Daly City-born Steve Lupton finds the PHL a home for his many talents

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tambi new

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Steve reciting one of his poems at an open mic in   Makati

Steve reciting one of his poems at an open mic in Makati

By Wendell Gaa

At the Berlitz Language Center in Makati City, students sit down and listen intently to the lessons of their English instructor, Clark Steven Lupton, or simply Steve. Little do most of them realize that their soft-spoken and eloquent teacher was, at one time, a cartoon voice actor.

In the late 1980s, Steve was a member of the English-dubbed voice cast of “Daimos,” a popular Japanese anime series, which, along with other “heroic giant robot” animated series such as Voltes V and Mazinger Z, was popular amongst the youth until they were banned when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. A decade later, those cartoons re-aired on Philippine TV after the EDSA People Power revolution in 1986.

While Steve has been busy as a professional English teacher to foreign and Filipino students in the Philippines for nearly a decade, including three years spent at Berlitz, he never forgot his time as a voice actor for “Daimos.”

Like many Japanese anime/manga cartoon series of the time, “Daimos” had a simplistic good vs. evil plot, at times with complex storylines and characters. The story of “Daimos” featured a Romeo-and-Juliet-type plot revolving around a human named Richard who falls in love with an alien Erika, whose extraterrestrial race called Brahmins (who are essentially human beings with angel-like wings) waged war against the people of Planet Earth due to a series of events caused by political assassination and misunderstanding. Each episode had the Brahmin army send waves of intergalactic forces and giant alien robots, as their weapons, to invade Earth in an attempt to subjugate or annihilate the human race, but in the end, their plans would be thwarted and repealed by Daimos, a gigantic robot warrior who is physically and mentally controlled by Richard as he utilizes his “body movement technology.”

“I was the voice of Edward, the sidekick and best friend of Richard,” recalled Steve, elaborating, “He’s a cool sidekick with an awesome sword, speaks with a low tone, and when he goes into battle together with Richard, he can shout up quite a storm!”

Steve remains proud of his cartoon alter ego in spite of the fact that he thinks Edward’s fashion sense left a lot to be desired, with his funky green outfit, pink sunglasses and bushy hair.

The voice in ‘Daimos’ Japanese anime (top) is drawing comics (below)

The voice in ‘Daimos’ Japanese anime (top) is drawing comics (below)

steve comics

Steve, 50, was born in Daly City, California to an American father and Filipina mother. His family then moved to the U.S. Pacific Northwest where he spent much of his early childhood growing up in Oregon. By the time he was 11, his family moved to the Philippines as his parents decided to start a business there and spend quality time with his grandparents and relatives.

The transition was rough as he couldn’t speak or understand Tagalog at all. He would attempt to speak like a local, but people often laughed at him, prompting him to communicate mostly in English in his daily conversations, which he still does today. Although he has improved his Filipino skills over the years, admittedly, it is continued to be spoken with an American ‘twang.”

Steve attended school at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communications. It was within this period that Steve landed his job as a voice actor for “Daimos.”

“There we were at the lobby of our College of Mass Communications, we saw these seniors huddled together and overheard them talking about an auditioning for English-speaking voice actors for ‘Daimos.’ At the time, I wasn’t aware of who he was, even though I watched the cartoon a few times but never knew the characters,” he said, adding, “a senior friend mentioned that they were going to do the audition at a TV studio in Katipunan Road, so I immediately rushed and hopped onto a jeepney and beat out the seniors who had cars of their own.”

Once at the Katipunan Road studio for the audition, Steve was asked to do sample voice reading of scripts for the show.

“My future boss was so impressed with my good English pronunciation that he asked me if I could start recording and working with them right there on the spot!” And the rest was, as they say, history. For the next few months, Steve would do voice recording for Edward, where his performance could be heard particularly in the last four episodes of the English-language version of the series.

Steve’s job with “Daimos” opened a few other professional doors for him, as he landed gigs in Manila doing voiceovers for TV commercials and was even hired to perform a voiceover for a character in the actor-comedian Joey De Leon’s movie, “Elvis and James 2,” in which he voiced the character of an Elvis Presley ghost speaking Filipino with an American accent, which is what Steve naturally does!

Today, Steve lives in Makati City with his lovely wife of five years Maria Victoria Javier Lupton. He continues to see the legacy of “Daimos” through occasionally overhearing people fondly talk about him on the streets of Makati and seeing toy merchandise and T-shirts of the titular robot character on sale at some department stores. When he is not busy teaching, drumming, comic strip drawing, and poetry writing — a few of his works have been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer — are among his favorite hobbies. He will always cherish his past voice-acting career, which indeed helped open windows of opportunity for him.

© 2017 The FilAm

With wife Maria Victoria

With wife Maria Victoria

One Comment

  1. Wendell wrote:

    For those who are curious to learn more about how Steve Lupton went from voicing cartoons to drawing comic strips, go to Steve’s Strips at the website: http://www.anythingunderthesun.net

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