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The Untold Story of the Kool-Aid Man

His voice is recognizable from childhood. But if you saw Frank Simms on the street, you probably wouldn’t recognize him as the giant red pitcher with a drawn-on smiley face. That’s right: Simms was the voice of the Kool-Aid man.

Simms was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began his career in music. In the early ’70s, he started The Simms Brothers Band with his brother George and friend Dave Spinner. After a few additions to the band and playing shows around Connecticut, they became one of the most popular acts in the state. The band went to Miami Beach to record its first album with Journey and Queen producer Mike Stone. Their label went on to book the band as an opener for Peter Frampton.

Simms had his own lengthy personal career in the music industry, providing background vocals for legendary artists like David Bowie, Billy Joel and Madonna. He’s recorded and performed with Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Al Green, Brian Wilson and so many more. He even recorded the theme song to the “Saturday Night Live” sketches for “TV Funhouse.”

Simms’ work as the Kool-Aid Man sometimes overshadows the rest of his career, which includes other voice acting work. He voiced spots for parody commercials on “Saturday Night Live,” real commercials for “Spongebob Squarepants” on Nickelodeon and the character of The Craver for Honeycomb cereal. His voice has been used in video games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Saints Row.” All his work hasn’t gone unnoticed—in 2007, he won an Emmy for Best Animated Children’s Song for his work with “Between the Lions” on PBS.

But for many of us, Simms will always be that deep voice of the pitcher breaking through a brick wall, with his iconic catchphrase: “Oh, yeah!”

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