“Swamp People” fans can probably list off their favorite cast members over the 12 seasons. However, there’s one cast member that’s been with the show since day one. And most fans have never even seen him. His name is Pat Duke and he’s the narrator for the show.
Duke has been narrating “Swamp People” since 2010. And although he doesn’t quite have a Louisiana accent, he is from the South. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee and he started a music career when he was just 14 years old. Over the years, he won several awards as a studio singer, musician, and producer. Eventually, Duke transitioned from music to voice work. And his career soared.
If you’ve always felt like you heard Pat Duke’s voice somewhere other than on “Swamp People”, you’re right. He also worked as the voice of Miller Lite and voiced over 10,000 commercials. Duke has also narrated several shows including National Geographic’s “Wild Alaska”, “Breakout”, and “Rock Stars”, Destination America’s “Buying the Bayou”, and more.
According to his LinkedIn, Pat Duke strives to be “a versatile voice actor who connects with the audience. My style is unique, like sweet southern molasses with a gritty city edge. Narration, storytelling, I pull the viewer in.”
How Did Pat Duke Land His Role on ‘Swamp People’?
It’s easy to think that becoming the narrator for an iconic show like “Swamp People” involves lots of hoop-jumping and hard work. But, all Duke actually had to do was audition for the part. During an interview in 2013, Duke talked about the process.
“‘Swamp People’ began for me as just one more audition in a huge stack of auditions I was recording on a typical day in Los Angeles,” said Duke. “I had no idea that one audition was going to change my life.”
Luckily, Duke’s upbringing played a big role in him landing the part.
“The direction for the script said they wanted it to sound like an ‘authentic Southerner,'” added Duke. “I figured I might have a shot at winning the gig, because being from Nashville, Tennessee I actually am an ‘authentic Southerner.”
The executive producer for the show, Brian Catalina, immediately fell in love with Duke as the “Swamp People” narrator. However, other executives for the show weren’t totally sold.
“The executive producer, Brian Catalina, loved my voice, but the folks up in New York City thought I sounded like a hick,” said Duke. “…I’ll tell you this, the New Yorkers were pretty rough on me for the whole first season, making me re-do stuff because to their ears I was too Southern. Their negative attitudes changed dramatically the second year because they had a ‘runaway hit’ on their hands. Suddenly, I could speak any way I wanted to. They even let me change the script around whenever I felt the words didn’t sound Southern enough.”
And the rest is “Swamp People” history.