Nothing quite says “will do any work available” like playing “Buzz Lighttouch” in “Sex Toy Story,” a 1998 animated porn wherein sex toys argue about who’s their owner’s favourite. Also, that title wrote itself and is a tribute to the great, apparently not-fully-lost, art of the porn parody title. Anyway. From what I’ve read, after leaving MadTV, he was taking whatever work he could get, and that sounds like a “whatever work he could get” moment to me. He’s also one of the people on the subway train in Spider-Man 2 and can be seen standing right behind Peter as he is stopping the train.
It may well sum up his career to say that his first two movies are It’s Pat and Pulp Fiction. I have actually seen It’s Pat, albeit not since the ‘90s, so I do not remember him as Stage Manager. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you don’t have to have seen Pulp Fiction to remember Marvin. For every terrible credit, he’s got a classic, it seems, or at least something memorable in a good way. He was Samurai Jack; he was Virgil Hawkins (Static, of Static Shock). He’s one of the many celebrities to have done The Lion Guard; he was on the ill-fated Heathers TV show.
He’s one of the few voice actors to have done much in the way of live action, honestly. I know what Maurice LaMarche looks like, but I suspect most people don’t. About the only way I’d be able to pick Rob Paulsen out of a crowd is the Post Modern Jukebox cover of the Pinky and the Brain theme song. But I’ve seen Marvin get scattered all over the back seat of that car, so I know Phil LaMarr. I’d probably seen him before then, as I did watch a little MadTV when it was new, and he did a one-off Murphy Brown character.
But it’s the voice, let’s be real. Marvin, fine, but also Hermes. Any number of characters from DC Super Hero Girls. The classic Star Wars video game character Kit Fisto. He filled in for Idris Elba as Heimdall in at least one Marvel video game. John Stewart on the animated Justice League. There are also a ton of characters he played once or twice, on different animated versions of things where you probably know the live action better. He’s been Dormammu and Aquaman and Bail Organa. By this point, he’s done pretty much every fandom there is, even Critical Role.
In fact, he’s so good that there are plenty of shows where he was more than one character, even when he was playing the main character. It’s not the greatest strain to be both Hermes Conrad and “additional voices” on Futurama, but Samurai Jack and “various” on Samurai Jack is a little more impressive. Phil LaMarr is one of the greats in his field, and he’s one of the people I always think of in some irritation whenever voice acting isn’t treated as real work. He played both John Stewart and Virgil Hawkins on a crossover episode once, and that takes real talent.