Who are the women behind the Disney Princesses? We hear their voices, but very rarely see their faces… until now. Yahoo! Movies tracked down some of the women that are behind their voices.
Snow White - Adriana Caselotti
For the role of Snow White, Walt Disney first had consulted Adriana Caselotti’s vocal coach father for the recommendations, but after Disney heard 19-year-old Caselotti child-like voice, he knew that he had to hire Caselotti. Unfortunately for Caselotti, her Disney contract prevented her from using her talents anywhere else. She has spent her career reprising Snow While and was the first women named a Disney Legend.
Cinderella - Ilene Woods
Ilene Woods was selected personally by Walt Disney from over 300 different actresses who auditioned for the role of Cinderella. After playing the iconic role, Woods then sang for President Roosevelt and Truman. In 2003 she was named a Disney Legend.
Alice and Wendy - Kathryn Beaumont.
Curly blond hair and bright blue eyes, 10-year-old Kathryn Beaumont was the perfect Alice. Obviously Walt Disney agreed as he picked her to be the voice and the model of Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She also voiced the role of Wendy in Peter Pan while under contract with Disney. At the age of 75 Beaumont still continues to voice her famous roles. She has also worked as a schoolteacher, entertaining her pupils with her Wendy and Alice voices.
Princess Aurora - Mary Costa
Only hours after she auditioned for Princess Aurora, Mary Costa received a personal phone call from Walt Disney giving her the part. After voicing Princess Aurora, Costa’s singing career took off and included performances at the Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera. By request of Jackie Kennedy, she sang at the memorial for President Kennedy. To this day she still makes appearances for her Disney fans.
Ariel and Barbie - Jodie Benson.
Jodi Benson is the voice behind both Ariel and the Toy Story sequel’s Barbie. With just these two roles for the Disney company behind her, she earned her Disney Legend status.
Belle - Paige O’Hara
At the age of 30 Paige O’Hara saw the Beauty and the Beast audition in the newspaper and went in for the role. O’Hara was already an established Broadway performer having played in Showboat, Oklahoma and South Pacific. She voiced Belle for the subsequent direct-to-film movies and then went back to her stage career. O’Hara is also a talented painter, and her favorite subject is Belle.
Jasmine - Lea Salonga (Singing) and Linda Larkin (Speaking)
The singing voice of Jasmine was performed by Tony Award-winning Lea Salonga. Salonga was a darling of the Broadway stage before winning the singing role of Jasmine. Most recently she stared at Fantine in Les Miserables She has also reprised her Jasmine role for Disney TV shows. As for the speaking role, that was voiced by Linda Larkin. Larkin had to lower her voice to meet the high-pitch desired for Jasmine. Larkin has continued to be the voice of Jasmine and scored roles in Doogie Howser, M.D. and Runaway Bride.
Mulan - Lea Salonga (singing) and Ming-Na Wen (speaking)
Salonga had her second turn as a Disney Princess with Mulan. She provided Mulan’s singing voice in the film, its sequel and the Disney TV shows. Ming-Na Wen began acting in As the World Turns before she got the role to voice Mulan. She won this role partly because she was able to of the lower register that was needed for when Mulan pretended to be a man. Wen also has appeared in The Joy Luck Club and will be seen this fall in the TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Pocahontas - Irene Bedard (speaking) and Judy Kuhn (singing)
Irene Bedad is an actress that is from the Inuit descent and provided the voice and physical model for Pocahontas. She is a Golden Globe-nominated actress successfully playing Native American characters. She has also starred as Pocahontas’ mother in the live action film The New World. As for Pocahontas’ singing voice, Judy Kuhn, a three time Tony Award nominee, provided this for both movies. She also had a cameo role in the film, Enchanted.
Tiana - Anika Nomi Rose
Anika Nomi Rose won a Tony for her performance in Caroline, or Change. With the role of Tiana there was much competition as this was Disney’s very first African-American Princess. Rose triumphed over her Dreamgirls co-star Beyonce Knowles in landing the role. While Rose is a Disney Legend she also continues to appear in non-musical films, such as For Colored Girls.
Rapunzel - Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore was a well-known entity from her pop-music career even before she took on a Disney Princess. She started acting when she was cast in 2002’s A Walk to Remember. There were early tests for the film that used the voice of Natalie Portman as Rapunzel. However, the part ended up landing at Moore’s feet and earned her a Grammy with the song “I See the Light”.
Merida - Kelly MacDonald
Scottish Kelly MacDonald was just perfect to voice the first Pixar Princess, Brave’s Merida as it is set in the Scottish Highlands. Reese Witherspoon was initially linked to this role before MacDonald stepped in and replaced her and she couldn’t have done a better job. MacDonald said that she enjoyed playing the spunky teen character because her princess did not need a prince charming to come and save her.