Messick was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Lena Birch (née Hughes) and Binford Earl Messick, a house painter. He first wanted to be a ventriloquist, and even supported himself as one for a time. His big break came in the mid-1940s. At MGM, Tex Avery was producing the Droopy cartoons. The regular voice actor, Bill Thomson, was not available.Daws Butler, who voiced characters for MGM, suggested that Avery seek out Messick, and so, he was hired to voice Droopy.
Messick and Butler became a voice acting team for the Hanna-Barbera unit in 1957 with the arrival of Ruff and Reddy. Don was Ruff the cat and the Droopy-sounding Professor Gizmo. Butler was the southern-speaking dog, Reddy. Messick also narrated the show, which played out like an animated soap opera. Beginning in September,1958, Messick played Tadpole in the animated television series produced by Beverly Hills Productions, Spunky and Tadpole.
From 1957-1965, Butler and Messick gave voice to a large number of characters. Always the sidekick, Messick’s characters were not headliners. His notable roles in this era were Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith, Major Minor, Pixie Mouse, Astro and Muttley.
Messick was used primarily for his narration skills, which were heard on many of those cartoons in which Daws Butler starred. In narrating the Yogi Bear cartoons, he also voiced Ranger Smith in something close to his natural voice.
Messick would eventually star as Ricochet Rabbit in Richochet Rabbit (1964–65), while Deputy Droop-a-Long, was voiced by Mel Blanc.
In outer space cartoons, Messick created noises and sounds for weird space creatures and aliens. His Ranger Smith voice was often heard as various space villains. His narrator voice was given to Vapor Man, Dr. Benton Quest, The Perilous Paper Doll Man, and Multi Man, Hong Kong Phooey (1974), where he was also Spot the cat, a faithful sidekick, and Laff-A-Lympics (1977-79)
- In late September 1996, Messick suffered a stroke while recording voices at Hanna Barbera.
- Messick suffered a second stroke and died on October 24, 1997.
- Since Messick's death, Scott Innes and Frank Welker have both played the role of Scooby-Doo.
- In 1998, the film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island was dedicated to his memory
- In 2011, Jonathan Winters (who played Grandpa Smurf in the TV series) became his successor as the voice of Papa Smurf in The Smurfs (Film)
Smurf back to The Smurfs Voice Actors