Strangers don’t typically recognize Bob Magruder’s face. His voice is a different story.
Magruder has made a career out of those deep, distinct intonations that have shaped roles such as the narrator on the television show “Cheaters,” a post he’s held for the past 15 years.
It’s also allowed him to stay busy with voice parts in movies, commercials, industrial films, audio books, Christian programs, and cartoons. And at age 82, Magruder has no desire to slow down as long as his windpipe allows.
“What I do is so fun and simple,” Magruder said. “What should I do? Go home and sit in a chair and talk to the cat?”
Magruder got his start in radio as a teenager, first as a disc jockey and then in the newsroom of a station in Houston, where his news director was Dan Rather.
He went off the air and into sales, working for radio stations in San Antonio and New Orleans before settling down in Dallas at KVIL-FM (103.7).
As a hobby, Magruder began acting in local stage productions. After one show at Dallas Repertory Theater, he was approached by legendary Park Cities agent Tanya Blair, who suggested his voice had potential.
Four decades later, Magruder still works about five times a month, auditions much more often than that, and maintains an office on Lemmon Avenue.
“A lot of times, it’s just speech patterns,” Magruder said of successful voice work. “For every audition, you create the character. I enjoy doing it.”
Perhaps his biggest break came 15 years ago, when he began his work on “Cheaters,” a syndicated reality show created by Park Cities resident Bobby Goldstein. He spends about 50 minutes every two weeks recording his lines for the show at a Dallas studio.
Magruder said the key to his job lies not in the quality of the voice, but the way in which it’s used.
“It’s all about interpretation,” he said. “There are a lot of people with better voices than I have.”