Illene Woods began her starry career early, with her own radio show on the ABC network aged just 14. She also performed as part of the United States Air Force Orchestra during the Second World War and sang for two US Presidents – Franklin D Roosevelt and Harry S Truman. After performing "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes", and "So This is Love" for her songwriter friends Mack David and Jerry Livingston, she was invited by Walt Disney to voice the leading role in Cinderella in 1950. By this time Disney had actually begun crediting its voice stars rather than keeping their identities a secret.


Sterling Holloway was an actor that Disney turned to time and time again. Those born in the first half of the 20th century may remember him as Uncle Oscar in the TV series the Adventures of Superman, however it is his voice that is best loved as that of Winnie the Pooh, Kaa in The Jungle Book, Mr Stork in Dumbo and the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland.

Eleanor Audley was a well-known face on classic American television and would regularly appear on shows such as Green Acres, I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She provided the voices for two of Disney's nastiest female characters, Lady Tremaine in Cinderella and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, and served as a physical model for both characters.

The character that is still, to this day, synonymous with Disney. Mickey Mouse’s high falsetto voice was provided by Walt Disney himself for almost 20 years. However by 1946 he had become to busy to continue – and rumour has it his smoker’s voice was no longer up to hitting the high notes – so the role passed to Jimmy MacDonald.

For a decade Walt Disney insisted that the identities of the actors and singers providing the voices for his characters were kept secret. He believed that if audiences knew who was providing the voice the magic would be ruined. As a result, the entire cast of Disney's first feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs went uncredited – along with the several other movies that followed. The title role was played by Adriana Caselotti, an 18-year-old Italian who was trained by her father to be an opera singer. Disney personally chose her for the role and she was placed under a contract which forbade her from appearing in film and other media. However, she continued to take part in publicity for Snow White until well into her later years.
  This pair we know as Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio – the little wooden boy who came to life and his talking, singing cricket friend. The actors who played them were...
  Lucille La Verne had had an extensive stage career before she was cast as the voice of the evil queen in Snow White. She was also a model for the artists creating the old crone – who the queen turns into to trick Snow White into biting into the apple. She retired immediately afterwards and opened a successful nightclub before dying of cancer in 1945.
 LEFT: Like many early Disney stars, Cliff Edwards appeared in more than one animated film. His first was as Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio – a character best known for singing the song When You Wish Upon a Star – before later playing the crow in Dumbo. Outside of films Edwards was also a successful ukulele player who had a number one hit with a cover of Singin’ in the Rain in 1929.
RIGHT: Dickie Jones was just 13 years old when he starred as Pinocchio in 1940. Afterwards he had a reasonably successful acting career until he gave it all up in 1959 to go into real estate. He’s still alive today and has been known to appear at Disney promotional events.
Comedian Verna Felton was one of the true stars of Disney. She was already a regular film, television and radio actress when she was cast in her first Disney film as Mrs Jumbo in Dumbo (top right). She went on to play the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (bottom right), Flora in Sleeping Beauty (top left), Winifred the Elephant in The Jungle Book and mean Siamese cat-owning Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp (bottom left). Late on December 14, 1966 she died of a stroke, aged 76. Just hours later Walt Disney himself passed away.

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