Though her resumé encompasses dozens of supporting roles, more viewers — many more — know supporting actress Pamela Adlon (née Segall) through her prolific voice work than by her visage. Like Nancy Cartwright, this spunky and versatile brunette actress is perhaps most familiar for giving breath to a male animated character: that of Bobby Hill, the sweet-natured preteen son of redneck Hank Hill, with dreams of becoming a prop comic, on Mike Judge’s family-oriented animated sitcom King of the Hill (1997).
Adlon kick-started her career on a low yet memorable note, as Dolores Rebchuck, kid sister of “T-Bird” Paulette Rebchuck (Lorna Luft) in the clunker Grease 2 (1982). Roles in mostly forgettable features such as The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins (1984) and Gate II: Return to the Nightmare (1992), followed through the ’80s and ’90s, as did guest-starring appearances on sitcoms including The Jeffersons and Night Court. Adlon’s fortunes began to improve with the Cameron Crowe-directed Gen-X favorite Say Anything… (1989) and with a vocal turn in Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992) that paved the way for her work on King four years later. She and the rest of the cast remained with King of the Hill for many seasons, a testament to that program’s enduring popularity. Alongside King, Adlon delivered a fine comic portrayal as Kim, wife of Louis C.K.’s character, on the sitcom Lucky Louie. That series folded after one season, but Adlon soon found her way back to premium cable, with the recurring role of Marcy Runkle, wife talent agent Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) — whose star client and best friend was writer Hank Moody (David Duchovney) — on the successful Showtime dramedy Californication, which premiered in 2007.