People hundreds of years from now are going to recognize Jim Dale's rich baritone voice. At seventy-five, Mr. Dale is the narrarating voice of Harry Potter and over two-hundred different character voices in the Harry Potter audiobooks.
What plenty of people do not realize though is the fact that Dale has been in entertainment far before he began narrating the Harry Potter audiobooks. Jim was a pop singer, a stand-up comic, an off-broadway performer, and more in the entertainment industry for just about 45 years before he discovered the Harry Potter audiobooks... or more like, before the Harry Potter publishers found him.
In '99, Listening Library (at the time an independent publisher) had just purchased the copyright (in the USA) to the audio book for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (book 1) for only fifteen-thousand dollars. Timothy Ditlow, a son of the founders of Listening Library, was attending a soiree with a range of broadway frequenters and a few of them thought Jim would be good for the narration. And despite the fact that Jim had just narrated one audio book before, Tim offered Dale the role. J.K. Rowling and her publishers were very clear that they expected an English accent for Harry Potter on the audio books and that along with Jim's performance experiences made him just what they were looking for.
Jim has said that when he was originally told about the role he hadn't heard of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and he asked to have a copy of the book. After finishing the book he said that he was "completely immersed in the Harry Potter World" and seeing that the book was amazingly well written, smart, funny, and understanding that there was a potential for six more audio books seriously "whetted my appetite."
While Dale was narrating the audiobooks he was normally the first or second individual after J.K. Rowling's publisher to receive one of the recently finished books (and pretty much always the 1st person in the US to read one). Quite a blessing in disguise, since Jim was required by his contract to not disclose even the smallest storyline particulars before the book was released.
Now since narrating all seven Harry Potter audio books, Dale has received 2 Grammys, seven Grammy nominations, a record ten Audie awards (including audio book of the year 2004), and thirteen Audio File Earphone awards for his performances. Dale is also the voice for many of the Harry Potter video games and a lot of the commentary in the Harry Potter DVDs and Blu-ray discs.