This week, Rockstar Games’ giant Western of a video game, Red Dead Redemption, is playable on Xbox One as part of Microsoft’s push to add “backward compatibility” to the system—basically making some old Xbox 360 games work on the new hardware. That means that, suddenly, everyone’s excited to play Red Dead Redemption again.
And well they should, because Red Dead Redemption is a well-written and especially well-acted drama about a former outlaw turned family man who can’t seem to get out from under the government’s thumb. That character is John Marston, a man who just wants to hang out on his ranch with his wife and son, and who instead is forced to hunt down and kill the members of his former gang.
Marston has become something of an iconic character in games, even with just the one appearance—that’s how much people like Red Dead Redemption. But unlike characters like Nathan Drake of Uncharted or Joel of The Last of Us, most people know little about the man who provided Marston’s voice and actions. The name of actor Rob Wiethoff certainly isn’t household among games fans the way those of Nolan North (as Drake) or Troy Baker (as Joel) are.
The fact is, Wiethoff vanished from games after his first video game acting gig in Red Dead. He left Los Angeles, where he was working as an actor with limited success, for good after the game.
Polygon profiled Wiethoff back in 2013, giving a lengthy look at the one-time actor’s life and why he hasn’t popped up in any other video games—despite being a fan-favorite who would definitely have support. Fact is, Wiethoff tired of LA, the actor ratrace and the fact that movies and stereotypes about what it’s like to live and work in Hollywood are largely accurate. A lot of people blow a lot of smoke and make a lot of promises, but it doesn’t always amount to much.
Instead, Wiethoff moved to Indiana, where he lives with his family. That doesn’t mean he’s completely out of the spotlight—he’ll occasionally turn up for conventions to sign autographs for Marston fans. But his life is far different from when he voiced one of the best game characters ever.
Read the full Wiethoff profile on Polygon, as it’s definitely worth it. Then go check out Red Dead Redemption, particularly if it’s your first time.