All actors have a special gift with the ability to hide behind a character. Voice actors are able to go one step further by masking their physical appearance to become someone completely different. Disney has created countless beloved characters for generations but viewers may not realize that many characters were played by the same actor. Here are 10 Actors You Didn’t Know Voiced More than one Major Disney Movie Character
Sterling Holloway Cheshire Cat and Winnie the Pooh
Cheshire Cat and Winnie the Pooh were voiced by Sterling Holloway. The actor was one of the original voice actors hired by Walt Disney. His credits expand far beyond the two characters but Cheshire Cat and Winnie the Pooh may be his most beloved work in his sixty year career. 1951’s Alice in Wonderland based on Lewis Carroll’s novel, showcased Holloway as the devious feline who insists on confusing Alice in the mysterious land. Holloway also played the similarly mischievous Kaa from Disney’s The Jungle Book. He was then given the role of Winnie Pooh in the 1960s. He continued the role in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh until 1977. Pooh’s rumbly-tumbly and bumbly persona may seem like a completely different character for Holloway but he defined the role as others only impersonate the sound he created.
Kathryn, Beaumont, Alice and Wendy
Kathryn Beaumont was only twelve years-old when she was discovered by Walt Disney and given the role of Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Her youthful voice lent an innocence that could not be easily feigned by an older actress. When Walt was casting the role of a similarly positive young girl who ends up in a magical land, he looked no further than Beaumont, for the role of Wendy Darling in 1953’s Peter Pan. The two characters don’t just sound similar, they also have a nearly identical face as the animators based the characters on the small featured actress. Kathryn Beaumont was pleased to be a Disney legend and showed that appreciation by voicing the two characters until 2005 for television specials and video games. After that she retired and a younger actress stepped into the petite shoes of Alice and Wendy.
Eleanor Audley, Lady Tremaine and Maleficent
Two of the most wicked antagonists to Disney princesses are Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and Aurora’s insanely bitter Godmother Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Their similar devilish demeanor and chilling voices are from actress Eleanor Audley. Audley worked in television, film and radio for years before obtaining the roles. She initially turned down the role for Maleficent due to her battling tuberculosis at the time, but she was made for the role. The animators based both characters on the actress as it was common to dress the model in the character’s attire to get a realistic design. The malevolent evil-doers were not the only voice Audley did for Disney, she can be heard to this day as Madame Leona, the psychic spirit in The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland and Disney World.
Jodi Benson, Ariel and Barbie
Ariel is a teenage mermaid who just wants to be part of our world which requires feet but apparently not much talking. Barbie is a Mattel creation that became part of Andy’s toy crew. The two characters share a bubbly disposition and struggle unnaturally on the legs they are given. They were also both played by Broadway actress Jodi Benson. The Tony Award winning actress began her career in the early 1980s. She cross paths with someone involved with 1989’s The Little Mermaid so she decided to send in a demo of herself. After getting the part she has continued to voice Ariel in films, television, video games, and specials. For the role of Barbie in Toy Story 2, Disney did not have to look far as Benson was the ideal sound for the leggy blonde.