REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Charles Martinet, the original voice of Mario in Nintendo games since the 1990s, is stepping down.
Nintendo of America confirmed Monday that Martinet will now serve in the role of “Mario Ambassador,” traveling around the world to promote the beloved plumber, signing autographs and performing Nintendo character voices.
“It’s been a privilege working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him,” Nintendo said in a statement.
In addition to being the original voice of Mario, he’s also voiced Luigi, Wario and Waluigi in the video games. While he did not voice Mario in the recent movie, he did have a small role as Mario’s dad.
In a question and answer session at a Canadian gaming and comics expo two years ago, Martinet told the audience “I want to voice Mario until I drop dead” in response to a fan’s question, according to gaming blog The Game Crater. But he added “if someday I think I am no longer capable of doing it, I will tell Nintendo to look into finding someone else.”
Nintendo did not say why Martinet is stepping down or who would replace him as Mario’s voice.