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Jodi Benson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (35)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 10 October 1961Rockford, Illinois, USA
Birth NameJodi Marzorati
Nickname Aquagirl
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jodi Benson, a native of Rockford, Illinois, has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the voice of "Ariel" in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid (1989), as well as the bubbly voice of "Tour Guide Barbie" in Disney's Toy Story 2 (1999), winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. She also gave life to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber (1997), starring Robin Williams. For Warner Brothers, she created the spirited voice of "Thumbelina", a Don Bluth animated feature, Thumbelina (1994), with songs by Barry Manilow. Jodi's recent projects include The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning (2008), The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea (2000) as "Ariel", Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001) as "Lady", 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003) as "Anita", Dreamwork's animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams (2000) as his wife "Asenath" starring Ben Affleck and in Balto: Wolf Quest (2002) and Balto III: Wings of Change (2004) as "Jenna" for Universal Studios. She appears as "Sam" (Patrick Dempsey's assistant) in Disney's feature film Enchanted (2007) as a real person - with legs!

Ms. Benson received a Tony Award and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for creating the starring role of "Polly Baker" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway Ira Gershwin musical, "Crazy For You". Other Broadway credits include: creating the starring role of "Doria Hudson" in the Howard Ashman-Marvin Hamlisch musical, "Smile", "Betty Bursteter" in Cy Coleman's "Welcome to the Club" and "Virginia" in Kenny Ortega's Marilyn: An American Musical". Internationally, Ms. Benson has had the honor of sharing the stage with her husband, Ray Benson, in the European premiere of Ira Gershwin's "My One and Only", starring as "Miss Edythe Herbert". In Los Angeles, Ms. Benson starred in the critically-acclaimed Reprise/UCLA production of "Babes in Arms" as "Bunny", "Nellie Forbush" in "South Pacific" (Pasadena Civic), "Flora the Red Menace" (Pasadena Playhouse), "Ado Annie" in "Oklahoma!" (Dorothy Chandler Pavillion), "Eliza Doolittle" in "My Fair Lady" (Alex Theater) and as "Florence Vassey" in "Chess" (Long Beach Civic Light Opera) for which she won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress.

Jodi can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a 6-part DVD series entitled "Baby Faith" from the creators of "Baby Einstein". Her animated-TV series include the hit, Camp Lazlo! (2005), for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid (1992), Batman Beyond (1999), "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy", The Wild Thornberrys (1998), "Barbie", Hercules: Zero to Hero (1999) and P.J. Sparkles (1992), as well as many others. On the concert stage, Ms Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world: The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The National Symphony, Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo Philharmonic, San Francisco and Chicago, to name a few. She has starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, The 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney, Central Park Disney Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Ms. Benson is honored to be the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation. Jodi gives thanks and praise to the Lord for her family, friends, for her loving and amazing husband, 'Ray Benson (I)' , and her precious children; son McKinley Benson and daughter Delaney Benson.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jodi Benson

Spouse (1)

Ray Benson (19 May 1984 - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Her beautiful singing voice

Trivia (12)

Received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for creating the starring role of "Polly Baker" in George Gershwin's "Crazy for You".
Won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress for playing Florence Vassey in Chess.
Attended Millikin University in Decatur, IL
(January 8, 1999) Son, Mckinley Benson born
Was nominated for Broadway's 1992 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for "Crazy for You."
She started majoring in Law at Millikin University, but after one semester she changed her major and became one of the first students in the BFA program for musical theater.
Her favorite scene in The Little Mermaid (1989) is singing the "Part of Your World" reprise upon the rock.
Loves to snow ski, hike, go to the movies, go bowling, read, and travel.
Gave birth to her second child, a daughter called Delaney (2001)
Was actually the first person considered to voice the part of "Belle" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991), but lost the role to Paige O'Hara. However, she did lend her voice to "Belle" in several episodes of the original Disney cartoon series House of Mouse (2001).
Has voiced two heroines in animated feature films based on fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, "Ariel" from The Little Mermaid (1989), and "Thumbelina" from Thumbelina (1994).
Appeared as part of a cast/crew panel discussion at the premiere of a revival/promotional screening of the 1989 Disney classic The Little Mermaid (1989) at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 7th, 2006. [September 2006]

Personal Quotes (35)

I am blessed to perform in the studio and on the concert stage.
I think God calls and encourages us to dream big, but sometimes we put God in a box in a very small way, when God wants us to look outside the box.
I homeschool, so the start of the day is reading Bible scripture, memorization, and prayer.
The thing that I enjoy about animation is the fact that it is unbridled, and there are no boundaries; when you are in the room, you don't have to focus on your clothing, make-up, hair, your choreography or your blocking; you really do have total freedom.
I have a lot of mermaid stuff. I did start collecting a lot before I had children because I didn't know if I would have a boy or a girl. So I saved everything.
'The Little Mermaid' changed my life.
I really like worship music. It settles my soul. Gets me back on track. The lyrics are almost like a prayer, so it's my go-to.
Connecting with the kids is a great joy for me. I love meeting them backstage or at a signing event. I am overwhelmed when I meet kids who struggle with terminal illnesses.
I love working for Disney! They are my family.
I was doing a Broadway musical called 'Smile' with Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch in 1984/5 when it abruptly closed. Howard was in the middle of pre-production for 'The Little Mermaid,' so he kindly invited all the girls in our cast to audition for the film.
What I look for in a project or partner is integrity and character; I love the concept of family entertainment and crosses over the generations, where you can sit kids with their grandparents and everyone has a good time. Those are the qualities that I want to bring to viewers.
Anything that has to do with Disney and Pixar, I am on board with. That is where my heart and family are. So when they call, I jump.
I want to live outside of the box, and I definitely don't want to put God in a box, so I want to be able to dream big and kind of let that go of my small-mindedness.
Homeschooling has given us some wonderful flexibility and some great life experiences, especially with our son.
I am really committed to my faith journey, and I am committed to my family. My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years, and we homeschool our kids. We have a different working-out-of the-box family, but we do make it work, obviously with God's grace, and we are very grateful for that.
I think good entertainment makes you feel something... it can be a variety of different feelings.
I've done a variety of projects in different areas of the entertainment industry.
I remember when John Lasseter called me back in the late 1990s to personally invite me to come be the voice of Barbie in 'Toy Story 2.'
I was the original voice of Mattel's Barbie for an '80s claymation workout video.
All I've been a part of has been thanks to the Disney company: the job, experience, travel, opportunities have come thanks to Disney. Working for Disney was not part of my original plan, but it was part of God's, and it shows that God is still moving.
I can only speak for my husband and myself, but we don't feel like we could do any of this parenting without our faith.
I pretty much came out of the womb singing. I think I sang all the time.
I love working with talented young performers.
I can't sing, perform, do anything apart from Christ. I have no power or strength of my own.
I am a follower of Jesus. My husband really brought me to the Lord when I was 18 and I am so lucky to have a platform through the studio.
Ever since the kids were babies, we have treated them with respect. We are the mom and dad for sure, but we look for opportunities for us to sit down and say, 'How are things going for you? Is there anything that we can do as parents to help you? Let's all come up with a solution together.' We work better as a team.
We had put our son into a little preschool in Los Angeles, and it was just not going well, so we brought him back home. We had every intention of putting him back into a traditional school setting, but we just really couldn't find the right match for him. And then we moved to Georgia and again couldn't find the right match.
What we try to do at Disney and through Disney character voices is really maintain the integrity of our classic characters at all costs. So Ariel needs to be me for every project, and if there are any other Ariels floating around out there, it's not necessarily Disney.
When I do my concerts, you have got to think about everything else; so you have got to think about your gown, your hair, your body, and how you present yourself on stage.
My husband has a gift for reaching out to people in need. I always look over and see him connecting to someone who needs to talk or needs some support.
For me, I was able to make that statement of faith early on when my career began, so there weren't really a lot of surprises. People around me knew where my husband Ray and I stood as far as my faith went.
I grew up with 'Cinderella.' So that was my go-to Disney film, definitely. It was princess-related, and coming from a smaller area in Illinois and wanting to do something greater than myself in Broadway, that was a film that I could really relate to.
I was very flattered when Disney Junior reached out and invited me to come voice Ariel for this special primetime edition of 'Sofia the First.' As the parent myself, I really appreciate the positive messages that this animated series is trying to put out there.
I have a studio at my house, and there is a sister studio for Disney which is about 45 minutes away, and we haven't dropped a beat. In the art of animation and voiceover work, you can pretty much work from anywhere.
I think God must have had something in mind for me that was not on my radar when I first started out in New York. Back then, doing animated voices meant your career was done - it was looked down upon.

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