Christine Cavanaugh dies at 51; actress gave voice to ‘Babe,’ others

Christine Cavanaugh at the 1996 Oscars ceremony.
(Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)

Christine Cavanaugh, an actress best known for providing the voice for the title pig in the 1995 film “Babe,” has died. She was 51.

Cavanaugh died Dec. 22 at her home in Cedar City, Utah, her family confirmed. No details regarding the cause of death were disclosed.

Besides Babe, Cavanaugh’s voice-over credits include skittish toddler Chuckie Finster of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats,” the youthful mad scientist Dexter in “Dexter’s Laboratory” on the Cartoon Network and Gosalyn Waddlemeyer-Mallard in Disney’s “Darkwing Duck.”

She often was hired for her ability to sound like a little boy.


“There’s a freedom to voice-over acting,” Cavanaugh told the Toronto Star newspaper in 2000. “I can do things I could never do on camera. I can be elderly or I can be a baby ... or animals. It’s wonderful.”

After inhabiting the character of Babe off-screen for the Oscar-nominated film, Cavanaugh showed up on the red carpet at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1996 carrying a pink bejeweled Judith Leiber handbag in the shape of a pig.

Another voice actress, E.G. Daily, was hired for the 1998 sequel, “Babe: Pig in the City,” after contract negotiations stalled.

Both were part of the small circle of actors and actresses doing TV and film voice-over work in Hollywood, and both worked on “Rugrats.” The cast recorded their parts together in the studio.

“The voices came out of interacting, acting like babies,” Cavanaugh said in a 2000 interview with the Vancouver Province. “It’s just like goofing off.”

Among her wide-ranging voice-over credits were Marty Sherman on Jon Lovitz’s animated series “The Critic,” Oblina in “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” and Bunnie Rabbot on “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

“I’m whatever age I need to be for whoever is hiring me,” Cavanaugh explained to the Washington Post in 1996.

Born Aug. 16, 1963, in Utah, Cavanaugh attended Utah State University and the University of Hawaii before moving to California. She acted in local theater and had small television roles in the late 1980s before finding her niche doing voice-over work. She also appeared on screen in “Cheers,” “The X-Files” and other TV series and in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire.”

Cavanaugh, who was divorced from her husband Kevin, moved back to Utah in 2001 and retired from voice acting.