Jodi Benson

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Jodi Benson
Jodi Benson crop.jpg
Benson at the World of Color Premiere Disney California Adventure
Born Jodi Marie Marzorati
(1961-10-10) October 10, 1961 (age 55)
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Voice actress, actress, singer
Years active 1984–present
Notable work Voice of Princess Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989)
Voice of Barbie in Disney Pixar's Toy Story
Spouse(s) Ray Benson (m. 1984)
Children 2
Awards Disney Legend (2011)

Jodi Marie Marzorati Benson (born October 10, 1961)[1] is an American voice actress, actress and soprano singer. She is best known for providing both the speaking and the singing voice of Disney's Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid and its sequel, prequel, and television series. Benson voiced the character Barbie in the 1999 movie Toy Story 2, the 2010 Academy Award winning movie Toy Story 3 and the Toy Story toon Hawaiian Vacation. For her contributions to the Disney company, Benson was named a Disney Legend in 2011.[2]

Benson was the original voice of Ariel in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney Pictures animated feature film The Little Mermaid and continues to perform Ariel and the bubbly voice of "Barbie" in Disney/Pixar's Best Picture Golden Globe winner Toy Story 2 and Academy Award winner Toy Story 3. 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, a Don Bluth animated feature film with songs by Barry Manilow. Jodi's 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.

Career[edit]

Benson's debut on Broadway was in the 1983 Kenny Ortega-directed "Marilyn: An American Fable". Other Broadway credits include a starring role in the Broadway musical Smile, where she introduced a song called "Disneyland". 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".[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.

Benson also played the Queen in a one-night concert version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in May 2010.[3]

She was at the 2012 SYTA conference singing her signature song Part of Your World on Monday, August 27, 2012.

Benson has been the guest artist for the Candlelight Processional for 5 years at Walt Disney World including December 10–13, 2012.[4]

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 as well as many others.

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, San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, to name a few. 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.[5]

The Little Mermaid[edit]

In the 1980s, 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.[6][7] 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.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Benson was born and raised in a Catholic environment.[8] She married actor/singer Ray Benson in 1984.[9] They have two children, McKinley and Delaney.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Lastelle's Mother (2004 Disney Dub) Voice role
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
The Little Mermaid Princess Ariel TV series (voice)
1994 Thumbelina Thumbelina Voice role
1997 Flubber Weebo Voice role
A Christmas Carol Belle Voice role
1998 The Mighty Kong Ann Darrow Voice role
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island Additional Voices Voice role
Hercules Helen of Troy TV series (voice)
1999 Hercules: Zero to Hero Helen of Troy Voice role
Toy Story 2 Barbie Voice role
2000 The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea Princess Ariel Voice role
Joseph: King of Dreams Asenath Voice role
2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Lady (replacing Barbara Luddy) 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 Voice role
House of Mouse Princess Ariel, Princess Belle 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) Voice role
Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa Lenee Voice role
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Anita (replacing Lisa Davis) Voice role
Mickey's PhilharMagic Princess Ariel Voice role
K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments Leila and Martha Voice role
2005 Balto III: Wings of Change Jenna Voice role
Camp Lazlo Patsy Smiles, Ms. Jane Doe, Almondine Voice role
2007 Enchanted Sam
2007 The Save-Ums Chloe Voice
2008 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning Princess Ariel Voice role
2010 Toy Story 3 Barbie Voice role
2011 The Little Engine That Could Jillian Voice role
Hawaiian Vacation Barbie Voice role
2012 Secret of the Wings Healing-Talent Fairy Voice role
2013 Sofia the First Princess Ariel and Queen Emmaline Voice role, computer animated series
2015 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Singing Teacher Voice
2016 Clarence Diana Voice
2018 Toy Story 4 Barbie Voice role
in production

Other[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 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 (voice, live action) Princess Ariel Voice, live action
1996 Guideposts Junction Herself A six-part Christian video series for children
1998 Blablaland Lola Pesto

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
1998 A Bug's Life Atta
1999 Disney's Arcade Frenzy Princess Ariel
2000 Batman Beyond Aquagirl The Call Parts 1 and 2
2000 Grandia II Millenia
2000 Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge Nasira
2002 Kingdom Hearts Princess Ariel English version
2004 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Voice of Mother [11]
2005 Kingdom Hearts II Princess Ariel English version
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

Discography[edit]

Year Album Notes
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
1994 Unsung Musicals
1994 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
2004 Disney Princess Music Hits
2005 Disney Princess Christmas Of Enchantment
2005 Disney Princess Tea Party
2006 Ultimate Disney Princess

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jodi Benson". Hollywood.com. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ Video: Disney Princess voices, Regis Philbin, Hensons accept their Disney Legends awards at the 2011 D23 Expo Retrieved November 24, 2013
  3. ^ Headley, Mauzey, Benson Lead Starry Lineup for CINDERELLA, 5/14
  4. ^ Jodi Benson Candlelight 2012 at Walt Disney World
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ a b "An Interview with Jodi Benson, Voice of Ariel". blogs.disney.com. Disney Insider. 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ Truitt, Brian (Oct 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ Gaither, Gloria (August 1, 2011). "Part Of Her World: Jodi Benson". Homecoming Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Truitt, Brian (October 2, 2013). "'Little Mermaid' star Jodi Benson loves life as Ariel". USA Today. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ Capcom (2004-04-27). Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. Scene: Closing credits, 0:45 in, cast. 

External links[edit]