The Frame

Movies, music, TV, arts and entertainment, straight from Southern California. Hosted by John Horn

When David Bowie did a voice for 'SpongeBob SquarePants'

by Darby Maloney | The Frame

117055 full
Image from "SpongeBob SquarePants" episode "Atlantis" with characters (L-R) Lord Royal Highness (voiced by David Bowie), Patrick and SpongeBob. Nickelodeon

As the world comes to grips with the fact that David Bowie has died, one person who had the chance to work with Bowie in a gig that could be surprising even for Bowie shared his memories of their work together.

Paul Tibbitt, a producer and director on the Nickelodeon animated kids show "SpongeBob SquarePants" (as well as the movies) had the idea to cast David Bowie in an episode years ago. The role: The King of Atlantis, otherwise known as Lord Royal Highness.

"We wanted a sort of Willy Wonka kind of a character and we thought he would be perfect for the role," said Tibbitt, who — like many — counts Bowie as a childhood hero.

When Bowie agreed to the part, he revealed that he and his daughter were fans of SpongeBob and watched the show together.

Tibbitt recorded the voice session with Bowie in Philip Glass's New York studio where the musician — referred to by his team as "D.B." — showed up with a few voice options to choose from. Tibbitt said that, after the recording, he saw that Bowie had announced on his website that he had "landed the Holy Grail of animation jobs."

Reflecting on Bowie's body of work, Tibbitt says, "I think definitely his theatrical presence was the stuff of animation." Tibbitt listened to his music from an early age and credits Bowie for introducing him many great musicians and artists, as well as inspiring him.

"I think he probably had something to do with me feeling like, 'I can become an animator, I can become an artist and make a living,'" Tibbitt says.

Nickelodeon confirms that Bowie contributed a song to the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants stage musical, but says that no more details are to be revealed. 

Hear more remembrances of David Bowie on our tribute show.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy The Frame? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC