Ned Luke is an American actor most famous for voicing the character of Michael De Santa in 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V.
He’s more than just the voice, too—he spent almost three years in a motion capture suit to provide the actions, facial expressions, and movements of Rockstar Games’ billion-dollar bestseller.
He’s also voiced countless other parts, like Raffles in Rover Dangerfield, and appeared in the HBO hit series, Boardwalk Empire.
The all-American family man lives with his wife and kid in Westchester, New York.
Here’s what else we know about the charismatic celebrity.
The Origin Story
Edward von Leuck was born in Danville, Illinois, on October 4, 1958.
He was the first of Cindy and Fred von Leuck’s five children—Ned’s siblings are Cricket, Matt, Steven, and BJ.
Ned’s mom, Cindy, is the daughter of famed actor, Paul Birch. Birch, whose real name is Paul Lowery Smith, was a film actor with 39 movies and 50 stage credits to his name.
Ned Luke graduated from Danville High School in 1977, after a high school career that included a lot of sport.
He was an honor student, and he went on to study at the University of Illinois.
In 1997, Luke married part-time actress and yoga instructor Amy Sax.
The pair welcomed their first son, Max “Bubba” Luke, who plays high school baseball and is looking towards a career in baseball when he graduates in 2022.
Luke is gradually going deaf in his right ear, which causes him to lean towards his right when people talk to him on that side.
Consequently, the character he played in GTA V also leans towards his right.
An Unconventional Career
Luke scored his first major role as a voice actor in the animated movie, Rover Dangerfield.
In the role, he played an exuberant sheepdog named Raffles, opposite old-school comedy icon Rodney Dangerfield’s basset hound character.
The movie premiered in 1991.
From there, he was cast in multiple television roles throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and had amassed over a hundred TV ads in that time.
After a decade in Los Angeles, Luke packed up his wife and son and headed back to Danville, eager to give his son a better, healthier lifestyle. Back in Danville, he opened a restaurant with his brother.
Michael De Santa
By 2010, the Luke family had made another move—this time to the Big Apple.
Luke got an agent in New York City, who suggested he audition for a role in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V video game.
Initially, Ned wasn’t interested, but he agreed to head along for an audition.
The role he auditioned for was that of Michael De Santa—one of the three main characters in the game.
He scored the role, and GTA V went on to become the #2 highest-grossing video game of all time.
The role involved spending close to 36 months in performance capture technology.
He wore a motion capture suit to bring a video game criminal to life, which helped the character to emulate his movements—including his characteristic right lean—his facial expressions, and his mannerisms.
He also recorded the entire script for the character.
Ned is the first to admit that he’s logged more than a few hours playing the best-selling game.
He refused to let his son play it, though, until he was old enough to meet its mature rating.
When asked what he had in common with his notorious character, Ned joked, “We’re both just really handsome devils!”
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An Insight into Society
In an interview about his Michael de Santa character, Luke had a little to say about society—and what GTA V is saying about it.
He responded that the game was pure satire, commenting on the absurdities of life and mocking the gaming industry.
He thinks Rockstar Games is all about fun, and says that people need to lighten up and enjoy things for what they are.
He also pointed out the hypocrisy of people who complain about violence and crime in a game, but watch shows that feature those things heavily.
He pointed out that he can keep his kid from watching inappropriate content on TV, and he can do the same when it comes to video games.
“Don’t let video games raise your kid,” was his sage advice.
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Ned Luke – Net Worth
Luke earned most of his wealth from serving as the voicing Michael De Santa in Grand Theft Auto V. Ned also performed in American Gothic, As the World Turns, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, All My Children, The Pretender, and more.
He has featured in everything from Budweiser commercials to Burger King ads.
Therefore, actor Ned Luke has an estimated net worth of $4 million.
Want to learn more about the charismatic and insightful Ned Luke? Here’s his full interview on what it’s like to be Michael De Santa…at least part-time.
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