In 1941, after a few roles in live-action films, Kent Rogers kicked off his career as a voice actor with a role in Goofy Groceries, a “Merrie Melodies” animated short directed by Bob Clampett. Just two months later, Kent’s talents were given a chance to shine, as he voiced 14 different characters in the famous short Hollywood Steps Out. In the acclaimed animated short, Kent provided dead-on vocal characterizations of James Cagney, James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Peter Lorre and Groucho Marx. Kent continued to work on Warner Brothers cartoons, giving voice to numerous characters and becoming a favorite of director Tex Avery, as well as Bob Clampett.
In 1942, producer Leon Schlesinger adapted Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hatches the Egg. This was the first time a Seuss book was brought to the screen. It was also the first time Warner Brothers licensed pre-existing source material that was still under current copyright. Kent was tapped to supply the voice of “Horton,” the title elephant.
Kent also provided the voice for such characters as “Henery Hawk,” “Beaky Buzzard” and “Junyer Bear,” as well as celebrity imitations, as needed. He also freelanced for Universal’s cartoon division, voicing “Woody Woodpecker” in five cartoon short subjects.
In 1943, Kent put his career on hold and enlisted in the US Navy. In July 1944, Kent was killed in a plane crash during a naval training exercise, just 22 days before his 21st birthday.