Benson at the World of Color Premiere Disney California Adventure
Jodi Marie Marzorati
October 10, 1961
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, voice actress, singer|
|Awards||Disney Legend (2011)|
Jodi Marie Benson (née Marzorati; born October 10, 1961) is an American actress, voice actress, and singer. She is best known for providing both the speaking and the singing voice of Princess Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid and its sequel, prequel, and television series spinoff. Benson voiced the character Barbie in the 1999 Golden Globe-winning movie Toy Story 2 and its 2010 Academy Award-winning sequel Toy Story 3. She also voiced Barbie in the Toy Story cartoon Hawaiian Vacation. For her contributions to Disney, Benson was named a Disney Legend in 2011.
She also gave voice to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber, starring Robin Williams. For Warner Bros., she created the voice of Thumbelina in 1994, a Don Bluth animated feature film with songs by Barry Manilow. Her other projects include Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, Balto II: Wolf Quest, and Balto III: Wings of Change. She appeared as Patrick Dempsey’s assistant Sam in Disney’s live-action feature film Enchanted. While being a Disney Legend, she also voiced Jane Doe and Patsy Smiles in Cartoon Network's Camp Lazlo. She also voiced the character Tula in Fox's animated series The Pirates of Dark Water.
Benson was born and raised in a Catholic environment, graduating from Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois, and Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. She experienced a religious conversion while dating actor/singer Ray Benson (not to be confused with frontman Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel). The two of them later married in 1984. They have two children, McKinley and Delaney. An article originally published in 2013 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the couple "live north of Atlanta, Ga."
Benson made her debut in the 1975 Kenny Ortega-directed "Marilyn: An American Fable". Other Broadway credits include a starring role in the 1986 Broadway musical Smile, where she introduced a song called "Disneyland". In 1987, Howard Ashman, the lyricist of Smile, would go on to write the lyrics for The Little Mermaid. She describes the song "Disneyland" at the "Smile" Reunion concert held on Sept. 22, 2014, "This is the first piece of the puzzle of my life, the first step of the journey, so to speak". Benson also sings "Disneyland" on a compilation CD called Unsung Musicals. In 1989, Benson appeared in the Broadway musical, Welcome to the Club, alongside Samuel E. Wright, who performed the voice for Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid.
In 1992, Benson received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Polly Baker in Crazy For You. She played the narrator in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1998.
She was at the 2012 SYTA conference singing her signature song “Part of Your World” on August 27, 2012.
Benson has been the guest artist for the Candlelight Processional for five years at Walt Disney World including December 10–13, 2012.
She joined the "2013 Spring Pops" on May 14–15, 2013 as a guest soloist with the Boston Pops.
Benson can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a six-part DVD series entitled Baby Faith from the creators of Baby Einstein. Her animated TV series include the Emmy Award-winning Camp Lazlo for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid, Batman Beyond, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Wild Thornberrys, Barbie, Hercules: Zero to Hero, P. J. Sparkles, and the series Sofia the First for Disney.
On the concert stage, Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world, including The Boston Pops, The Philly Pops (conductor: Peter Nero), The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (conductor: John Mauceri), The National Symphony (conductor: Marvin Hamlisch), Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo, and the San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies. She starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, and in Disney's Premiere in Central Park with Pocahontas, The Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Benson is the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation.
On June 6, 2016, Benson performed the role of Ariel at the Hollywood Bowl's concert performance of The Little Mermaid. She also made a special appearance in ABC's 2019 live musical spectacular The Little Mermaid Live!
The Little Mermaid
In late 1986, Benson first heard of the audition for The Little Mermaid through lyricist and playwright Howard Ashman. The two had just worked together in the Broadway show Smile until its run ended early. He knew she would be the perfect fit for the role and that she would be a great replica of Ariel. After hearing the demo for "Part of Your World", she sang a small part of it on tape where it was later sent to Disney executives. Before her audition for The Little Mermaid, she was primarily a stage actress. It was Ashman's first Disney project. In early 1988, Benson won the role of Ariel.
|1991||Hunter||Police officer||TV series|
|1997||Caroline in the City||Mother||TV series|
|2003||The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire||Choir Soloist||TV series|
|2019||The Little Mermaid Live!||Herself||Special|
|1984||Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind||Lastelle's Mother||2004 Disney Dub|
|1989||The Little Mermaid||Princess Ariel/Vanessa||Voice role|
|1991||Pirates of Dark Water||Tula||TV series (voice)|
|1992||Dance! Workout with Barbie||Barbie||Video (voice)|
|P. J. Sparkles||P.J. (1988 Mattel)||Voice|
|1992–1994||The Little Mermaid||Princess Ariel||TV series (voice)|
|A Christmas Carol||Belle||Voice role|
|1998||The Mighty Kong||Ann Darrow||Voice role|
|An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island||Additional Voices||Direct-to-video|
|Hercules||Helen of Troy||TV series (voice)|
|1999||Toy Story 2||Barbie||Voice role|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys||Mother Cheetah||Episode: "Cheetahs Never Prosper"|
|The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea||Princess Ariel||Direct-to-video|
|Joseph: King of Dreams||Asenath||Direct-to-video|
|Batman Beyond||Aquagirl||Episode: "The Call" Parts 1 & 2|
|2001||Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure||Lady (replacing Barbara Luddy)||Direct-to-video|
Nominated - Annie Award for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production
|Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse||Princess Ariel||Direct-to-video|
|House of Mouse||Princess Ariel||TV series (voice)|
|The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy||The Blue Fairy||Additional Voices|
|2002||Balto II: Wolf Quest||Jenna (replacing Bridget Fonda in the rest of the franchise)||Direct-to-video|
|Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe In Santa||Lenee||Voice role|
|2003||101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure||Anita (replacing Lisa Davis)||Direct-to-video|
|K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments||Leila and Martha||Voice role|
|2005||Balto III: Wings of Change||Jenna||Direct-to-video|
|2005–2007||Camp Lazlo||Patsy Smiles, Ms. Jane Doe, Almondine||Voice role|
|2008||The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning||Princess Ariel||Direct-to-video|
|2010||Toy Story 3||Barbie||Voice role|
|2011||The Little Engine That Could||Jillian||Voice role|
|2012||Secret of the Wings||Healing-Talent Fairy||Voice role|
|2013–2018||Sofia the First||Princess Ariel and Queen Emmaline||2 Episodes|
|2015||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Singing Teacher||Episode: "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses"|
|2016||Clarence||Diana||Episode: "The Tails of Mardrynia"|
|2018||Ralph Breaks the Internet||Princess Ariel||Voice role|
|1990||Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect||Princess Arabella||Voice|
|1992||Disney Sing Along Songs: Friend Like Me||Princess Ariel||Voice, archive footage|
|1994||Disney Sing Along Songs: Circle of Life||Princess Ariel||Voice, archive footage|
|1995||Mickey's Fun Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World||Princess Ariel||Voice, live action|
|1995||Guideposts Junction||Herself||A six-part Christian video series for children|
|1997||Ariel's Story Studio||Princess Ariel|
|1998||A Bug's Life||Atta|
|1999||Disney's Arcade Frenzy||Princess Ariel|
|2000||Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge||Nasira|
|2002||Kingdom Hearts||Princess Ariel||English dub|
|2004||Onimusha 3: Demon Siege||Voice of Mother|||
|2005||Kingdom Hearts II||Princess Ariel||English dub|
|2007||Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey||Princess Ariel|
|2011||Kinect Disneyland Adventures||Princess Ariel|
|2012||Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure||Princess Ariel|
|2012||Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion||Princess Ariel|
|2016||Disney Magical World 2||Princess Ariel|
Theme park attractions
|2003||Mickey's PhilharMagic||Princess Ariel||Voice role|
|1990||The Little Mermaid Soundtrack|
|1991||Precious Moments Timmy's Gift||Performed the song, Starlight Theme|
|1991||Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible I|
|1992||Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible II|
|1992||The Little Mermaid: Splash Hits|
|1992||Crazy for You Cast Recording|
|1993||The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea|
|1995||Songs of Guideposts Junction|
|1996||Hollywood Christmas||Various artists|
|2000||The Little Mermaid II (soundtrack)|
|2004||Disney Princess: The Ultimate Song Collection|
|2004||Disney Princess Music Hits|
|2005||Disneys Princess Christmas Album|
|2005||Disney Princess Tea Party|
|2006||Ultimate Disney Princess|
Awards and nominations
|1992||Tony Award||Best Actress in a Musical||Crazy For You||Nominated|
|2001||Annie Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production||Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure||Nominated|
|2011||Disney Legend Award||Animation - Voice||The Little Mermaid||Won|
|2011||EDA Female Focus Awards||Best Animated Female||Toy Story 3||Nominated|
- "Jodi Benson". Hollywood.com. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Video: Disney Princess voices, Regis Philbin, Hensons accept their Disney Legends awards at the 2011 D23 Expo". Inside the Magic. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- "GETTING ALONG SWIMMINGLY". Jan 10, 1992. Retrieved Jun 17, 2019 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- Gaither, Gloria (August 1, 2011). "Part Of Her World: Jodi Benson". Homecoming Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
I was born and raised in a Catholic environment, she has a sister. I would say it was a little more cultural than spiritual — a little bit more religious than relational. And I was drawing toward the Lord in middle school, but I didn’t quite know how to have that personal relationship at the time. When I started dating my husband at 18, he introduced me to Christ, and asked, “Do you have a relationship with Jesus?” And I said, “I love Him, and I know He’s the Son of God, but I don’t think I have a relationship with Him — like I can talk to Him by myself without going through the priest and stuff.” And so, I had a really big conversion when I was 19, and Ray is responsible for opening that relationship for me.
- Braun, Georgette. "Little Mermaid star at Boylan fundraiser April 17". Rockford Register Star. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
- Cain, Tim. "100 reason: Original Ariel voice launched from Millikin". Decatur Herald & Review. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
- Breslauer, Jan (December 10, 1995). "Just Like a Fish to Water : Jodi Benson made a splash as the voice of Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid,' but she's really hitting her stride in musicals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Truitt, Brian (October 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Jothen, Tiffany (November 17, 2014). "Little Mermaid, Big Faith". Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
- Ellis, Jeffrey. "Headley, Mauzey, Benson Lead Starry Lineup for CINDERELLA, 5/14". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved Jun 17, 2019.
- "'Candlelight Choir' Sneak Peek: Neil Patrick Harris Returns". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved Jun 17, 2019.
- JODI BENSON TO REPRISE HER ROLE AS ARIEL IN ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE OF THE LITTLE MERMAID: LIVE IN CONCERT Oh My Disney, Retrieved June 8, 2016
- Coffey, Kelly (November 2, 2019). "Jodi Benson, original voice of Ariel, to appear in ABC's "The Little Mermaid Live!"". Inside the Magic. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
- "An Interview with Jodi Benson, Voice of Ariel". blogs.disney.com. Disney Insider. 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
- Truitt, Brian (Oct 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
- "Jodi Benson: 25 Years Of Voicing Ariel". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved Jun 17, 2019.
- Capcom (2004-04-27). Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. Scene: Closing credits, 0:45 in, cast.
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