Ilene Woods, Voice of Disney’s Cinderella, Dies

Ilene Woods, the actress who provided the voice of Cinderella in the classic 1950 animated feature film, died July 1 at the age of 81.

The news was announced by the Walt Disney Co. through its D23 Twitter feed.

Born in Portsmouth, N.H., Woods started out as a child radio performer and landed her own radio show as a teenager on the ABC Network out of New York City.

She landed the job of voicing Cinderella over more than 400 hopefuls thanks to demo recordings she had made for her songwriter friends Mack David and Jerry Livingston of ‘Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,’ ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ and ‘So This is Love.’

The pair had written the songs for the feature and when Walt Disney heard them, he hired her for the role. Disney later told Woods she was his favorite of his heroines.

After Cinderella, Woods continued to perform and appeared on such TV programs as The Steve Allen Show, The Gary Moore Show and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends.

In addition to marrying and raising two sons, Woods began in the mid-1980s a career as a portrait artist.

She appeared in 2001 before Disney fans at a Cinderella Ball celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release and benefiting Childhelp U.S.A.

She was declared a Disney Legend in 2003.