Voices of Burt Reynolds, Judy Garland Recreated With AI



In brief

  • A new Reader App narrates text provided by users in the voices of Hollywood legends.
  • The AI recreations of the late actors‘ voices were authorized by their respective estates.

The distinct voices of four actors from Hollywood’s golden age are finding new life thanks to artificial intelligence thanks to a deal between audio AI developer ElevenLabs and celebrity estate manager CMG Worldwide, the company announced on Tuesday.

Users of ElevenLabs’ new Reader App, which was launched last week, will be able to have text read aloud to them by authorized recreations of the voices of “Rebel Without A Cause” star James Dean, “The Wizard of Oz” star Judy Garland, “Spartacus” star Sir Laurence Olivier, and “Smokey and the Bandit” star Burt Reynolds.

In introducing the “Iconic Voices” project, ElevenLabs called the four “some of the most celebrated actors in history.”

“We deeply respect their legacy and are honored to have their voices as part of our platform,” Head of Partnerships at ElevenLabs Dustin Blank said in a statement. “Adding them to our growing list of narrators marks a major step forward in our mission of making content accessible in any language and voice.”

For actress and singer Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland and representative of the Garland estate, the project is an exciting way to introduce new fans to her mother’s work.

“It’s exciting to see our mother’s voice available to the countless millions of people who love her,” Minnelli said in a statement. “Through the spectacular new technology offered by ElevenLabs, our family believes that this will bring new fans to Mama, and be exciting to those who already cherish the unparalleled legacy that Mama gave and continues to give to the world.”

According to ElevenLabs, the free Reader App—available for iOS and planned for Android—supports over 29 languages and can read articles, emails, and PDFs provided by the user. While subscription costs are not listed, the information page offers “three months free access with near unlimited generation and the highest quality voices.”

While the larger ElevenLabs platform provides AI voice generation for various purposes, these celebrity voices will only be found in the Reader App.

“These iconic voices are exclusively available through the app for individual streaming and are not part of our broader Voice Library for creating content to share,” the company said.

Beverly Hills-based CMG Worldwide manages the estates of Reynolds, Dean, Garland, and Oliver. It also manages the estates of Aaliyah, Bettie Page, Natalie Wood, and David Carradine.

AI is widely used to recreate voices, although unauthorized clones are common—particularly in music. But the likenesses of celebrities who are no longer living have been revived with the permission of their respective estates.

In December, CMG Worldwide partnered with Ukrainian AI developer Respeecher to recreate the vocal stylings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” star Jimmy Stewart for a project with meditation and sleep app Calm that used the deceased actor’s voice to narrate a new story called “It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story.”

In March, San Francisco-based Soul Machines released an AI-generated recreation of Marilyn Monroe called Digital Marilyn, which acts as an interactive video avatar meant to provide a personalized, real-time experience.

“More than just an impressive impersonation, Digital Marilyn is an autonomous Digital Person capable of engaging in natural, dynamic conversations that feel authentic and responsive,” Soul Machines said in a Medium post. “It’s as if the spark of Marilyn herself has been translated into the AI age, offering a unique and deeply personal connection for both devoted fans and curious newcomers.”

ElevenLabs was unable to immediately respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.





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