Wilmer Valderrama says new podcast was inspired by his dad’s COVID-19 battle

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Wilmer Valderrama has lent his voice to projects including the hit kid’s show Handy Manny, and Disney/Pixar’s Onward, among others. But none are as personal to him as his latest podcast project. 

The That 70s Show veteran explained to Variety that his new series, Essential Voices, is dedicated to the essential workers and first responders who helped his father — and millions of others — battle through COVID-19. 

Valderrama’s father contracted the disease and suffered two minor heart attacks in the past year, the actor said, explaining of those who helped, “They showed up and helped my dad be with us for many more years.”

The NCIS star added, “I’m so thankful, and I want to make sure their voices are heard. That’s my small contribution back for what they’ve done for my family.”

His father is still recovering from the disease, “working through his respiratory stuff, and he’s still trying to get his stamina back,” Wilmer said. “He’s working out every day. I always joke with him that he reminds me of Stella because he’s trying to get his groove back.”

The Essential Voices podcast also hails those in the community who fought food insecurity throughout the pandemic, and others who are still doing what they can to save lives and raise spirits.


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