Eamon Walker as Chief Boden on Chicago Fire
Credit: Getty Images

Chief Wallace Boden’s deep, masculine voice on Chicago Fire is exactly what we would picture a Chicagoan Fire Chief to be. But is that the actor’s real voice or is it an accent? Learn what happened to Eamonn Walker’s voice for the firefighter drama below.

Chicago Fire, NBC’s firefighter drama series produced by Dick Wolf, follows the professional and personal lives of firefighters, rescue personnel and paramedics of the Chicago Fire Department’s fictional Firehouse 51. The series is wrapping up its 11th season and was recently renewed for Season 12 in April 2023, along with the other One Chicago shows, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. Actor Eamonn Walker plays Firehouse 51 Battalion Chief Wallace Boden. He’s one of the few original firefighters who’s stayed on the show since its inception a decade ago, along with David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso, Christian Stolte and Taylor Kinney. Kinney is currentlytaking a temporary leave of absence as Kelly Severide and will not return to Season 11 due to “personal issues.”

Ahead of the Season 6 premiere in 2017, Walker told Social News XYZ how his character and the other characters on Chicago Fire have grown from Season 1. “We’re starting year six. We’re not exactly the same as we were when we first started, when we first began. We had an idea about what we wanted to be and now we’re much more secure in what we are and what we do,” he explained. He also said that they were proud to represent first responders on Chicago Fire. “We represent first responders across the globe, not just Chicago, because their stories don’t wait to get told whenever there’s a catastrophe… We’re very very proud to represent them.”

The actor added that Chicago Fire fans are still very passionate about the series. “The one thing I know from walking the streets of Chicago is Chicago Fire fans are wholeheartedly into us and they believe in us,” Walker added.

So, what happened to Eamonn Walker’s voice and is that his real voice or an accent? Keep reading to find out.

What happened to Eamonn Walker’s voice?

Eamon Walker as Chief Boden on Chicago Fire

What happened to Eamonn Walker’s voice? You’ll be impressed to know that Walker is not from Chicago, but hails from London and has a strong British accent (which you would never know while watching Chief Boden on Chicago Fire). Years of vocal coaching and watching videos helped Walker master the deep, raspy Chicagoan voice that he does so well.

In an interview with Assignment X in March 2015, the actor spoke about how he approaches doing an American accent. “I have an ear, I guess, for the musicality of the voice. I also know and come from a philosophy of acting that your whole body is a toolbox. So, my voice, the way I walk, the way I move, all of that is part of the toolbox,” he explained to the outlet. “So, if I can formulate a character based on what’s coming off the page, also from what the writer is trying to say, then I’ll use whatever. Sometimes an accent is easy and sometimes one isn’t. So, it’s much more about building the character, which comes from the piece, rather than doing an accent.” See a clip of Walker doing Boden’s deep Chicago accent below.

However, Walker admitted to NBC 10 Philadelphia in 2019 that he was terrified of doing an American accent “in front of Americans and working with Americans,” when he first came to the U.S. in 1997. As a result, Walker worked with various voice coaches over the years in New York and in Chicago to get the exact vocals down. His voice coach in Chicago taught him how to do the “Chicago accent,” he says. “She got me some tapes of different Chiefs doing their job, and the first voice that we picked up on and I started doing, I was like ‘Oh god, he sounds White that’s not gonna work…’ Then we got this Black guy, and suddenly over the course of time, Boden’s voice came and was developed in a hotel room,” Walker said about crafting his character’s signature accent.

Walker has also played other characters with American accents, most notably as Kareem Said on the HBO series Oz. Want to hear Eamonn Walker’s real voice with a British accent? Check out his interview with NBC 10 Philadelphia below.

Chicago Fire airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

For more on Chicago Fire, check out our photo gallery of the most shocking deaths on the show that we’re still not over.