27 September 2009

Meet Adriana Caselotti, the voice of "Snow White"

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will soon be gracing the screens again in a new DVD release. To celebrate the feature that started it all, today’s Back Issue comes from the Summer 1987 issue of Disney News and features a personal chat with Disney’s first princess, Adriana Caselotti.
One of the best known voices in the world belongs to a singer most people have never heard of. Adriana Caselotti lives in contented obscurity near the site of Walt Disney’s old Hyperion Avenue studio in Los Angeles, where she was chosen by Disney himself for the voice of Snow White in his animated film classic, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

“That was in 1935. I was 18 years old,” Caselotti says with a still-girlish laugh.

“My parents were opera singers. I auditioned for Snow White on a whim. Mr. Disney was looking for someone who could speak and sing like a child. He had turned down Deanna Durbin because she sounded too mature. She was 14.”

The picture opened December 21, 1937, and celebrates its 50th anniversary (and seventh reissue) this year. Millions of sound track records and tapes have been sold, putting Caselotti’s voice onto the airwaves and into countless households throughout the world. Yet except for three stage appearances in “Rigoletto” in 1944, she never performed professionally again.

“The studio didn’t ask me back,” she says. “Besides, I wasn’t much interested in a career. I just wanted to be happily married and keep house.”

Caselotti is active and vivacious. “In our later years, a hobby is rejuvenating,” she says. Her lifelong avocation is designing and building houses. Several of them dot the hills above Hollywood and Caselotti, twice widowed, occupies a dramatic Hawaiian-style house she designed herself. It is landscaped with rare tropical plants, a Japanese bridge, and – yes – a wishing well.

Several years ago Caselotti, whose voice is still as bell-like as ever, was called upon to record some vocal tracks for the newly remodeled Fantasyland at Disneyland. “After numerous takes and still not getting it quite right,” she recalls, “I closed my eyes and asked Walt for his help. The next take was perfect.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No doubt Deanna Durbin would of done an amazing job in SNOW WHITE.