Snow White (Disney)

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This article is about the character. For the franchise, see Snow White (Disney franchise).
Snow White
Snow white disney.png
First appearance Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Last appearance Descendants (2015)
Created by Hamilton Luske (animator)
Walt Disney
Portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time)
Bailee Madison (as a child, Once Upon a Time)
Rachel Weisz (Disney Dreams Portraits photographs)
Stephanie Bennett (Descendants)
Voiced by Adriana Caselotti (original film)
Jane Powell (1945 radio)
Ilene Woods (1949 audiobook)
Dorothy Warenskjold (1953 radio)
Mary Kay Bergman (1989–1999)
Carolyn Gardner (2000–2010)
Melissa Disney (briefly)
Katherine Von Till (2011–present)[1][2][3][4]
Species Human
Gender Female
Occupation Scullery maid
News anchor (in Descendants only)
School teacher (in Once Upon a Time only)
Title Princess
Family The King (father, deceased)
The First Queen (mother, deceased)
The Evil Queen (stepmother)
Evie (stepsister; in Descendants only)
Spouse(s) The Prince
Children Emma Swan (daughter; in Once Upon a Time only)
Neal Nolan (son; in Once Upon a Time only)
Relatives Henry Mills (grandson and adoptive stepbrother; in Once Upon a Time only)
Nationality Bavaria

Snow White is a fictional character and a main character from Walt Disney Productions' first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The character of Snow White was derived from a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best-known version being the Bavarian one collected by the Brothers Grimm.

Snow White is the first Disney Princess and the first fictional female character with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[5] Originally voiced by Adriana Caselotti, she has also been voiced by Jane Powell, Ilene Woods, Dorothy Warenskjold, Mary Kay Bergman, Carolyn Gardner, Melissa Disney, and Katie Von Til, and was portrayed live by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time), and Stephanie Bennett (Descendants).

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[edit]

Snow White first appears in the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). In the film she is depicted as living under her wicked, vain stepmother, the Evil Queen, who forces Snow White to engage in menial labor, fearing that one day Snow White's beauty might become greater than her own. After many years, the Queen's Magic Mirror confirms Snow White as being the "fairest of them all", which causes the Queen to cast Snow White out and send a huntsman to kill her. When he refuses to do so, the huntsman helps Snow White escape into the forest. Snow White stumbles upon the home of the Seven Dwarfs, who happily aid her.

The Queen discovers that Snow White has survived and uses magic to disguise herself as an old hag and creates a poisoned apple that will kill, whoever that eats it will be put into "Sleeping Death" and only a kiss of true love could revive her. When the dwarfs are away the hag arrives at the dwarfs cottage and offers Snow White the poisoned apple, unbeknownst to her that it is the Queen in disguise. Snow White bites into the apple and falls into a coma. The dwarfs discovering what had happened track down the Queen; a short fight ensues and the Queen is killed. Believing her dead too, the dwarfs build an open grave for Snow White to rest on. Time passes and the Prince comes across Snow White. Saddened by her apparent death, he kisses her, causing her to awaken. As the Seven Dwarfs dance with joy, Snow White and the Prince go off to live together.[6]


Snow White is a princess,[6] and the fairest in the land. She is described by her stepmother's Magic Mirror as having "hair as black as ebony, lips as red as the rose, skin as white as snow."[7] Her voice is also the inspiration for that of Minerva Mink in Animaniacs.[citation needed] Though she is first seen in rags at the film's beginning, Snow White is most well known for her iconic dress with a blue bodice, puffy red and blue striped sleeves, an ankle-length yellow skirt with a self-sewn white petticoat and a high white collar. along with yellow shoes, a red cape, and a red bow in her hair.

Snow White is innocent, kind, gentle, sweet, and cheerful.[8] Her generous, trusting[8] and helpful nature can cause her trouble, as other people might take advantage of it, such as her vain and evil stepmother.[7] Although she is sensitive and soft-spoken, she can be energetic and stern, such as when she told the Seven Dwarfs to wash their hands or when she scolded the birds for "frightening the poor old lady [the Queen disguised as an old peddler woman]".[7] Snow White is motherly, compassionate and delights in keeping house for the lovable Seven Dwarfs while she waits to meet her beloved prince again.[8] With her kindness and ethereal beauty, Snow White charms every creature in the kingdom except the Queen.[9] She also shows great resilience and an inner strength against adversity.


The Witch (right) offering a poisoned apple to Snow White (left) in Gustaf Tenggren's inspirational art for the film

Animators' initial sketches for Snow White's character, some of which bore a resemblance to Betty Boop, did not meet Walt Disney's expectations, as they were too cartoonish.[10][11] Hamilton Luske, whom Disney had selected as the supervising animator for Snow White's character, was tasked with the challenge of making Snow White more believably human and realistic than any of the Disney studio's previous animated characters. This was a challenge Luske and co-animator Les Clark had previously been asked to explore while developing the character of Persephone for the Silly Symphonies animated short The Goddess of Spring. Of that project, Les Clark later remarked, "I'm sure Walt was thinking ahead to Snow White." Though the Persephone character ended up appearing somewhat lifeless and devoid of personality, that experiment in imitating realistic human movement and anatomy was continued and its lessons were applied in the development of Snow White's animation techniques.[12] Snow White and the Queen were refined by Grim Natwick and Norm Ferguson, who would often override Walt Disney's instructions.[13]

The relatively new technique of using live-action footage as a reference for character movements was used extensively to bring Snow White's character to life. A young dancer named Marjorie Celeste Belcher (nicknamed Margie Bell) served as the live-action model for Snow White. (Margie Bell, daughter of animator Ernest Belcher, also later modeled for the Blue Fairy character in Disney's 1940 film Pinocchio.) Hamilton Luske directed her through the filming of numerous movement sequences, and then the animators studied and copied the footage to enhance the realism of Snow White's animated movements. Animator Ollie Johnston later recalled, "Ham's careful planning and shooting of the live-action footage, always with the idea in mind of how it would be used in animation, resulted in a very convincing character."[14]

Originally, Disney could not find what they thought was a suitable voice for Snow White. Around 150 girls auditioned for the role of Snow White,[15] including well-known actresses such as Deanna Durbin,[16] whose voice seemed too old to Disney.[17] One assistant to Disney called music teacher Guido Caselotti, complaining that Hollywood had no singing girls. Caselotti wanted to offer to send their best to listen to the students, but it turned out that his 20-year-old daughter Adriana overheard a conversation on another phone in the house, and she began to sing in a young girl's voice.[18] Her father was confused and told his daughter to get away from the phone, but the casting director liked her voice and invited her to audition. After Walt Disney heard her, he immediately gave her the role.[19][20][21] The studio signed a multi-page contract with Adriana Caselotti: she was forbidden to sing in a movie or on the radio before or after the movie premiered because Walt Disney did not want the voice of Snow White to be heard anywhere else. Instead she received $970 (now worth approximately $15,994).[16]

Other appearances[edit]

Theme parks[edit]

Snow White at a Disneyland street parade in 2008

Actress and dancer JoAnn Dean Killingsworth became the first person to portray Snow White at Disneyland in 1955.[22][23][24][25] She was hired to play Snow White for Disneyland's opening on July 17, 1955.[24] Killingsworth's Snow White was the only Disney Princess to have own float during Disneyland's first parade down Main Street, U.S.A. on opening day.[24] Since Killingsworth's 1955 debut as Snow White, more than 100 actresses have played the character at Disneyland.[22]

Snow White's Scary Adventures is a dark ride dedicated to the princess and her story at the Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris theme parks. Located in Fantasyland, it is one of the few remaining attractions operational on Disneyland's opening day in 1955. The ride was closed in Disney World in May 2012 as part of the New Fantasyland expansion.[26]

She also makes appearances at Cinderella's Royal Table in Magic Kingdom and at the Akershus Restaurant in Epcot. In California, Snow White can be found at the Princess Meet-and-Greet in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park, on Main Street U.S.A., by the Wishing Well next to the Castle or at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure. In Disneyland Paris, Snow White can often be at the Princess Pavilion in Fantasyland or at Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Park. In Hong Kong, she is often up by the Wishing Well. In Tokyo, Snow White appears often in Fantasyland or World Bazaar. On Disney Cruise Line, Snow White sometimes appears, depending on a sailing.[27]

Other appearances[edit]

Snow White is an official member of the Disney Princess line, a prominent franchise directed at young girls. The franchise covers a wide variety of merchandise, including but not limited to magazines, music albums, toys, clothes and stationery.[28]

Aside from appearing in video games related to the Disney Princess franchise media as well as appearances on the television show Disney's House of Mouse, Snow White also appears in the popular Kingdom Hearts series as one of the Disney Princesses of Heart.[29] She first appears in the first Kingdom Hearts as a Princess of Heart captured by Maleficent.[30] She reprises her role from the film in the video game Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.[31] Snow White also appears in the video game Disney Magical World which includes multiple furniture and costume items related to the character.

In a season six episode of the sitcom series Full House known as The House Meets The Mouse Parts 1 & 2, Snow White appeared in Part 2. Snow White also had cameos in the films Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and The Lion King 1½ (2004). In 2014, Snow White made a guest-appearance on Sofia the First, in "The Enchanted Feast". She tells Sofia about how her stepmother tricked her by assuming a disguise, helping Sofia to determine that a visiting sorceress is actually an old foe, Miss Nettle.

In Once Upon a Time[edit]

In the TV series Once Upon a Time, an alternative version of Snow White is the daughter of King Leopold and Queen Eva, and later stepdaughter of the Evil Queen (Regina Mills).[32][33] She is the true love of Prince Charming, mother of Emma Swan and Prince Neal, and grandmother of Emma's son Henry. In Storybrooke, she appears as Mary Margaret Blanchard, Henry Mills' teacher at Storybrooke Elementary School.[32]


Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception towards Snow White has been generally polarized, garnering a wide array of reviews ranging from negative to positive. However, most have been mixed. TV Guide described Snow White as iconic, unique and incomparable, writing, "never again would Walt's heroine have such a fantasy singing voice, and for that reason, she's the favorite heroine of many animation auteurs."[34] Calling Snow White a "fairy-tale princess," Otis Ferguson of The New Republic simply described the character as "just what you would have her."[35] Variety's John C. Flinn deemed Snow White "the embodiment of girlish sweetness and kindness, exemplified in her love for the birds and the small animals of the woods that are her friends and, as it subsequently develops, her rescuers."[36]

Contemporary critics felt that Snow White "lack[s] nerve, unlike many later Disney heroines,"[37] while her relationship with the Prince is void of chemistry.[38] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that had "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ... been primarily about Snow White, it might have been forgotten soon after its 1937 premiere, and treasured today only for historical reasons." Ebert continued, "Snow White is, truth to tell, a bit of a bore, not a character who acts but one whose mere existence inspires others to act," describing Disney's tendency to "confuse the titles of his movies with their subjects" as a "mistake" as the film is more about the dwarfs and the Evil Queen than Snow White.[39] The Washington Post's Desson Howe wrote, "the spirit in the mirror is dead wrong: The Wicked Queen ... is the fairest in the land" while Snow White lacks "real estate."[40] Acknowledging the fact that the film nearly brought the studio to bankruptcy, David Kehr of the Chicago Reader wrote, "the figures of Snow White and the prince are largely rotoscoped."[41] Time Out opined, "Snow White herself might be felt to be almost unbearably winsome."[42]


Snow White's big role is in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where she plays a young princess who tries and escape her evil step mother. The character won many awards for her role like the Grand Biennale Art Trophy from the Venice Film Festival, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.[citation needed] There was also an honorary custom-made Academy Award with the standard Oscar statuette and seven small statuettes that represented the seven dwarfs.[citation needed] Snow White is one of the few fictional characters with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[5]


On June 18, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted The Walt Disney Company's trademark application (filed November 19, 2008), for the name "Snow White" that covers all live and recorded movie, television, radio, stage, computer, Internet, news, and photographic entertainment uses, except literature works of fiction and nonfiction.[43]


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External links[edit]