Paige O'Hara

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Paige O'Hara
Paige O'Hara (49132792143).jpg
O'Hara at the 2019 GalaxyCon Minneapolis
Donna Paige Helmintoller

(1956-05-10) May 10, 1956 (age 66)
EducationNova High School
Alma materParkway Middle School of the Arts
  • Actress
  • singer
  • painter
Years active1983–present
Michael Piontek
(m. 1995)
AwardsDisney Legend (2011) Edit this at Wikidata

Paige O'Hara (born Donna Paige Helmintoller; May 10, 1956)[1] is an American actress, singer, and painter. O'Hara began her career as a Broadway actress in 1983 when she portrayed Ellie May Chipley in the musical Showboat. In 1991, she made her motion picture debut in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, in which she voiced the film's heroine, Belle. Following the critical and commercial success of Beauty and the Beast, O'Hara reprised her role as Belle in the film's two direct-to-video follow-ups, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) and Belle's Magical World (1998), and for a cameo appearance in Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).

Early life[edit]

O'Hara was born May 10, 1956 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and attended Nova High School in Davie, Florida, and Parkway Middle School of The Arts, also in Florida. She performed in shows with the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre.

Her mother is of Irish ancestry, and her father was born in Ireland to a family of Irish, British, Dutch and German background.

O'Hara began acting at the age of four, attending acting classes in her home state of Florida.[2] It was not until she was 12 years old that she developed an interest in singing and enrolled in a performing arts high school.[2] O'Hara cites American actress and singer Judy Garland as one of her idols.[3]


Broadway and stage[edit]

O'Hara made her first appearance on the Broadway stage as Ellie May Chipley in the revival of Showboat in 1983 starring Donald O'Connor. She repeated the role for the Houston Grand Opera's 1989 production and continued with them when the show was moved to the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. Continuing her legacy as Ellie, she also sang the part on the 1989 Grammy-nominated recording of the musical with Jerry Hadley, Frederica von Stade, and Teresa Stratas, conducted by John McGlinn on the Angel EMI label. Her other American stage credits include the title role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Broadway and national tour) and Ado Annie in a national tour of Oklahoma! directed by William Hammerstein. In 1995, she joined the Broadway production of Les Misérables, where she played the role of Fantine.

Internationally, O'Hara has played the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (Australia).

In April 2011, O'Hara played the role of Judy Garland in From Gumm to Garland: JUDY, The Musical at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona.

Transition to film and Beauty and the Beast[edit]

A longtime fan of Walt Disney Pictures,[3] O'Hara auditioned for Beauty and the Beast at the age of 35[4] after reading about the film in The New York Times.[2]

In Season 2 of The Legend of Prince Valiant (which starred her Beauty and the Beast co-star Robby Benson), O'Hara had a recurring role as Princess Aleta (who was later promoted to queen). Benson's character Prince Valiant fell in love with Aleta at first sight.

O'Hara also starred as Venus in the BBC's recorded broadcast of the live presentation of Kurt Weill's "One Touch of Venus" and in tribute to her Belle character from Beauty and the Beast, she portrayed Angela, a character in a fictional soap opera, for Disney's 2007 live action/traditional 2-D animated film Enchanted.

For her work as Belle, O'Hara was honored with a Disney Legend Award on August 19, 2011.[5]

As of 2011, O'Hara was replaced by Julie Nathanson as the voice of Belle due to her voice changing significantly over the course of twenty years.[6] Despite this, she still paints Belle for Disney Fine Art and also continues to do promotional appearances for Disney.[6][7][8] In 2016, O'Hara appeared at numerous special screenings of Beauty and the Beast in honor of the film's 25th anniversary.[9][10] O'Hara reprised her role as Belle in the 2018 film Ralph Breaks the Internet.[11]

Personal life[edit]

O'Hara met actor Michael Piontek in 1989. After six years of dating, they married in 1995.[12][13][14]

O'Hara's religious background is Catholic.[12][15]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Beauty and the Beast Belle (voice) Nominated — Grammy Award for Album of the Year
1997 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
1998 Belle's Magical World Nominated — Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production
1999 Belle's Tales of Friendship
2001 Legend of the Candy Cane Jane Aubrey (voice)
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse Belle (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Sing Along Songs: Disney Princess: Once Upon a Dream
2005 Disney Princess Party: Volume Two
2007 Enchanted Angela
2016 Always Belle Herself Documentary
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Belle (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Legend of Prince Valiant Princess Aleta / Queen Aleta (voices) 9 episodes
1995 The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Girls (voice) Episode: "Felix in Nightdrop Land/Shocking Story", uncredited
1996 Adventures from the Book of Virtues The Princess / June Washington Episode: "Honesty"
2002 Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe In Santa Nicole (voice) Television film

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Disney's Beauty and the Beast Magical Ballroom Belle Voice role
2005 Kingdom Hearts II Voice role, English version
2007 Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+
Disney Princess: Magical Jewels Voice role
Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Showboat Ellie May Chipley
1985 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood
1986 Oklahoma! Ado Annie
1995 Les Misérables Fantine [16]
1996 Peter Pan Peter Pan [17][18]



  1. ^ "Paige O'Hara Pics". All Star Pics. Lucy Media. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Interview With Paige O'Hara, The Voice Of Belle In "Beauty and the Beast"". Disney Dreaming. Unrivaled Media Group, LLC. October 5, 2010. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Benedictus, Leo (April 30, 2012). "How we made: Don Hahn and Paige O'Hara on Beauty and the Beast". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  4. ^ Huver, Scott (May 30, 2012). ""Beauty and the Beast 3D" Gives Original Star Paige O'Hara a Whole New Perspective". NBC New York. NBCUniversal, Inc. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  5. ^ BWW News Desk. "Photo Flash: Lea Salonga, Anika Noni Rose, Paige O'Hara et al. Honored at D23 Expo". Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Belle still tolls for actress O'Hara".
  7. ^ Brigante, Ricky (July 30, 2013). "Full 2013 D23 Expo schedule revealed with Walt Disney Studios celebs, Imagineering & Parks panels, Marvel meet-and-greets". Inside the Magic. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks Blog. July 30, 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  9. ^ Mallenbaum, Carly (May 10, 2016). "8 things you never knew about 'Beauty and the Beast'". USA Today. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  10. ^ McGovern, Joe (August 16, 2016). "Beauty and the Beast getting special 25th anniversary screening ahead of New York Film Festival". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  11. ^ Holmes, Adam (July 14, 2017). "Wreck-It Ralph 2 Is Bringing The Original Disney Princesses Back". CinemaBlend. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Paige O'Hara, voice of 'Belle,' recalls magic of 'Beauty and the Beast'". Catholic Philly. 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  13. ^ Review-Journal, Carol Cling Las Vegas. "More than 20 years after 'Beauty and the Beast,' Paige O'Hara still remembered as voice of Disney princess - Las Vegas Review-Journal". Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  14. ^ Review-Journal, Carol Cling Las Vegas. "Voice of Disney's Belle didn't expect to fall in love with Las Vegas - Las Vegas Review-Journal". Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Paige O'Hara is feeling blessed. September 4, 2016 · Public My true heroine, Mother Teresa is now in sainthood. St Teresa who was an angel on earth, is now a saint in heaven. What a glorious celebration.
  16. ^ Paige O'Hara Answers Members Questions Playbill, January 22, 1996
  17. ^ ‘Music Tells a Tale’ a Genial Family Treat Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1996
  18. ^ 10 Things We Learned from Paige O’Hara During WDFM’s Happily Ever After Hours Laughing Place, May 16, 2020

External links[edit]