Paige O'Hara

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Paige O'Hara
Paige O'Hara by Gage Skidmore.jpg
O'Hara at the 2018 Phoenix Comic Fest
Born Donna Paige Helmintoller
(1956-05-10) May 10, 1956 (age 62)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Education Nova High School
Alma mater Parkway Middle School of the Arts
Occupation Actress, voice actress, singer, painter
Years active 1983–present
Notable work Voice of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991–2011, 2018)
Spouse(s)
Michael Piontek (m. 1995)
Awards Disney Legend (2011)
Website www.paigeohara.net

Donna Paige Helmintoller, better known as Paige O'Hara (born May 10, 1956),[1] is an American actress, voice 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 and Belle's Magical World.

Early life[edit]

O'Hara was born 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.

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]

Career[edit]

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 30[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 movie 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] In July 2017, it was announced that O'Hara would be reprising the role of Belle in the 2018 film Ralph Breaks the Internet.[11]

Personal life[edit]

O'Hara is married to actor Michael Piontek. The couple first met in 1989; after six years of dating, they married in 1995.[12][13][14]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Beauty and the Beast Belle Voice role
1997 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
1998 Belle's Magical World
1999 Belle's Tale's of Friendship
Chapters of Enchantment
Beauty & the World of Music
2001 Legend of the Candy Cane Jane Aubrey
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse Belle
2002 Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa Nicole
2004 Sing Along Songs: Disney Princess: Once Upon a Dream Belle
2005 Disney Princess Party: Volume Two
2007 Enchanted Angela
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Belle Voice role

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Legend of Prince Valiant Princess Aleta / Queen Aleta Voice role
1995 The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Girls Voice role, uncredited
1996 Adventures from the Book of Virtues The Princess / June Washington Voice role

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

Theater[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1983 Showboat Ellie May Chipley
1985 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Miss Florence Gil
1986 Oklahoma! Ado Annie
1995 Les Misérables Fantine [15]

References[edit]

  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. 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 16 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Photo Flash: Lea Salonga, Anika Noni Rose, Paige O'Hara et al. Honored at D23 Expo
  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 31 July 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. ^ http://catholicphilly.com/2016/09/culture/paige-ohara-voice-of-belle-recalls-magic-of-beauty-and-the-beast/
  13. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/arts-culture/more-than-20-years-after-beauty-and-the-beast-paige-ohara-still-remembered-as-voice-of-disney-princess/amp/
  14. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/arts-culture/voice-of-disneys-belle-didnt-expect-to-fall-in-love-with-las-vegas/amp/
  15. ^ Paige O'Hara Answers Members Questions Playbill, January 22, 1996

External links[edit]