The voice of a Disney animated princess is as inherent to their beauty and charisma as a shadow is inseparable to a body. The women you’ll get to know below deserve every bit of your attention because their vocal talents brought to life characters who became on-screen embodiments of grace, bravery, and wits. If you take a closer look at the images, you’ll surely notice a few uncanny resemblances between the princesses and the women who voiced them – frequently, but not always, the look of a princess was modeled on her real-life counterpart.
Snow White – Adriana Caselotti
For the role of Snow White in the first Walt Disney’s feature-length cartoon, 19-year-old singer Adriana Caselotti was paid only $20 for each day of work – less than the actors who voiced the dwarfs. Moreover, she became a hostage of Walt Disney’s ego and perfectionism. He made the honey-voiced actress sign a contract stipulating that she wouldn’t work anywhere except for the Disney Studios. Thus, he eliminated any possibility that Adriana’s unmistakable voice would connote with any other major character besides Snow White.
Cinderella – Ilene Woods
The sweetly-singing girl had already been captivating audiences long before she became the voice behind the mistreated stepdaughter who met Prince Charming. She had her own show on a national radio network since age 14. In 1948, the 18-year-old singer was asked for a favor by two friends of hers who happened to have composed songs for an upcoming Walt Disney’s animated film. They asked her to record a demo for them. As it turned out later, her demo was her first step to becoming a Disney legend.
Ariel – Jodi Benson
A Broadway actress before her audition for The Little Mermaid, Benson’s impressive vibrations made such a splash that she continued to voice other Disney’s characters – such as Barbie in Toy Story 2 and 3, among others. After The Little Mermaid became a massive hit, she voiced the half-fish and half-human girl in all subsequent video games and TV shows as well.
Belle – Paige O’Hara
Paige O’Hara was one of 500 Broadway starlets who auditioned for the gig. It took her five auditions to get the role of the Beast’s darling. The animation artists endowed the character with some of Paige’s distinctive traits – for example, the way she brushed her hair out of her eyes.
Jasmine – Linda Larkin and Lea Salonga
For the first time, two actresses were chosen to lend their voice to a Disney’s princess. Linda Larkin gave the speaking voice to the strong-willed daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah. While the Filipina starlet provided the character with her sweet-singing skills. She also gave her voice to another Disney princess, Mulan, and helped make the animated teen seem so impressive six years later.
Pocahontas – Irene Bedard and Judy Kuhn
Alaska Native actress Irene Bedard and Broadway star Judy Kuhn also brought Pocahontas to the big screen together. Irene was the physical model for the character as well as her speaking voice. In her turn, Judy Kuhn sang and recorded the music for the movie with a 90-piece orchestra.
Rapunzel – Mandy Moore
Rapunzel – the protagonist of Tangled – has been hidden away in a secret tower ever since she was a little baby while Mandy Moore has already been a hit teenage singer before she won the part. It looks like the star also has tangled up with Disney Studios as she will voice the curious princess in an upcoming TV series that will air on Disney Channel in 2017.
Elsa – Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel’s vocal support made Frozen an absolutely magic movie. As the voice behind Queen Elsa, Idina’s powerful vocals have conquered the globe thanks to the mega hit ‘Let It Go’. Frozen became the most successful animated film of all time, undoubtedly, due – to some extent – to its astounding soundtrack!