Cartoons30 Famous Cartoon Characters That Will Forever Be Iconic

30 Famous Cartoon Characters That Will Forever Be Iconic

With each passing day, the number of cartoon characters increases. Include anime characters in the same bracket, and keeping a count of famous animated characters becomes impossible.

So, I’ll leave anime for another day and focus on the most famous cartoon characters for now.

All of us have spent a good part of our childhood watching the iconic cartoon shows of the 80s and 90s.

Looney Tunes, Duck Tales, Disney movies, and some classic Cartoon Network shows introduced us to some of the legendary cartoon characters.

Today, I’ll revisit one of the best parts of our childhoods and list the cartoon characters that achieved fame across generations. 

So, here are 30 cartoon characters that achieved celebrity status.

30 Most Famous Cartoon Characters

30. Snow White

snow white
  • Created By: Walt Disney
  • Show/Movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Voice Actor(s): Adriana Caselotti, Pamela Ribon 

Kicking things off the list with the first-ever Disney Princess, Snow White. She is the fairest of them all and remains the quintessential Disney Princess to date. 

Snow White debuted as the main character of her film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Since then, she’s appeared in live-action remakes, musical stage plays, and several cartoon shows.

A new live-action Snow White is in the works as well.

Did You Know: Snow White was the first fictional character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

29. Casper

  • Created By: Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo
  • Show/Movie: Casper the Friendly Ghost 
  • Voice Actor(s): Cecil Roy, Brendon Ryan Barrett

Casper is the most famous ghost cartoon character. It’s an oddly specific fame, but it’s fame nonetheless.

This cute ghost captured everyone’s heart by being the gentlest and friendliest ghost ever. Instead of haunting others, Casper is often seen helping humans and animals alike. 

He doesn’t stop at helping either.  

Casper wants to be friends with humans. But, of course, no human wants to be his friend because he’s a ghost. What a silly reason to reject someone’s friendship!

28. Mordecai & Rigby

mordecai and rigby
  • Created By: J.G. Quintel
  • Show/Movie: Regular Show
  • Voice Actor(s): J.G. Quintel (Mordecai), William Salyers (Rigby)

Mordecai & Rigby, the duo from Cartoon Network’s Regular Show, are the two latest famous cartoon characters. Streamlining a cult classic cartoon show, Mordecai and Rigby was an instant hit with viewers of all ages. 

Their irreverent humor and absolutely chaotic personalities captured kids and adults alike. 

On top of that, the show’s constant referencing to pop culture shows and games also played a huge part in getting these two (and their show) popular among the masses.

27. Finn & Jake

finn and jake
  • Created By: Pendleton Ward
  • Show/Movie: Adventure Time
  • Voice Actor(s): Jeremy Shada (Finn), John DiMaggio (Jake)

Much like Regular Show, Adventure Time was also part of Cartoon Network’s revival. And much like Regular Show, Adventure Time also has its MC duo to thank.

Finn is the last remaining human, and Jake is his best friend. While Finn is an adventurous hero of The Land of Ooo, Jake is a laid-back shapeshifting dog who behaves like Finn’s older brother.

The odd dynamic between the main characters and the show worked extremely well.

26. Peppa

peppa pig
  • Created By: Neville Astley, Mark Baker
  • Show/Movie: Peppa Pig
  • Voice Actor(s): Harley Bird, Amelie Bea Smith

Peppa, a female piglet, is the main character of Peppa Pig. 

Running since 2004, this British animated TV show has become a global phenomenon in the past few years. Peppa Pig’s gentle humor, simple story-telling, and endearing characters captured kids like few other cartoon characters have managed in recent times.

Aside from entertainment, the show and its character provide an engaging educational experience. Peppa herself is loved for her cheerful and relatable nature. Kids also love her adventures.

25. Yogi Bear

yogi bear
  • Created By: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Show/Movie: The Huckleberry Hound Show
  • Voice Actor(s): Daws Butler, Gilbert Mack, Mel Blanc, Seth Green

While trying to steal picnic baskets in Jellystone Park, Yogi stole everyone’s heart.

First appearing as a minor character in The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi Bear quickly became one of the most famous Hanna-Barbera creations. And after 3 years of playing a second fiddle to Huckleberry Hound, Yogi got his very own show (The Yogi Bear Show) in 1961. 

The show followed the misadventures of Yogi, Snagglepuss, Yakky Doodle, and Boo Boo. 

24. Tweety Bird

tweety bird
  • Created By: Bob Clampett
  • Show/Movie: A Tale of Two Kitties
  • Voice Actor(s): Mel Blanc, Billy West, Bob Bergen

Tweety, a yellow cartoon, is easily the most recognizable character. And, excluding the big 3 (Donald, Daffy, and Road Runner), he is also my favorite bird cartoon character.

This yellow canary first appeared on screen over 80 years ago in A Tale of Two Kitties. Post that, Tweety’s rivalry with Sylvester in Tweetie Pie entertained us for years.

To this day, Tweety remains an iconic cartoon character from the Golden Age of American animation.

23. Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr.

sylvester j. pussycat sr
  • Created By: Friz Freleng
  • Show/Movie: Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies
  • Voice Actor(s): Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza

Just a year after Hanna-Barbera created one of the best cartoon cats of all time (Tom of Tom & Jerry), Friz Freleng introduced the Looney Tunes audience to Sylvester the Cat.

While Sylvester is famous for his continuous pursuit of Tweety Bird, his failed attempts at catching Speedy Gonzales and Hippety Hopper are just as entertaining. He also has some crazy misadventures with Porky Pig and Daffy.

This tuxedo cat has appeared with almost every Looney Tunes character, and there’s no questioning his popularity. 

22. Rick & Morty

rick and morty
  • Created By: Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon
  • Show/Movie: Rick and Morty
  • Voice Actor(s): Justin Roiland (voiced both Rick and Morty)

Although not child-friendly and targeted at an adult audience, Rick & Morty are American animation’s famous cartoon characters nonetheless. This duo deserves a spot on this list because of the impact that these two and their show has on pop culture.

The interdimensional misadventures aside, it’s the animation and voice acting that really make the show and these characters stand out as the best that American adult animation has to offer.

If you’ve never seen the show, you must!

21. Fred Flintstone

fred flintstone
  • Created By: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Show/Movie: The Flintstones
  • Voice Actor(s): Daws Butler, Henry Corden, James Arnold Taylor, Rick Zieff

Before the Simpsons, there were the Flintstones. Although The Flintstones ended after 6 seasons (running from 1960 to 1966), the show left its mark on fans and American animation.

Fred Flintstone is the protagonist of the series who lives in Bedrock, a stone age town, with his wife and pet dinosaur. He’s most famous for shouting, “Yabba Dabba Doo!” 

And his attempt at white-collar dressing during the stone age is just as iconic. 

20. Blossom, Bubbles, & Buttercup

blossom bubbles and buttercup
  • Created By: Craig McCracken
  • Show/Movie: The Powerpuff Girls
  • Voice Actor(s): Cathy Cavadini (Blossom), Tara Strong (Bubbles), E. G. Daily (Buttercup)

It’s hard to pick one of these cuties, so I went with all three. Besides, none of them will be famous alone. We know and love these three because they come together to form the most popular girl gang ever. 

These synthetic, crime-fighting superheroines saved their town from countless dangers and still made it to school on time. Something I and many other children failed to do because we were too busy watching these three kick Mojo Jojo’s butt.

That reminds me, Mojo Jojo should’ve been on this list, no?

19. Stewie Griffin

stewie griffin
  • Created By: Seth MacFarlane
  • Show/Movie: Family Guy
  • Voice Actor(s): Seth MacFarlane

You didn’t think there would be no Family Guy character on this list, did you? 

Considering the show’s popularity and how much fans love the various characters, I could have easily listed 5 Family Guy characters here. But let’s just stick to the best one.

Stewie is a 2-year-old who behaves more like a posh adult than a child. Fans love his English accent, quick wit, dark humor, and football-shaped head. 

Oh. Almost forgot. Stewie is also famous for always plotting the murder of his mother. 

18. Jimmy Neutron

jimmy neutron
  • Created By: John A. Davis
  • Show/Movie: The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron
  • Voice Actor(s): Debi Derryberry

Who could forget the little inventor whose inventions never really world out?

Jimmy Neutron is easily the most famous cartoon character from Nickelodeon.

Although fans will always remember Jimmy for his iconic hairstyle and the red t-shirt with an atom drawn on it, the Boy Genius deserves more.

For starters, fans need to appreciate that this 11-year-old has an IQ of 210. He is a physicist, biochemist, architect, and engineer as well. 

17. Johnny Bravo

johnny bravo
  • Created By: Van Partible
  • Show/Movie: Johnny Bravo
  • Voice Actor(s): Jeff Bennett

Johnny Bravo, the show, gained popularity for its slightly adult humor, its constant referencing to pop culture, and of course, its titular character, Johnny Bravo.

Van Partible once revealed that he based Johnny on James Dean and Elvis Presley. That should be enough explanation for the way Johnny looks and behaves.

Aside from that, Johnny will forever be remembered for the way he drooled over women, but never got hitched.

There is no way this blonde gym freak would have survived today’s cancel culture.

16. Bart Simpson

bart simpson
  • Created By: Matt Groening
  • Show/Movie: The Simpsons
  • Voice Actor(s): Nancy Cartwright

Don’t worry, I’m not spamming the rest of the list with The Simpsons characters. Aside from Bart, Homer is the only one who features later on.

Bartholomew Jojo Simpson is a 10-year-old infamous, within the show and among the audiences, for his constant mischief and rude behavior towards others.

Moreover, fans who have literally grown up watching Bart’s antics love the character a lot. He’s also one of the few cartoon characters famous across generations.

15. Dexter

  • Created By: Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Show/Movie: Dexter’s Laboratory
  • Voice Actor(s): Christine Cavanaugh

The generation of Jimmy Neutron needs to acknowledge the OG inventor and scientist. While Jimmy is a great character, Dexter surpasses him in intelligence and popularity.

Dexter is the titular main character of Dexter’s Laboratory, famous for his intelligence and his super-thick spectacles. He built a secret laboratory under his bedroom where he carries out weird and wonderful experiments.

But Dexter has an annoying sister who faults his plans.

14. Wile E. Coyote

wile e. coyote
  • Created By: Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese
  • Show/Movie: The Road Runner Show
  • Voice Actor(s): Mel Blanc, Seth MacFarlane, James Arnold Taylor, Eric Bauza

While Road Runner was the star of the show, Wile E. Coyote was just as crucial in entertaining us throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. 

Wile E. just wanted to trap the Road Runner and eat him for lunch, dinner, or breakfast. But he never got his way. Despite the complex traps, the coyote never caught the Road Runner apart from a few rare occasions. 

Even then, he couldn’t eat him.

13. Courage

  • Created By: John R. Dilworth
  • Show/Movie: Courage the Cowardly Dog
  • Voice Actor(s): Marty Grabstein

Courage the Cowardly Dog was one of the few good horror/comedy animations that children could actually enjoy instead of hiding behind curtains.

The story of an elderly couple living in Nowhere, Kansas with a cowardly but smart dog really hit it off with a younger audience. Courage shivering with fear but still saving his owners from supernatural threats was entertaining and engaging.

There’s plenty to like about Courage, just like the show he mainstreams.

12. Winnie the Pooh

winnie the pooh
  • Created By: A. A. Milne, E. H. Shepard
  • Show/Movie: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree
  • Voice Actor(s): Sterling Holloway

Everyone’s favorite teddy bear will always remain an iconic cartoon character no matter how bad they make him look in live-action remakes. 

The honey-loving bear has been a beloved character ever since he first appeared in storybooks from A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. Pooh has been featured in books and comics since 1924. And Disney secured the animation rights for Winnie the Pooh in 1961. 

Soon after, Winnie the Pooh became one of Disney’s most successful franchises.

11. Road Runner

road runner
  • Created By: Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese
  • Show/Movie: The Road Runner Show
  • Voice Actor(s): Paul Julian, Frank Welker

Wile E. Coyote’s prey that he never really got a taste of, Road Runner will remain one of the best mute tricksters of Looney Tunes. 

All he did was run at supersonic speed and shout, “Beep, Beep.” That was enough for this Road Runner to become an iconic cartoon character.

Of course, the way he thwarted Wile E. Coyote’s evil schemes to catch him was entertaining as well. 

10. Dora Marquez

dora márquez
  • Created By: Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes, Eric Weiner
  • Show/Movie: Dora the Explorer
  • Voice Actor(s): Kathleen Herles

Another cartoon character whose live-action movie did her no favors is Dora the Explorer.

Dora is the titular character of a very popular kids’ show, Dora the Explorer, that was directed at young children aiming to teach them language and problem-solving skills. The young explorer, along with her monkey, Boots, would go on different adventures through the jungle. 

I’ll admit her constant questioning is annoying at times, but she means well. 

9. Scooby Doo & Shaggy Rogers

scooby doo shaggy rogers
  • Created By: Joe Ruby, Ken Spears
  • Show/Movie: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
  • Voice Actor(s): Don Messick, Frank Welker

Show me a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

It doesn’t matter who gets an HBO Max reboot (looking at you Velma), the two scaredy-cat monster hunters will forever be the most popular characters of the series- Scooby even more so than Shaggy.

The Great Dane was initially pitched as a bongo-playing side character, Fred Silverman changed everything. Thanks to the former head of CBS Daytime for giving us one of the best cartoon characters ever.

8. Homer Simpson

homer simpson
  • Created By: Matt Groening
  • Show/Movie: The Simpsons
  • Voice Actor(s): Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, a husband, a father, a friend, and a fool will forever remain a popular cartoon character.

The Simpsons is one of the longest-running American animated sitcoms, and Homer wasn’t the main attraction for the first couple of seasons. But, as the show brought this silly, lazy, and hungry man into the spotlight, the show went from good to great.

Now, this doughnut lover has become the most popular Simpson and, thanks to his countless quirks, he won’t be replaced anytime soon. 

7. Pikachu

  • Created By: Atsuko Nishida and Ken Sugimori
  • Show/Movie: Pokemon
  • Voice Actor(s): Ikue Ōtani

There’s no point in leaving out the cutest and most popular Pokemon ever. Although Pikachu is technically an anime character, very few of us knew the difference when we first saw him shoot thunderbolts.

Moreover, Pikachu is no longer an anime-exclusive character.

Post the live-action Detective Pikachu movie, Pikachu is a global character. And thanks to Ryan Reynolds, I got the excuse to include him on this list.

6. Popeye

  • Created By: Elzie Crisler Segar
  • Show/Movie: Popeye the Sailor Man
  • Voice Actor(s): Jack Mercer

Popeye’s star might be fading a little, but this sailor is still an important part of American animation history. In its heyday, Popeye the Sailor Man was an extremely popular cartoon that used to have theatrical runs. 

Its unique humor and memorable characters have garnered critical and commercial acclaim over the years.

That said, the spinach-eating sailor will always be the star of this show.

5. Spongebob Squarepants

spongebob squarepants
  • Created By: Stephen Hillenburg
  • Show/Movie: Spongebob Squarepants
  • Voice Actor(s): Tom Kenny

Kicking off my top 5 famous cartoon characters of all time is Spongebob Squarepants. 

The protagonist of a much-loved animated series, Spongebob is a yellow sea sponge who lives underwater in the town of Bikini Bottoms. 

As he navigates through life as a chef at a burger joint, Spongebob’s antics, songs, and iconic laugh have made him one of the most famous cartoon characters of all time.

4. Donald Duck

donald duck
  • Created By: Walt Disney, Dick Lundy
  • Show/Movie: The Wise Little Hen
  • Voice Actor(s): Clarence Nash, Daniel Ross, Tony Anselmo

The angriest cartoon duck out there needs no introduction, but I’ll give one just in case.

Donald Fauntleroy Duck is one of the most famous Disney cartoon characters to date, solely because he’s unlucky and angry. But viewers loved every bit of it. That’s why Donald is the Disney character with the most film and comic book appearances to date.

And the ultimate proof of this duck’s popularity is the Donald Duck star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

3. Bugs Bunny

bugs bunny
  • Created By: Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, Charles Thorson
  • Show/Movie: Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies
  • Voice Actor(s): Mel Blanc, Eric Bauza, Sam Vincent

Even after 80 years in the media industry, Bugs Bunny still holds star power.

This anthropomorphic rabbit/hare (no one knows for sure whether he’s a rabbit or a hare) is a cultural icon and the official mascot of Warner Bros.

Bugs Bunny is another one of the few fictional characters that have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star to their name. That’s because this carrot eater appeared in over 160 animations since his first appearance back in 1938.

2. Tom & Jerry

tom and jerry
  • Created By: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Show/Movie: Tom and Jerry
  • Voice Actor(s): Daws Butler/Mel Blanc/Allen Swift/June Foray (Tom), Paul Frees/Mel Blanc/Allen Swift/ June Foray (Jerry)

When it comes to timeless classics, few cartoons come close to the Tom and Jerry franchise. And it’s all thanks to the two main characters of the show.

While everyone cheered for the little mouse, I was always inclined toward poor Tom. Jerry was mostly the one teasing Tom and causing trouble, but it was Tom who would get beat up. First by Jerry, then by Spike, and sometimes even by Mammy Two Shoes.

But, regardless of who did what, Tom and Jerry were an important part of everyone’s childhood and they’ll remain so for generations to come.

1. Mickey Mouse

mickey mouse
  • Created By: Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks
  • Show/Movie: Mickey Mouse Shorts
  • Voice Actor(s): Walt Disney

Cartoon characters will come and go, but few will get the love and popularity that Mickey Mouse got from the masses. 

Mickey Mouse is still the best cartoon character to come from the mind of Walt Disney. He liked the character so much that he lent his voice to a number of Mickey Mouse Shorts episodes.

In short, Mickey Mouse is the most famous cartoon character of all time. His voice, his face, his design- everything is part of not just American but global culture.


Those are the 30 most famous cartoon characters in the world.

All of us have grown up watching these characters on our TV screens. And the fact that some of them still show up to brighten the childhood of this generation brings a smile to my face.

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