Adriana Caselotti

Adriana Caselotti (May 6, 1916 – January 18, 1997) was an American actress, voice actress, and singer. Caselotti was the voice of the title character of the first Walt Disney animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for which she was named as a Disney Legend in 1994, making her the first female voice actor so named.

Adriana Caselotti
Adriana Caselotti photo.jpg
Caselotti in 1937
Born(1916-05-06)May 6, 1916
DiedJanuary 18, 1997(1997-01-18) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActress, voice actress, singer
Years active1932–1997
Notable work
Original voice of Princess Snow White in Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Spouse(s)Robert Chard (m. 1945–?; divorced)
Norval Mitchell
(m. 1952; died 1972)

Dr. Joseph Dana Costigan
(m. 1972; died 1982)

Florian St. Pierre (m. 1989–?; divorced)
RelativesLouise Caselotti (older sister)
AwardsDisney Legend (1994)

Early lifeEdit

Adriana Caselotti was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to an Italian American family. Her father, Guido Caselotti, was an immigrant from Udine, and worked as a teacher of music and a vocal coach. Her mother, Maria Orefice (1893-1961), from Naples, was a singer in the Royal Opera Theatre of Rome. Her older sister, Louise, sang opera and gave voice lessons (for example, to Maria Callas). When Caselotti was seven years old, her family left Connecticut for Italy, while her mother toured with an opera company. Caselotti was educated at an Italian convent, San Getulio, near Rome, while her mother performed in the opera. When her family returned to New York three years later, Caselotti relearned English and studied singing with her father.

In 1934, Caselotti attended Hollywood High School where she sang in the Senior Girls' Glee Club and played the part of Fifi Fricot in the musical The Belle of New York.[1]

CareerEdit

In 1935, after a brief stint as a chorus girl and session singer at MGM, Walt Disney hired Caselotti as the voice of his heroine Snow White. She was paid a total of $970 for working on the film (equivalent to $17,251 in 2019).[2] She was not credited and had trouble finding new opportunities later in life. Jack Benny specifically mentioned that he had asked Disney for permission to use her on his radio show and was told, "I'm sorry, but that voice can't be used anywhere. I don't want to spoil the illusion of Snow White."[3] Caselotti had two more jobs in the film business. The first was an uncredited role in MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939); she provided the voice of Juliet during the Tin Man's song, "If I Only Had a Heart", speaking the line, "Wherefore art thou Romeo?".[4] In 1946, she had an uncredited role in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, singing in Martini's bar as James Stewart was praying.

Adriana Caselotti appeared in several promotional spots for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, signing memorabilia. On November 22, 1972 (Thanksgiving Day), she guest-starred on an episode of The Julie Andrews Hour saluting the music of Walt Disney, singing "I'm Wishing" and "Someday My Prince Will Come" with Julie Andrews.[citation needed] She also made a guest appearance on the syndicated The Mike Douglas Show. Caselotti later wrote a how-to book, Do You Like to Sing?.[5]

Later in life, she sold autographs and also made an attempt at an opera career (for example, Rigoletto). In the early 1990s, when the Snow White Grotto at Disneyland was refurbished, Caselotti re-recorded "I'm Wishing" for the Snow White Wishing Well at the age of 75. In 1994, she was named a Disney Legend.[5]

FilmographyEdit

Year Film Role Notes
1935 Naughty Marietta Dancing Doll Uncredited
1937 The Bride Wore Red First Peasant Girl Uncredited
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Snow White Voice actress
1939 The Wizard of Oz Juliet Uncredited
1942 We Were Dancing Opera Singer Uncredited
1946 It's a Wonderful Life Singer at Martini's Uncredited

Personal life and deathEdit

Caselotti was married four times. Her first husband was Robert Chard, a local theater ticket broker[6] whom she married in 1945. The marriage ended in divorce. She later met bit actor Norval Mitchell, whom she married in 1952. He retired after marrying her and died in 1972. The same year, she was married to a podiatrist, Dr. Joseph Dana Costigan,[citation needed] who died in 1982. Caselotti married her last husband, Florian St. Pierre, a retired postal employee, in 1989 and later divorced.[4] On January 18, 1997, Caselotti died of respiratory failure from lung cancer at her Los Angeles home at age 80.[2] She was cremated and her ashes were scattered at Newport Beach, California. At the time of her death, she was the last surviving cast member of the 1937 animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Poinsettia Yearbook (29 ed.). Hollywood: Hollywood High School. 1934. p. 79, 81.
  2. ^ a b "Adriana Caselotti, 80, Voice of Snow White". The New York Times. January 21, 1997. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Thomas, Bob (July 3, 1993). "Singer still hopes to cash in as voice of Snow White". The Day. New London CT. Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Sibley, Brian (February 10, 1997). "Obituary: Adriana Caselotti". The Independent. London. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Adriana Caselotti". D23. Disney. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  6. ^ The Bradford Era from Bradford, Pennsylvania. Page 5. Thursday, July 18, 1946

External linksEdit