Memphis is a major character in Happy Feet and a minor character in its sequel, Happy Feet Two. He is Norma Jean's husband, Mumble's father, Gloria's father-in-law, Erik's grandfather, and Maurice's best friend. His heartsong is "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley.
He is voiced by Hugh Jackman.
Memphis is first seen from nowhere when he is singing his heartsong "Hearthbreak Hotel". After mating, he and Norma Jean had an egg. When the females went to find food, the males were in charge of watching over the eggs and protecting them from the harsh wind storm approaching. Lonely and cold, the only thing to help Memphis get past the storm was to think of Norma Jean and dancing. However, this caused him to drop the egg, sending it tumbling in the snow. He quickly retrieved it, hoping nothing happened.
After the winter, Memphis gets worried when his egg does not hatch when the other penguins' do. His best friend, Maurice, comes by with his daughter, Gloria, to see what happened. Gloria spots the egg, taps on it and hears a response from inside. Two feet break from the egg and as they begin to walk off down a snow bank, Gloria playfully addresses the egg as "Mr. Mumble" thus naming him when he hatches.
Memphis was not supportive of Mumble's dancing capabilities, saying that it "just ain't penguin". What concerned Memphis even more, was the way he oddly moved the feet and the fact that he could not sing, and therefore had no Heartsong. Memphis even resorted to picking the Elders over his family when things got rough with the food shortage.
After Mumble grows up, Memphis is later seen when Noah decides to banish Mumble. Memphis tries to convince Mumble to change his ways so he wouldn't be banished. But Mumble couldn't change himself, as he is who he is. Then, Memphis couldn't do anything instead of accepting Mumble's banishment. This let Memphis to a start of depression.
After Mumble returned from the zoo, he asked Mumble to dance so he would regain his joy. Memphis initially relucted, but after he tried, he ended up liking the dance. After that, Memphis completely supported Mumble's dancing and joins into group dancing willingly. He joined his son in dancing for the humans, and contributed to the return of the fish.
In the end, Memphis is seen dancing with Norma Jean and all the other Emperor Penguins.
Memphis makes a brief cameo alongside Norma Jean informig Noah that there is no way out the Doomberg. However, they later gets free along with all the other penguins.
Due to his son Mumble being different, Memphis was very embarassed which led him to have somewhat of a prejudice towards his own son. He tried to stifle it, shushing Mumble or stopping him from dancing around others. He tried to live like a normal penguin, and wanted the same to his Mumble, saying that his kind of dancing isn't what a normal penguin do. Memphis was also embarassed by the fact that Mumble lacks a heartsong. He insisted in making Mumble to hab strong muscles at his throat, and he did not wanted Mumble to being different. Memphis even resorted picking the Elders over his family when things got rough with the food shortage. The reason for his prejudice is because he thought Mumble's differences were the fact that he dropped Mumble out when he was an egg.
However, Memphis has a good heart, and he only wanted the safety and the well-being of his son. Memphis even went to a state of depression after Mumble's banishment, even stating to Mumble when he returns that he doesn't possesses music in his soul. He was also a dedicated and caring father, who only wants to be with his family. After he accidentally dropped Mumble out, he quickly went to retrieve it, and hopped nothing happened.
Memphis can also be somewhat lonely (so much that his Heartsong is "Hearthbreak Hotel"). After Norma Jean went with the other females to fishing season, the only Memphis was able to think of was his wife, which even led him to distraction, making his egg drops out. Similarly, Memphis possesses a enormous love for his wife, Norma Jean, that he did not wanted to upset her, hiding from her the fact that he dropped Mumble out as an egg. He only revealed it to her during Noah's attempt to banish Mumble. Despite his love for her, Memphis and Norma Jean had their moments arguments, as seen when Norma Jean stated that he would like if Mumble was different, Memphis coldly responded that Mumble would not be different, showing somewhat of selfishness from Memphis' part. However, Memphis still loved his wife and son more than everything.
Memphis also had a high degree of respect towards Noah (probably because his the leader of the emperor penguins, a occupation superior to Memphis). His respect in seen at Mumble's gradulation, when Norma Jean disrespected Noah from stopping Mumble of graduate, Memphis angrily said her name, in a intention to make her respect. His respect is also shown when Noah banished Mumble, and Memphis argued with Mumble to change his way, respecting Noah's opinion about dance more than his own son's likes.
Despite this, Memphis would always support his son. When Viola stated Mumble could never meet a mate if he didn't have a heartsong, Memphis desesperately asked Viola if they could do something to Mumble. Also, when Norma Jean asked Memphis to dance with son, Memphis willingly tried it, ending up liking the dance. After that, he lost all his prejudice towards Mumble's dance and selflessly danced with him after the humans arrived in a helicopter, even stating "It's better you start dancing now!", and the two started dancing together.
Memphis was also a bit of xenophobic, as seen when he said Mumble to waive his new friends, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul, as Memphis thought of them as anormals due to they liking Mumble's dancing. However, this could also be because at Mumble's gradulation, he warned Mumble to not talk to strangers, and that was exactly what Mumble did arte his leopard seal chase (talked to five adélie penguins he did not know yet).
Memphis also seems to possesses a sense of right and wrong. This can be seen when he bluntly told Mumble he wouldn't go anywhere until he finishes college. However, this can be strained due to his will of making Mumble normal, as seen when he wanted Mumble to change or he would be banish, not understanding that Mumble was who he was.
Memphis looks like every other Emperor Penguin. He has somewhat broader shoulders, and—when dancing—can be differenciated by his Elvis Presley-like dance moves. He also sings like his Heartsong writter, with a deep voice. He waddles with confidence.
- He is named after the Memphis, Tennesse, where Elvis lived.
- Keanu Reeves, Aaron Eckhart, Viggo Mortensen, Edward Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, the late Bob Hoskins, Gary Sinise, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kiefer Sutherland, Mel Gibson, the late John Hurt, and Terence Stamp were all considered for the role of Memphis before Hugh Jackman was selected.
- In the draft, Memphis is called Wishful.
- He is voiced by Hugh Jackman who is best known for his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men film series. Jackman did an Elvis Presley impersonation for both the speaking and singing parts.
- He is also voiced by Christopher Corey Smith in the vídeo game who also voiced Spandam in One Piece and Wayzz in Miraculous Ladybug.
- In the Japanese dub from the movie, he is voiced by Masaki Terasoma.