Aurora in her blue ball gown.
|First appearance||Sleeping Beauty (1959)|
|Last appearance||Maleficent (2014)|
|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)
Janet McTeer (elderly; narrator) (Maleficent)
|Full name||Princess Aurora|
Queen of the human and fairy realms (in Maleficent only)
|Family||King Stefan (father)
Queen Leah (mother)
King Henry (maternal grandfather, deceased; in Maleficent only)
Flora, Fauna, Merryweather and Maleficent (godmothers)
|Children||Princess Audrey (daughter; in Descendants only)
Prince Phillip Jr. (son; in Once Upon a Time only)
|Relatives||King Hubert (father-in-law)
Prince Phillip's unnamed mother (mother-in-law, deceased)
Created by Walt Disney and animated by Marc Davis, Aurora is the princess of a fictionalized English kingdom set in the 14th century and King Stefan's and Queen Leah's only daughter. At her christening, three good fairies are invited to bless her with gifts of beauty and song. However, she is also cursed by the wicked and jealous fairy Maleficent, who foretold that on her sixteenth 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 she pricked her finger, she would only fall into a deep slumber and be awakened by the kiss of Prince Phillip, to whom she was betrothed at birth. She was voiced by Mary Costa.
- 1 Development
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Signature song
- 4 Appearances
- 5 In other media
- 6 Trademark
- 7 Reception and legacy
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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 they would blend with the angular forms of the background images.
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.
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, who was the wife of animator Marc Davis (until his death in 2000). This was the first work Alice did in the Disney studio, during which she became the wife of Marc 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, for which Walt Disney had been trying to find the right voice for three years. 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, at the age 15–16 years old, has long blonde hair "of sunshine gold" with curls at the end, violet eyes, lips naturally "red as the rose", and fair complexion. She has a kind, gentle, sweet, graceful and charming attitude, and her singing voice is so good that it entertains even animals.
Aurora is generally depicted wearing her signature blue or pink ball gown with a petal overskirt, a neatly-laced white petticoat, long triangular sleeves, along with blue or pink slippers, a gold choker, and a gold tiara. As Briar Rose, she wears a black headband, a grey dress with a black bodice and white petticoat, a purple shawl and bare feet.
While under the name of Briar Rose, sixteen-year-old Aurora sings her signature romance song "Once Upon a Dream." In her dreams she remembers meeting a prince and believes that is her one true love. She does not know yet that she is a princess. What she does not know is that she met Prince Phillip when she was a baby, but she does not remember because she was just an infant. Eventually Phillip hears the song and sings and dances with her, much to her surprise. After the song, they eventually fall in love with each other. As she did not know his name, Aurora was unaware that he was the prince she was betrothed to at birth. Her song is sung in the ending credits of Maleficent.
Princess Aurora was born to King Stefan and Queen Leah. At her christening, she was given the gifts of beauty and song by the fairies Flora and Fauna. Following this, the evil sorceress named Maleficent appears, angry at not being invited, and puts a curse of eternal slumber on Aurora; stating that at the age of sixteen, she would prick her finger on the spindle from a spinning wheel and die. Luckily the third good fairy, named Merryweather, had not yet presented a gift 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, in fact, Prince Phillip who is betrothed to her and they agreed to meet again that evening.
Meanwhile the three good fairies are preparing for her birthday when they plan to surprise her with the news that she is a princess. But when Briar Rose returns with the news of meeting a handsome and enchanting man, the fairies must tell her she can never see him again, like Aurora not knowing who he really is. 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. The three good fairies try to stop her, but Maleficent's spell is too strong and Aurora touches the spindle, pricking her finger in the process, and falls to the floor, unconscious. She is 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 kills Maleficent, who transformed into a dragon, he moves upstairs to find Aurora in her deep, deathlike slumber. He kisses her on her lips, awakening her from her curse of eternal sleep and smiles. She comes down the stairs, arm in arm along with Philip, and meets her parents. She and Philip then dance together, officially starting their marriage in the form of a romantic kiss.
In this version of events, Maleficent shared quite a close history with Stefan, Aurora's father, until he betrayed her and cut her wings off in order to ascend to the throne of his kingdom with Maleficent cursing his newborn daughter Aurora in retaliation. However, as she watches the fairies's awkward attempts to care for Aurora, Maleficent starts to protect her, initially to ensure Aurora's survival until her curse can take full effect, but eventually comes to care about Aurora as a daughter, Aurora in return regarding Maleficent as her 'fairy godmother' until she learns the truth, displaying great affection for the Moors where Maleficent and other fairies's dwell.
When Aurora falls victim to the curse, it is Maleficent's motherly kiss to her forehead in regret for her actions that breaks the curse with Aurora later returning Maleficent's feathered wings when Stefan's forces try to kill her. At the film's conclusion, Aurora is crowned queen of the human kingdom and the Moors, uniting both kingdoms under her rule. Prince Philip appears in the film, but their relationship is only briefly covered; although it is left with the potential to become something deeper.
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
In the beginning of the movie, Princess Aurora introduces herself in her bright pink dress. 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, Queen Leah, that being a princess is not 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 Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, 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, King Stefan and Queen Leah, 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
Disney Princess franchise
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.
Princess Aurora is often seen in the theme parks as a meet-and-greet character, played by a cast member. 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 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.
Aurora appears in the Nintendo 3DS game "Disney Magical World" as part of a DLC package. Upon purchase of the package, the player will have immediate access to some Aurora- and Sleeping Beauty-themed items and clothing pieces, and he or she is able to craft more items by collecting the necessary ingredients. Aurora and Prince Phillip appear in person by using the items to throw Sleeping Beauty-themed parties at the player's café. Without purchasing the DLC package, the player will still be able to find some Sleeping Beauty-themed clothing pieces in the game, but Aurora herself will not make an appearance.
A live-action version of Aurora is a recurring character in the second, third, and fourth 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, Briar Rose, 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. After the second curse returns everyone to the enchanted forest Aurora (who is pregnant) doesn't want herself or Philip to warn Snow or the others about the Wicked Witch of the West, fearing for her unbrn child. Aurora and Philip are turned into flying monkeys and are not turned back until the last episode of the season. Aurora is turned back to human right before she gives birth.
She made a guest appearance in a Sofia the First episode, Holiday in Enchancia called on by the mystical amulet of Avalor to assist young Princess Sofia in finding her missing stepfather, King Roland II. She assured Sofia that she could rely on her animal friends' to help just she had long ago.
The Walt Disney Company currently has a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office, filed March 13, 2007, for the name "Princess Aurora" that covers production and distribution of motion picture films; production of television programs; production of sound and video recordings. This has caused some 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 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." E! Online found Aurora, "Pretty...but so, so boring." In 2013, Cosmopolitan ranked the character the tenth greatest Disney Princess, only ahead of Snow White.
Despite her mixed reception, 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.
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A recipient of the Disney Legends Award, Costa has been bestowed some of the highest honors of opera, among them, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and acknowledgement by the Metropolitan Opera Guild for Distinguished Verdi Performances of the 20th Century.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)