Jodi Benson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jodi Benson
Jodi Benson Photo Op GalaxyCon Columbus 2022 (cropped).jpg
Benson in 2022
Jodi Marie Marzorati

(1961-10-10) October 10, 1961 (age 61)[1]
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1982–present
Ray Benson
(m. 1984)
AwardsDisney Legend (2011)

Jodi Marie Benson (née Marzorati; born October 10, 1961)[1] is an American actress and singer. She is best known for providing the voice of Ariel in Disney's 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid and throughout other films, including its sequel, prequel, and television series spin-off, as well as many other Disney works going up to the present day of the 2020s. Benson also filled in for Paige O'Hara as the voice of Belle in House of Mouse and voiced the character Barbie in the second and third films of the Toy Story franchise (1999–2010), and in the Toy Story Toons short Hawaiian Vacation (2011). For her contributions to Disney, Benson was named a Disney Legend in 2011.[2]

She also gave voice to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber, starring Robin Williams. For Warner Bros., she did the voice of the title character in Thumbelina in 1994, a Don Bluth animated feature film with songs by Barry Manilow.[3] Her other projects include Secret of the Wings, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, Balto: 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 Hanna-Barbera's animated series The Pirates of Dark Water.

Personal life[edit]

Benson was born and raised in a Catholic family,[4] graduating from Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois,[5] and Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.[6]

She experienced a religious conversion while dating actor/singer Ray Benson (not to be confused with frontman Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel).[4] The two of them later married in 1984.[7] They have two children, McKinley and Delaney.[8] An article originally published in 2013 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the couple "live north of Atlanta, GA."[9]


Benson made her debut in the 1983 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 September 22, 2014, "This is the first piece of the puzzle of my life, the first step of the journey, so to speak".[citation needed] 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.

In 2004–06, Benson became the host and narrator of the children's Christian home video series called "Baby Faith", created by Integrity Publishers & FamilyTreeMedia.

In 2007, she played the secretary Sam in Disney's live-action/animated film, Enchanted.[10] Benson also played the Queen in a one-night concert version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in May 2010.[11]

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.[12]

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. Her animated TV series include the Emmy Award-winning Camp Lazlo for 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.[13] She also made a special appearance in ABC's 2019 live musical spectacular The Little Mermaid Live![14] Benson was originally going to reprise her role as Sam in the 2022 film Disenchanted, but her scene was cut from the movie.[15] She recently lent her voice to Ariel in the 2022 video game Disney Dreamlight Valley as well as singing as Ariel on various Disney Princess albums of the 2000s. From 1992 to 2011 she was the official voice of Barbie for Mattel and Pixar for projects such as Toy Story and Dance! Workout with Barbie, until the role was taken over by Kate Higgins starting with the series Life in the Dreamhouse.

The Little Mermaid[edit]

Benson performing "Part of Your World" at the 2022 Phoenix Fan Fusion

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.[16][17] 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 and has been voicing her ever since.[16][18] She also made a cameo in the 2023 live-action adaptation of the film, directed by Rob Marshall, as a market vendor during Ariel (Halle Bailey) and Eric's (Jonah Hauer-King) tour of the kingdom.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Little Mermaid Ariel (voice)
Vanessa (voice) Vanessa is the Human alter-ego of Ursula.
1992 Dance! Workout with Barbie Barbie (voice) Direct-to-video
1994 Thumbelina Thumbelina (voice)
1995 Mickey's Fun Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World Ariel (voice) Direct-to-video
Guideposts Junction Herself A six-part Christian video series for children
1997 Flubber Weebo (voice)
A Christmas Carol Belle (voice)
1998 The Mighty Kong Ann Darrow (voice) Direct-to-video
1999 Toy Story 2 Barbie (voice)
2000 The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea Ariel (voice) Direct-to-video
Joseph: King of Dreams Asenath (voice)
2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Lady (voice)
2002 Balto: Wolf Quest Jenna (voice)
Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe In Santa Lenee (voice) Television film
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Anita (voice) Direct-to-video
K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments Leila (voice)
Martha (voice)
2004 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Lastelle's Mother (voice) English dub
Balto III: Wings of Change Jenna (voice) Direct-to-video
2007 Enchanted Sam
2008 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning Ariel (voice) Direct-to-video
2010 Toy Story 3 Barbie (voice)
2011 The Little Engine That Could Jillian (voice)
2012 Secret of the Wings Healing-Talent Fairy (voice)
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Ariel (voice)
2023 The Little Mermaid Market Vendor Cameo[19]


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Hunter Police officer Episode: "Cries of Silence"
1991–1993 The Pirates of Dark Water Tula (voice) 21 episodes
1992 P. J. Sparkles P.J. (voice) Television special
1992–1994 The Little Mermaid Princess Ariel (voice) 31 episodes
1997 Caroline in the City Mother Episode: "Caroline and the Egg"
1998 Pepper Ann Amber O'Malley (voice) Episode: "Green Eyed Monster"
1998–1999 Hercules Helen of Troy (voice) 10 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Mother Cheetah (voice) Episode: "Cheetahs Never Prosper"
Batman Beyond Aquagirl (voice) Episode: "The Call" Parts 1 & 2
2001–2003 House of Mouse Ariel, Belle (voices) 3 episodes
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire Choir Soloist Episode: "Sleeping Lions"
2004–2006 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy The Blue Fairy, Additional voices 3 episodes
2005–2008 Camp Lazlo Patsy Smiles, Ms. Jane Doe, Almondine (voices) 21 episodes
2011 Toy Story Toons Barbie (voice) Episode: "Hawaiian Vacation"
2013–2018 Sofia the First Princess Ariel, Queen Emmaline (voices) 2 episodes
2015 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Singing Teacher (voice) Episode: "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses"
2016 Clarence Diana (voice) Episode: "The Tails of Mardrynia"
2019 The Little Mermaid Live! Herself TV special
2022–present The Wingfeather Saga Nia (voice) 6 episodes
2022 The Loud House Tammy Gobblesworth (voice) Episode: “Flip This Flip”

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
1997 Ariel's Story Studio Princess Ariel
1998 A Bug's Life Atta Replacing Julia Louis-Dreyfus
1999 Disney's Arcade Frenzy Princess Ariel
2000 Grandia II Millenia, Reena [20]
Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge Nasira
2002 Kingdom Hearts Princess Ariel English dub
2004 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Voice of Mother [21]
2005 Kingdom Hearts II Princess Ariel English dub
2007 Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures
2012 Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure
2022 Disney Dreamlight Valley

Theme parks[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Mickey's PhilharMagic Princess Ariel Voice role
2011 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure


Year Title Role(s) Notes
1982 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Ensemble[22]
1983 Marilyn: An American Fable Factory Girl, Ensemble[22] Broadway debut
1984 Sophisticated Ladies Performer[22]
1986 Smile Doria Hudson[22]
1988 Dangerous Music Performer[23]
1989 Welcome to the Club Betty Bursteter[22]
1990 Chess Florence[24]
1992 Crazy for You Polly Baker[22]
1998 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Narrator[25]


Year Album Notes
1990 The Little Mermaid Soundtrack
1991 Precious Moments Timmy's Gift Performed the song, Starlight Theme
Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible I
1992 Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible II
The Little Mermaid: Splash Hits
Crazy for You Cast Recording
1993 The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea
1994 Unsung Musicals
Thumbelina Soundtrack
1995 Songs of Guideposts Junction
1996 Hollywood Christmas Various artists
2000 The Little Mermaid II (soundtrack)
2004 Disney Princess: The Ultimate Song Collection
Disney Princess Music Hits
2005 Disney's Princess Christmas Album
Disney Princess Tea Party
2006 Ultimate Disney Princess

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Title Result
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


  1. ^ a b c "Jodi Benson". Archived from the original on October 14, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Video: Disney Princess voices, Regis Philbin, Hensons accept their Disney Legends awards at the 2011 D23 Expo". Inside the Magic. August 26, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  3. ^ "GETTING ALONG SWIMMINGLY". January 10, 1992. Retrieved June 17, 2019 – via
  4. ^ a b Gaither, Gloria (August 1, 2011). "Part Of Her World: Jodi Benson". Homecoming Magazine. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 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.
  5. ^ Braun, Georgette. "Little Mermaid star at Boylan fundraiser April 17". Rockford Register Star. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Cain, Tim. "100 reason: Original Ariel voice launched from Millikin". Decatur Herald & Review. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Truitt, Brian (October 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Jothen, Tiffany (November 17, 2014). "Little Mermaid, Big Faith". Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Susman, Gary (November 20, 2017). "17 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Enchanted'". Movie Fone. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  11. ^ Ellis, Jeffrey. "Headley, Mauzey, Benson Lead Starry Lineup for CINDERELLA, 5/14". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "'Candlelight Choir' Sneak Peek: Neil Patrick Harris Returns". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (November 16, 2022). "'Disenchanted' Producer Barry Josephson On Why 'Enchanted' Sequel Went Straight To Disney+ – Crew Call Podcast". Crew Call with Anthony D'Alessandro (Podcast). Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  16. ^ a b "An Interview with Jodi Benson, Voice of Ariel". Disney Insider. 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Truitt, Brian (October 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  18. ^ "Jodi Benson: 25 Years Of Voicing Ariel". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Sharf, Zack (May 12, 2023). "When Ariel Met Ariel: Halle Bailey Got Jodi Benson's 'Stamp of Approval' on 'Little Mermaid' Set and Was Told to 'Just Go for It'". Variety. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  20. ^ "Jodi Benson (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved April 30, 2021. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  21. ^ Capcom (April 27, 2004). Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. Scene: Closing credits, 0:45 in, cast.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Jodi Benson – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  23. ^ "Ken Mandelbaum's MUSICALS ON DISC: Henry Krieger and Side Show". Playbill. December 14, 1997. Retrieved April 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "STAGE REVIEW : Checkered 'Chess' Is No Grandmaster but It Has Flash". Los Angeles Times. October 11, 1990. Retrieved April 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "Osmond Second Generation Joseph Tour to End Sept. 27". Playbill. September 27, 1998. Retrieved April 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]