Cheech Marin
Biographical information

July 13th, 1946


Los Angeles, California

Career information

1971 - present



The Lion King
The Lion King 1½

Cheech Marin is a Mexican-American comedian and actor who voiced Banzai in The Lion King film series.


After graduating from Bishop Alemany High School, Marin went on to study at California State University, where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa. Marin moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to escape being drafted during the Vietnam War, to which he met his future comedic partner, Tommy Chong. Marin would later give himself the nickname, "Cheech," after "chicharron," a fried pork skin that is a popular snack in Mexican cuisine.[1]

Inspired by the counterculture hippie era and their love for cannabis, Marin and Chong formed the comedy duo, Cheech & Chong. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the duo released many successful comedy albums and starred in a series of low-budget comedy films, such as Up in Smoke. However, in 1985, following the release of their album, Get Out of My Room, Marin decided to distance himself from the comedy act in order to focus on a solo career.

Since then, Marin has done voiceover work in many Disney films, such as Oliver & Company and Cars. During production of The Lion King, the directors tried to reunite him with his former comedy partner, Tommy Chong, for the roles of Banzai and Shenzi, but were unable to do so, and cast Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi instead.[2] Marin would later go on to reprise his role as Banzai in The Lion King 1½ and Kingdom Hearts II.

Other Roles

  • Beverly Hills Chihuahua - Manuel
  • Cars - Ramone
  • Machete - Padre Cortez
  • Nash Bridges - Joe Dominguez
  • Oliver and Company - Tito
  • Spy Kids - Felix Gumm

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