Between 2004 and 2009, Tom Petty supplemented his rock and roll career with a surprising side gig, voicing the character Lucky on Mike Judge's beloved animated show, King of the Hill. In a short tribute shared with Rolling Stone, Judge remembers Petty as "the nicest, most humble and unassuming rock star you could ever hope to meet." Petty died Monday at the age of 66 after going into cardiac arrest.
"We had all grown up on his music, that unique voice of his, and to have him as the voice of Lucky on King of the Hill was just wonderful," Judge says. "He was always a pleasure to work with – such a funny guy. He will be greatly missed."
In all, Petty voiced Elroy "Lucky" Kleinschmidt on 28 episodes of King of the Hill (the rocker also voiced one of Lucky's friends, Mud Dobber). Lucky was best known for the incident that earned him his nickname: While visiting the restroom in a Costco, he slipped on urine and earned himself a fat cash settlement from the big-box store. Later in the series, Lucky married Luanne Platter, the niece of Hill family matriarch, Peggy Hill.
In a 2009 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Judge explained how Petty came to voice Lucky. Judge said King of the Hill's then-showrunner, John Altschuler, had written Lucky and described him as looking like "Tom Petty without the success."
"And we thought, what if we tried to get Tom Petty?" Judge recalled. "And he said, 'Yeah, I'll do it.' And he was great, just killed at the table read. Then he said, 'Any time you want me to do it, I'll do it.' Turns out he really meant it."