SpongeBob and his friends.

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This is a list of characters from the Nickelodeon animated comedy series SpongeBob SquarePants. The show focuses on the title character and his various aquatic friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. In addition to the television series, they have appeared in three theatrical films and a Broadway musical.

The ten main characters were created and designed by Stephen Hillenburg, a former marine biology teacher at the Ocean Institute. Some of the characters originated in The Intertidal Zone, an educational book about undersea life that Hillenburg illustrated in the 1980s.

Character conception

Stephen Hillenburg's first sketch of the main cast.

As described in the book SpongeBob Exposed!, Stephen Hillenburg first drew early versions of the show's characters in 1984 during his time as a marine biology teacher at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California.[1] He wrote an educational comic book called The Intertidal Zone that featured talking sea animals, notably "Bob the Sponge". Bob acted as the co-host of the comic and resembled an actual circular sea sponge wearing sunglasses.[2] In 1987, Hillenburg left the institute to pursue his dream of becoming an animator and eventually came to Nickelodeon to work on Rocko's Modern Life.[2]

The first other characters Hillenburg created were Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Pearl, and Squidward.[3] Their characteristics were inspired by the traits and appearances of their species. SpongeBob is a square sponge, befitting of his "square" and nerdy personality. Patrick's demeanor is similar to real starfish, because he looks dumb and slow but can get aggressive from time to time.[4] Mr. Krabs is a penny-pinching crab who uses his big claws to grab money. Hillenburg decided to design Pearl while guiding whale watches at the Ocean Institute, taking some inspiration from a whale skeleton exhibit there as well.[5] He drew Pearl with a small body and an oversized head to reference sperm whales' huge brain size.[3] He designed Squidward as an octopus because of the species' bulbous mantle, which looks like a large bulbous head and gives the impression of an overinflated ego. Hillenburg drew Squidward with six tentacles instead of eight because it was simpler for animation.[4]

The 2012 character designs.

The characters' medieval versions, as seen in the "Dunces and Dragons" special.

Several new characters were added before Hillenburg pitched the series to Nickelodeon. He made a series bible outlining the show's central concepts. He added Sandy Cheeks as a new friend of SpongeBob.[6] Plankton was briefly outlined in the book as a possible minor villain who would only show up in one or two episodes, and Karen was meant to be no more than his computer helper.[7][8] However, after production on the first season started, Plankton's chosen voice actor, Doug Lawrence (also a staff writer for the show) really liked his character. Following his first voice recording, Lawrence drafted some of his own episode ideas for Plankton, hoping to prove he could survive as more than a one-note guest star.[9] From the second season onward, Plankton and Karen's roles in the series grew as Lawrence wrote ideas to give them more personality. He decided to write Karen as Plankton's wife to enhance the two villains' relationship and create more story possibilities. Plankton and Karen were both officially promoted to main cast members in the credits of the 2004 movie, which they play central roles in.

Hillenburg added SpongeBob's teacher, Mrs. Puff, shortly after his pilot episode pitch was accepted. Executives for Nickelodeon asked him to make a major creative change: to have SpongeBob attend a school. They initially wanted to make him a child character, since their most successful cartoons at the time focused on school-age kids.[10] Hillenburg said the network wanted SpongeBob to be like "Arnold [from Hey Arnold!] under the sea," but he told them, "No, that's not the show."[10] To compromise, he decided to put SpongeBob in a boat driving school—this allowed him to keep writing SpongeBob as age-ambiguous while using the school idea as a main plot element.[10] He designed Mrs. Puff as a pufferfish who would humorously blow up into a ball, just like a car airbag, whenever she is in a boat crash.[11]

Main characters

Image Name Voice actor Description
SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny A clumsy yellow sea sponge who lives in a furnished pineapple house with his pet snail Gary. He works as a fry cook at a fast-food restaurant called the Krusty Krab and diligently attends Mrs. Puff's Boating School. He is relentlessly optimistic and cheerful.

Broadway actor: Ethan Slater

Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke SpongeBob's best friend, a pink starfish who wears green flowered swim trunks. He lives under a rock and is known for being dimwitted and foolish. Despite his low intelligence, he is loyal and occasionally insightful.

Broadway actor: Danny Skinner

Squidward Tentacles Rodger Bumpass SpongeBob's next-door neighbor and coworker at the Krusty Krab, who lives in an Easter Island Head. He is an arrogant and pessimistic turquoise octopus who fancies himself a talented artist and musician.

Broadway actor: Gavin Lee

Eugene H. Krabs Clancy Brown A red cheapskate crab who is SpongeBob's boss and the owner of the Krusty Krab. He is a single father who lives in an anchor with his teenage whale daughter, Pearl. He is obsessed with collecting money.

Broadway actor: Brian Ray Norris

Sheldon J. Plankton Doug Lawrence A tiny green copepod who is a skilled inventor with a Napoleon complex. He runs a failed rival restaurant to the Krusty Krab called the Chum Bucket alongside his talking computer Karen, which he built himself.

Broadway actor: Wesley Taylor

Karen Plankton Jill Talley Plankton's sentient computer who lives in the Chum Bucket laboratory and provides him with his evil plans to run the Krusty Krab out of business. Her system is built into most of Plankton's inventions.

Broadway actor: Stephanie Hsu

Sandy Cheeks Carolyn Lawrence A squirrel from Texas who wears a diving suit and lives in an air-filled glass Treedome to breathe underwater. She is a good friend of SpongeBob and works as an explorer, thrill-seeker, and scientist.

Broadway actor: Lilli Cooper

Mrs. Puff Mary Jo Catlett SpongeBob's teacher at boating school, where students drive boats like underwater cars. She is a patient, elderly pufferfish who wears a sailor suit and is usually exasperated by SpongeBob's reckless driving.

Broadway actor: Abby C. Smith

Pearl Krabs Lori Alan A sixteen-year-old sperm whale who is Mr. Krabs' daughter and the heir to his restaurant and riches. As a high schooler, she does not yet have a job at the family business and instead works at the mall.

Broadway actor: Jai'len Josey

Gary the Snail Tom Kenny SpongeBob's pet sea snail who does not speak but instead communicates through cat-like meows. He is surprisingly smart and often serves a voice of reason for his owner.

Broadway actor: Allan K. Washington (vocals only)

Recurring characters

Image Name Voice actor Description
Patchy the Pirate.png
Patchy the Pirate Tom Kenny The host of the series' special episodes. He is a live-action pirate and the president of the fictional SpongeBob fan club. His greatest dream is to meet his idol SpongeBob one day.
Potty the Parrot Stephen Hillenburg, Paul Tibbitt and Doug Lawrence Patchy's sarcastic, wisecracking pet parrot who appears alongside him in specials. Potty is depicted as a crudely-made marionette puppet with very obvious strings and googly eyes.
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French Narrator Tom Kenny A French-accented scuba diver who often introduces episodes and narrates time cards. He is usually only heard as an off-screen voice.
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Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway Two retired superheroes who starred in SpongeBob and Patrick's favorite television show when they were younger. They normally stay at the Shady Shoals rest home.
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The Flying Dutchman Brian Doyle-Murray The irritable, loud-voiced ghost of a pirate who haunts the seven seas and collects souls in a napsack. He has a floating ghost ship and lives in a cavern that contains Davy Jones' locker.
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King Neptune John O'Hurley and Jeffrey Tambor The green-skinned merman god who rules the sea. He lives in a palace in the sunken city of Atlantis. His name is often used by Bikini Bottomites in place of God's in interjections.
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Larry the Lobster Doug Lawrence A muscular, weight-lifting lobster who is a lifeguard at the local goo beach, Goo Lagoon. He is a bodybuilder and workout fanatic.
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Realistic Fish Head Doug Lawrence A realistic-looking trout who appears in the opening theme and in various episodes as a news anchorman.
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Perch Perkins Dee Bradley Baker A famous field news reporter who wears a pair of headphones and always carries a microphone. He is usually accompanied by a news crew.
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Harold and Margaret SquarePants Tom Kenny and Sirena Irwin SpongeBob's parents, who more closely resemble circular sea sponges than their son. They are proud of SpongeBob but are embarrassed that he does not yet have a driving license.
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Grandma SquarePants Marion Ross SpongeBob's paternal grandmother who spoils him with cookies and gifts whenever he visits. Much to SpongeBob's chagrin, she leaves very obvious lipstick marks on his forehead when she gives him a kiss.
Squilliam Fancyson Dee Bradley Baker Squidward's high school rival from band class who has gone on to become extremely rich and succeed at everything Squidward has only dreamed of doing. He takes great pride in his unibrow.
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Betsy Krabs Paul Tibbitt and Sirena Irwin Mr. Krabs' mother and Pearl's grandmother. She is overbearing and still treats Mr. Krabs slightly like a child. She is a friend of Old Man Jenkins and lives in a pink anchor.
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Mrs. Tentacles Rodger Bumpass Squidward's mother. She seems to like baking cookies.

Minor characters

Image Name Voice actor Description
Painty the Pirate.png
Captain Patrick Pinney The painting of a pirate's head who sings the show's opening theme. He has made occasional cameo appearances outside of the intro sequence.
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Bubble Bass Dee Bradley Baker An overweight green bass who was a recurring nemesis to SpongeBob in the first season. He disappeared from the series until season eight, when he returned as an occasional patron of the Krusty Krab.
Flats the Flounder Thomas F. Wilson A flounder who appeared as a background character in the first season and later joined Mrs. Puff's class in "The Bully", wherein he became SpongeBob's bully.
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Fred Tom Kenny (Arrgh!)
Bill Fagerbakke (One Krab's Trash)
Rodger Bumpass (My Pretty Seahorse)
Clancy Brown (Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm)
Doug Lawrence (Jellyfish Hunter)
Dee Bradley Baker (Bossy Boots)
Carlos Alazraqui (Patty Hype)
Thomas F. Wilson (Chocolate with Nuts)
Paul Tibbitt (Enemy In-Law)
A fish townsperson who is known for shouting "My leg!" whenever there is some kind of destruction or disaster.
Harold Tom Kenny (No Hat for Pat)
Bill Fagerbakke (I Had an Accident)
Clancy Brown (Jellyfish Hunter)
Doug Lawrence (Mid-Life Crustacean)
Dee Bradley Baker (Band Geeks)
Thomas F. Wilson (The Algae's Always Greener)
Mark Fite (Professor Squidward)
A blue customer with a shark-like dorsal fin and sharp teeth who is known for his tendency to yell and start trouble.
Old Man Jenkins.webp
Old Man Jenkins Tom Kenny (My Pretty Seahorse)
Doug Lawrence (Sailor Mouth)
Dee Bradley Baker (The Sponge Who Could Fly)
John Gegenhuber (High Sea Diving)
An elderly fish who is sometimes seen as a customer or resident of Shady Shoals. His appearance and job changes repeatedly.
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Dr. Gill Gilliam Rodger Bumpass (I Was a Teenage Gary)
Doug Lawrence (The Cent of Money)
Dee Bradley Baker (The Two Faces of Squidward)
The local physician and traveling snail veterinarian. He has a suave voice and a calm, soothing demeanor.
Scooter Tom Kenny (Shell Shocked)
Bill Fagerbakke (Lost in Bikini Bottom)
Clancy Brown (Wigstruck)
Dee Bradley Baker (Sponge-Cano!)
Carlos Alazraqui (Ripped Pants)
Mark Fite (Born to Be Wild)
A purple surfer fish who talks like a southern Californian and is often seen at Goo Lagoon. He is known for calling SpongeBob "dude."
Tom Tom Kenny (Tutor Sauce)
Bill Fagerbakke (Sailor Mouth)
Doug Lawrence (Chocolate with Nuts)
Dee Bradley Baker (Graveyard Shift)
Carlos Alazraqui (Bubble Buddy)
A common background fish character who has a short temper and a loud voice in many of his appearances.
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Dirty Bubble Charles Nelson Reilly and Tom Kenny Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's worst nemesis, a giant floating bubble with an evil face.
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Man Ray John Rhys-Davies and Bob Joles A villain against Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy who resembles a man with a manta ray head.
Sandals Tom Kenny (Squid Wood)
Doug Lawrence (The Other Patty)
Dee Bradley Baker (Patty Hype)
Mark Fite (SquidBob TentaclePants)
A common Bikini Bottomite best known for comedic one-liners.
Anchovies Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Dee Bradley Baker, Mark Fite A group of fish appearing numerously, and well known for saying "meep."

Movie characters

Image Name Voice actor Description
Princess Mindy.png
Princess Mindy Scarlett Johansson King Neptune's daughter who helps SpongeBob and Patrick in the first movie. She knows the name of every sea creature and will become queen of the sea one day.
Dennis Alec Baldwin A hitman who is hired to exterminate SpongeBob and Patrick by stepping on them with an oversized cleat boot. He drives a motorcycle and is eventually defeated when he is hit by a fishing boat.
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David Hasselhoff Himself An actor, known for his role on the Baywatch series, who brings SpongeBob and Patrick back home to Bikini Bottom from Shell City. In the movie, he has comically-exaggerated superpowers and can swim like a motorboat.
Cyclops Neil Ross The guardian of Shell City. He is a man who always wears an old-fashioned diving suit and turns sea animals into cheap trinkets for his seaside novelty shop.
Burger-Beard Antonio Banderas A pirate who is the main villain of the second movie. He finds a book capable of rewriting reality and uses it to steal the Krabby Patty formula, open up a fast food drive-in, and change Bikini Bottom into a wasteland.
Bubbles Matt Berry A mystical dolphin who acts as the watchman of the universe. In the second movie, he helps SpongeBob and his friends get to the surface and grants them the ability to breathe air.


  1. Banks, Steven (September 24, 2004). SpongeBob Exposed!: The Insider's Guide to SpongeBob SquarePants. Simon Spotlight.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hillenburg, Stephen (2003). SpongeBob SquarePants, the Complete First Season: The Origin. Paramount Home Entertainment.
  3. 3.0 3.1 From Boy to Bob. Nick Mag Presents: SpongeBob SquarePants. Viacom International (June 2003).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hillenburg, Stephen (March 1, 2003). The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The Case of the Sponge "Bob". Paramount Home Entertainment.
  5. Neuwirth, Allan (April 1, 2003). Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies. Skyhorse Publishing. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017.
  6. Encalada, Debbie (May 1, 2014). How "SpongeBob SquarePants" Stayed Fresh and Subversive Over 15 Years. Verizon Hearst Media.
  7. Bourbeau, Mary Ann (November 15, 2015). Meet the voice behind a 'SpongeBob' character. Gannett Company.
  8. Fain, David (September 1, 2000). SpongeBob SquarePants Trivia Book. Simon & Schuster.
  9. Beck, Jerry (2013). The SpongeBob SquarePants Experience. Insight Editions.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 White, Peter (October 27, 2009). SpongeBob SquarePants' creator Steve Hillenburg. TBI Vision. Informa. Retrieved on October 31, 2013.
  11. Walter Foster (January 1, 2002). How to Draw SpongeBob SquarePants.

External links