Our last women’s history month post is also in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility on the voice actress Maddie Blaustein. Maddie was a major voice actor and creator in various industries, and if you grew up with anime, you’ve probably heard her voice at one time or another. Maddie was a transgender woman who worked for several companies.
Maddie was born in October 1960 in Long Island, New York. She was the second-oldest of five siblings, and was Jewish. She was born intersex and began transitioning later on in her life. She was a fairly well-known activist for transgender rights within the community. She has been credited with other names in work, including Madeline Blaustein and Kendra Bancroft.
Maddie was perhaps most well known for her work as a voiceover actress, primarily in anime. She worked for family dubbing company 4kids, which was a New York-based company that dubbed anime for saturday morning cartoons. Perhaps her most famous role was that of the talking pokemon Meowth in the famous franchise, a role she carried for several seasons. She also portrayed Pokemon characters Lt. Surge and Bill, along with many minor characters. Other famous roles that she took on include that of Solomon Mutou (Yugi’s grandfather) in the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! and Chef Kawasaki in the english dub of the anime Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
She voiced a large number of characters in her lifetime, one of her most recent roles being that of Satorious in Yugioh GX. She was arguably one of 4kids’ more famous voice actors, having at least one role in almost all of their properties. Some of the other 4Kids dubs she had a role in include Ultimate Muscle, One Piece, and Cubix. She acted in other things as well, including the characters Li Zhuzhen and Colonel Hyuga in the game Shadow Hearts. She also portrayed characters in Samurai Deeper Kyo and Slayers Try.In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, she played the robot Omega in several games as well as the president in Shadow the Hedgehog.
Maddie did often work outside of animation. She wrote and did art for several comics, including Static, Power Pachyderms, and Hardware. She was an active content developer for the game Second Life under the name Kendra Bancroft, and gained a good reputation for her skills as a 3D modeler. She was also the creative director for the Weekly World News for a time. Her brother Jeremy Blaustein is a translator and video game localizer.
Maddie passed away in late 2008 from an untreated stomach virus. Memorials poured in from fans who grew up with her work all over the internet.
Her work in anime, comics, and voice acting is not forgotten and lives on with the people who grew up listening to her work. Her impact on the anime industry in the west has been felt by many, and her dedication to excellence as an artist and a person is not forgotten.