartoon Network series that premiered in 1998, is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“I think I was a little feisty, so Buttercup came out a little feisty,” said Daily on creating her character’s voice. “Then there was Bubbles. Tara [Strong] does Bubbles and she’s super sweet. And Blossom is a little more practical. So I think it just sort of naturally happened by the tone of my voice. And I sort of have a little rasp to my voice. So Buttercup talks like that.”

But these days Daily is going back to her musical roots. She recently released a music video for her new song called “So Pretty.” She described the track as “a movement” to encourage girls, no matter their age, to embrace their so-called imperfections and become more accepting of who they are.

“It’s more than just a song,” she stressed. “It really is about a movement. And the movement is about beauty and beauty from the inside. … People are changing their faces so much that it’s almost like, what are you hiding that’s deep down inside, that’s making you feel insecure, that you want to change yourself so much on the outside? I think it’s a really important time right now, especially with the culture of selfies and filters, and looking so perfect… I think it’s important to love yourself from the inside out.”

Daily is hoping “So Pretty” will continue to inspire listeners.

“I just really wanted people… to appreciate their inside and work on that part of ourselves for this culture, this time period in our lives,” she said. “That sort of feels like the message that came to me when I wrote the song. It was like, ‘OK, this is what I need to do now. So I never know what’s going to be next or what I’m going to tackle next.”

In 2018, Nickelodeon announced Rugrats was being revived with a new 26-episode season and a live-action movie featuring CGI. However, it's currently unknown whether the original cast will be returning to reprise their respective roles.

Also, from FOX411:

Voice of Tommy Pickles, 'Smelly Cat singer E.G. Daily: My voiceover career was 'a fluke'

E.G. Daily reflects on 'Rugrats', 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure'

In the Zone: Versatile actress and singer E.G. Daily shares famous voices from her voice-over career, stories from 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure' and gives a surprise performance of 'Smelly Cat' from 'Friends'

E.G. Daily is a Hollywood veteran. From her breakout role as “Dotty” 30 years ago in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” to her voice work in cartoons like “Rug Rats” and “Power Puff Girls” she has seen success on and off the screen.

FOX411: How did you get your start in voiceover work?
E.G. Daily: I started doing voiceover on a fluke. I did a play where I had to do different age ranges for the character and someone handed me their card and said, “You should do voices.” I said, “OK! Here we go.” And the very first audition I went out for was a little boy character and I had been doing this voice since I was a little girl and I thought the voice I did since I was a little girl might fit this character, and what happened was ‘Tommy Pickles’ was born that day based on a voice I did my whole life which was really cool.

FOX411: What is the process like to create a character’s voice?
Daily: I usually look at an image or claymation. Usually what I do is the first voice that comes out of my mouth and I base it on my character’s lips, tongue, and cheeks and eyes; the eyes might be furrowed. So I go with my first instinct based on the image and usually that’s the right one.

FOX411: You have kids. Have they seen “Pee Wee Big Adventure?”
Daily: Yes, they have seen it. They have seen it many different times when they were babies and then teens and now they’re a bit closer to bigger teens but they grew up with all the voices and all the characters. It’s sort of like no big deal to them. To their friends I was like the cool ‘Tommy Pickles’ mom. All of their friends would come to our house so it was pretty fun.

FOX411: Can you recall a favorite memory from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” movie set?
Daily: It’s a scene where he’s having a big conference about him having to find his bike and this whole lecture, and we were all sitting there for hours. At times they would blow this big blower thing at us. I remember when I showed up on the set and the kitchen. I remember how he (Pee Wee) prepared his cereal and it went through these little tubes and coils. I remember thinking I want one of those in my kitchen. It brought out the kid in us.

FOX411: In addition to your voice work, you’re a singer. You appeared on “The Voice,” have had hit singles. What’s next for your music career?
Daily: I have new music all of the time. I have music on iTunes. I have a music conference on Amazon. I am going to be headlining the Whiskey a Go -Go on the Sunset Strip in LA just for iconic sake and fun. If people are interested they should get tickets now because it will be sold out. I just keep writing. I’m doing a whole new album now with Michael Jay. I had this song from the “Summer School” soundtrack “Mind Over Matter,” which was a big dance hit in the ‘80s.

FOX411: Mark Harmon from “NCIS” who starred in “Summer School” was featured in your video. Did you get to meet Mark? Do you still keep in touch?
Daily: He’s super fun. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him but we crossed paths. I see him around. I haven’t seen him so much lately but yes it’s a pretty small town here in this Hollyweird town.

FOX411: When you’re performing do you perform the ‘Friends’ hit “Smelly Cat?”
Daily: We are going to do a small teaser of it at my show. So, yes we’ll do some funny stuff. It’s going to be a really funny show.

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More Nick: Nickelodeon and Paramount to Bring 'Rugrats' Back for the Next Generation of Kids with an All-New TV Series and Feature Film!

Additional source: IMDb.
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