Aurora in her (Pink) ball gown.
|First appearance||Sleeping Beauty (1959)|
|Created by||Charles Perrault
The Brothers Grimm
Marc Davis (supervising animator, 1959)
Glen Keane (supervising animator, currently)
|Voiced by||Mary Costa (original film)
Erin Torpey (speaking, sequels/some merchandise)
Cassidy Ladden (singing, sequels)
Christie Houser (singing, studio)
Jennifer Hale (speaking, House of Mouse, Kingdom Hearts, merchandise, games, 2001-2005 2007-2012)
Kate Higgins (singing and speaking, currently)
|Aliases||Princess Aurora, Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty|
|Family||King Stefan (father)
Queen Leah (mother)
King Hubert (father-in-law)
Prince Phillip's mother (mother-in-law, deceased)
Flora, Fauna, Merryweather and Maleficent (fairy godmothers)
Princess Aurora is a fictional character and the titular character of Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, who is based from "The Beauty sleeping in the Wood" by Charles Perrault, published in 1697. "Little Briar Rose", the title of the German version of the fairy tale published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 is given for the peasant guise. Aurora was first voiced by Mary Costa in the 1959 film. Erin Torpey took over in the sequels and was later replaced by Jennifer Hale, until 2013 when Kate Higgins took her place. Aurora is the third member of the Disney Princess line.
Created by Walt Disney and animated by Marc Davis, Aurora is the princess of a fictionalized English kingdom and the only daughter of King Stefan and Queen Leah. At her birth, two of three good fairies predicted that she would one day possess great beauty of person and of voice. However, on that day, she was also cursed by the evil fairy Maleficent, who foretold that on her 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on a Spinning wheel's spindle and die. The third remaining good fairy then altered the curse so that, when pricked with the spindle, she would only fall into a deep slumber, from which she would only be awakened by the kiss of Prince Phillip, to whom she was betrothed at birth.
The original character design of Aurora was done by Tom Oreb, who modeled the princess after the elegant, slender features of actress Audrey Hepburn. Aurora's lead animator, Marc Davis, who previously animated Cinderella, working with sketches by Oreb, finished the appearance and clothing of the heroine, so that they would blend with the angular forms of the background images. In "Sleeping Beauty", he also animated the wicked Maleficent.
As done with other Disney films, Walt Disney hired an actress to perform live-action scenes as a reference for the animation process. Actress Helene Stanley performed the live-action reference for Princess Aurora. She did the same kind of work for the characters of Anita in One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Cinderella.
According to Christopher Finch, author of The Art of Walt Disney:
|“||Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. [...] [The animators] understood the necessity for this approach and in retrospect acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety.||”|
Costume design for the Aurora engaged Alice Davis, which was the wife of animator Marc Davis (until his death in 2000). This was the first work in the studio Alice Disney, during which she became the wife of Mark Davis (1956).
Once, Mary Costa (voice of Aurora) attended a party with her future husband, director Frank Tashlin, where she happened to connect with the right people, and soon found herself auditioning for the part of Princess Aurora, where for about three years conducted an audition on the role of Aurora. The singer started having problems with the voice of the character: since Mary Costa was from the South, she spoke with a southern accent, but Aurora was not from the American South, so Costa had to resist slipping into her natural accent while recording.
Aurora is a 16-year old maiden with hair of sunshine gold, lips as red as rose, violet eyes and fair complexion. She's best described as sweet, naive, playful, gentle and refined. She doesn't like the fact that the fairies won't let her meet anybody and often longs to meet new people and do new things. Aurora is heartbroken when she learns she must never see the handsome Prince Phillip again.
Finally, Aurora wears her ball gown that the three fairies made her for the ball. Aurora's ball gown features a petal-style peplum and long triangular sleeves. Flora and Merryweather argue over the color being blue or pink, however the dress stays blue throughout most of the film. Aurora also wears matching high heels, a gold choker, and a gold tiara.
In Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams, Aurora wears a long pink dress similar to her signature ball gown, along with her usual high heels, choker, and tiara. At bedtime, she wears a powder blue nightgown with a matching headband, and uses the wand to briefly turn it into a gold ball gown with a matching necklace, earrings, and tiara.
Princess Aurora was born from King Stefan and his wife, Queen Leah. At her christening, she was given gifts by two of the three fairies that showed up. Following this, the evil fairy named Maleficent showed up, angry and furious at not being invited, and put a curse on Aurora stating that at the age of sixteen, she would prick her finger on the spindle from the spinning wheel and die. Luckily the third good fairy, named Merryweather, had not presented a gift yet and is able to change the curse to sleep instead of death which only True Love's Kiss could break. Concerned, the three good fairies take Aurora to a secluded cottage in the forest and change her name to Briar Rose. When Aurora grows to be a teenager, she is dancing and singing in the forest when she meets a handsome man who happened to hear her singing. Briar Rose does not realize he is Prince Phillip who is betrothed to her, and they agree to meet again that evening.
Meanwhile the three good fairies are preparing for her birthday and to surprise her with the news that she is a princess. But when Briar Rose returns with the news of meeting a handsome & enchanting man, Prince Phillip the fairies must tell her she can never see him again. The three fairies tell her about the future that is set for her and that night they take her back to the castle. Aurora is saddened that she will never see the man from the forest and breaks into tears. The three fairies exit the room they secretly entered so as to let the princess have a few moments alone. Aurora suddenly sees a floating spark of light cast by Maleficent and, in a trance, follows the spark through the back of the fireplace and up a staircase to an abandoned empty room to a spinning wheel that was conjured up. All the three good fairies try to stop her, but Maleficent's spell is too strong and Aurora touches the spindle, pricking her finger. She is then put in a bed by the fairies where she can sleep peacefully within the highest tower. To prevent further hurt in the kingdom, the fairies put the whole kingdom to sleep. They discover from King Hubert that his son Prince Phillip was the man in the forest that Aurora had met and he's walking into a trap, and they help him confront Maleficent. After Prince Phillip fights and seemingly kills Maleficent, who transformed into a dragon, he moves upstairs to where Aurora slumbers and kisses her on her lips; she wakes up from the spell and smiles. They dance at the ball announcing her betrothal.
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
In the beginning of the movie, Princess Aurora introduces herself. This is very important, since little can be known about Aurora's personality from Sleeping Beauty. After she asks a question, she guides the viewer to the scene where she is told by her father, King Stefan and her mother, Leah, that being a princess is so easy. Then after both her parents and Prince Phillip leave, she has some duties to do when as a princess. During the "Keys To The Kingdom" musical number, she orders her servants to cook food, plant tulips, lilies, and orange trees, cut topiary, and paint the trellis pink. She has been taken to the table in a chair where she can wait for her guests to come for the party. Later on, the clumsy Duke helps her sign the forms and reviews what she has found. There is a speech sheet with a golden medal on it King Hubert has forgotten to take. She instantly sends it to the three good fairies and is told by Merryweather that she has to use her wand for magic. When she uses it to make the giant chickens, green pigs, and brown cows appear, one of the brown cows chases the Duke. She then manages to sell cows to the farmer who meets her and the other peasants who wait for too long. After Prince Phillip, King Hubert, her parents and the Good fairies return, they all attend a banquet together and she talks about how she enjoyed her own duties. After the movie Aurora thanks the viewer for watching her story and gives a goodbye wave.
In other media
Princess Aurora appears in the Kingdom Hearts series as one of the seven Princesses of Heart (maidens who lack darkness in their hearts). In the first Kingdom Hearts game, she is the first Princess of Heart to be kidnapped by Maleficent. Soon after being kidnapped, her world, the Enchanted Dominion, is destroyed by the Heartless. She is held hostage at Hollow Bastion along with the other princesses through most of the game. Eventually, Riku (while being possessed by Xehanort's Heartless) uses her heart (along with the hearts of Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Alice and Jasmine) to create the Keyblade of People's Hearts, a mysterious weapon which can unlock the darkness in people's hearts. Eventually, after Sora sacrifices himself to awaken Kairi (the seventh princess), the Keyblade of People's Hearts is destroyed and Aurora's heart flies back to her body, but not before the Princesses' Hearts leave darkness flowing out of the Keyhole of Hollow Bastion. Aurora and the other princesses remain in Hollow Bastion, using the light in their hearts to hold the darkness back until the keyhole is sealed. At the end of the game, Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy defeat Xehanort's Heartless, the Enchanted Dominion is restored, and Aurora returns to her home. She is briefly mentioned in Kingdom Hearts II, where her name is part of the password for Ansem's computer. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the same events from the 1959 film occurred until Terra arrives at the Enchanted Dominion. By that time, Aurora has already been placed in a deep slumber under the influence of the curse laid by Maleficent. When Terra reaches the tower and meets Maleficent, she uses the darkness in his heart to temporarily take control of his body and forces him to take Aurora's heart. Her heart was kept in Maleficent's castle until Ventus comes to retrieve it with the three fairies. Although her heart returned, the curse is not broken. Prince Phillip eventually escapes with Aqua's aid and reaches the tower where he kisses Aurora and breaks the spell.
A live-action version of Aurora is a recurring character in the second and third seasons of the television series, Once Upon a Time and she is portrayed by Sarah Bolger. Oddly, Aurora is found sleeping in a desert palace and her clothing bears a Middle Eastern flavor (apart from her tiara, which looks Elven). She is at least the second "Sleeping Beauty" in the series continuity: it is mentioned that her mother was afflicted with the same curse by Maleficent years before. The sleeping curse is the same one that the Evil Queen used on Snow White; this becomes an important plot point later in the season.
Princess Aurora is often seen in the theme parks as a meet-and-greet character, played by a cast member. She usually wears her pink ball gown and tiara. The iconic castle in Disneyland is called the Sleeping Beauty Castle. There is also a Sleeping Beauty castle in Hong Kong Disneyland and in Disneyland Paris, called Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (French for previously mentioned title). Park visitors are able to walk through the castle and view several dioramas depicting scenes from the Disney film Sleeping Beauty. The original dioramas were designed in the style of Eyvind Earle, production designer for the film. Aurora and the other Disney Princesses also have a meet and greet attraction called Princess Fairytale Hall at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Princess Aurora is an official member of the Disney Princess line, a prominent franchise directed at young girls. The franchise covers a wide variety of merchandise, including but not limited to magazines, music albums, toys, video games, clothes and stationery.
The Walt Disney Company currently has a trademark application pending with the US Patent and Trademark Office, filed March 13, 2007, for the name "Princess Aurora" that would cover all live and recorded movie, television, radio, stage, computer, Internet, news, and photographic entertainment uses, except literature works of fiction and nonfiction. This has caused controversy because "Princess Aurora" is the name of the lead character in The Sleeping Beauty Ballet, from where Disney acquired the name and some of the music for its animated film, and which is performed live on stage and sometimes television and often sold later as a recorded performance on video. The trademark was granted despite this on January 17, 2012.
Reception and legacy
Aurora has received generally mixed reception. Variety praised Mary Costa's "rich and expressive" vocal performance, accrediting it with giving the character "substance and strength". Rob Burch, of Hollywood News, found Aurora to be a "naive but well-rounded character". Bosley Crowther of The New York Times was fairly mixed in his review of the character, criticizing her overall similarity to Snow White. Crowther wrote, "The princess looks so much like Snow White they could be a couple of Miss Rheingolds separated by three or four years."
Time Out gave the character a fairly negative review, describing her as "a delicate, vapid princess". Entertainment Weekly's Steve Daly did not find Aurora to be "as much fun as the three fussy-old-lady fairies". Mary Costa, the original voice of Aurora, said that she was not fond of the way that the character was written in Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams and also felt that the story did not work. However, Aurora is one of the most popular princesses, being the second to appear in most of the marketing in the Disney princess franchise, tied up with Belle, and behind Cinderella. Mary Costa also received a Disney Legends Award for voicing the character.
- J. P. Chism. "Sleeping Beauty at the El Capitan Theatre". dvdizzy.com. Retrieved April 14, 2013. "Mary Costa gave a wonderful retelling of how in Hollywood it is all about being in the right place at the right time. She got the audition for Princess Aurora when she took center stage beside a dinner party piano in the company of just the right person. At 10am the next day, she auditioned in front of most of the crew. They asked her to do the English accent, and when she proved capable of sustaining one, she went home to await the call."
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