The Polar Express Wiki

Dedication card at the end of the film.

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Michael Jeter (August 26, 1952 - March 30, 2003) was an Emmy Award-winning American film, stage, and television actor. He did the voices for Smokey and Steamer in the 2004 film, The Polar Express and its video game adaptation.[1] However, he died of an epileptic seizure during production of the film before he could record all his lines, so André Sogliuzzo recorded over his dialogue except for Steamer during the caribou scene.[2][3] This was his final film role and the film was dedicated to him.

As a tribute to Jeter, a deleted scene from the film, "It Takes Two", which features Smokey and Steamer prominently, is featured on the film's DVD release.



  • Michael Jeter would originally have also provided the motion-capture for Smokey and Steamer. However, the pair were instead keyframe-animated as their exaggerated sizes and cartoony nature made them difficult to motion-capture.[1]
  • Michael Jeter and Tom Hanks both played roles in the 1986 film, The Money Pit and the 1999 film The Green Mile
  • He and Eddie Deezen made guest appearances in Duckman.
  • Jeter was born in the same year as Robert Zemeckis, Jesse Conde, Mark Goodman, Gary Goetzman, and Mandy Patinkin and died in the same year as Marge Rosse.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schaub, David (November 15, 2005). "'The Polar Express Diary': Part 4 -- Keyframe Animation". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  2. André Sogliuzzo on Twitter (October 1, 2020).
  3. "Trivia / The Polar Express". TV Tropes, Retrieved February 4, 2021.

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