The very first Disney Princess, American star Adriana Caselotti was the singing and speaking voice of Snow White back in 1937 – their first feature film. Coming from a background as an MGM chorus girl, she was paid just $970 at the time – around $16,000 in present day money – for the role and it effectively ended her career. Disney kept her under contract and banned her from further parts so the voice of Snow White would retain a sense of mystery.
The only woman – so far – to be the singing voice of two Disney leading ladies, Lea Salonga is the woman both Princess Jasmine and Mulan. The Filipina actress and singer was plucked from the world of musical theatre to audition for Jasmine – nailing A Whole New World in the first take – and was asked to audition again a few years later for Mulan.
Like so many Disney Princesses, Jodi Benson first gained attention on Broadway before being recruited to voice Ariel in the film that’s credited with savind Disney’s animated brand – The Little Mermaid. Many may also recognise her as the voice of Barbie from the Toy Story films.
Anika Noni Rose
Best known for her film and television work as an actress, Anika Noni Rose brought Disney’s first African American princess to life in Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. As the speaking and singing voice, her rendition of Almost There has become an instant classic among Disney diehards and was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2010 Oscars.
An opera singer who had sung with the likes of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Mary Costa became the voice of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty in the fifties after meeting producers at a party. She was asked personally by Jackie Kennedy to sing at the memorial service for President John F Kennedy following his assassination.
Better known as a pop star and actress, Mandy Moore grew up obsessed with the work of Jodi Benson and got to fulfill her dream of becoming a Disney Princess as the singing and speaking voice of Rapunzel in Tangled. She performed I See The Light from the film at the 2011 Oscars with her co-star Zachary Levi.
At just 19, Ilene Woods landed the role of Cinderella over 300 other voices who had auditioned for the part. She went on to become one of America’s most in-demand vocal artists, performing for both President Roosevelt and President Truman. Sadly Woods suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in her later years and forgot that she voiced Cinderella but according to reports she asked nurses to play A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes frequently.
The most recent Disney princess, Hawaiian talent Auli’I Cravalho is the singing and speaking voice of Moana. As one of the youngest Disney princesses – she was just 14 when she landed the role – Auli’I was the last girl producers saw out of hundreds of auditions. Suffice to say the film’s big ballad – How Far I’ll Go – has become a huge hit.
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