The Real Snow White: Adriana Caselotti

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Adriana Caselotti is not a name many are familiar with, but she was the woman behind the iconic voice of Disney’s Snow White.

Her father was a voice coach, and was called by Walt Disney to discuss potential voices for the role of Snow White. Overhearing the conversation, the young opera singer Adriana picked up the phone and sang a few bars, and was then invited to audition. Over 140 other girls auditioned for the part, but Adriana was the one.

This should have been the start of great things for Adriana. But despite becoming one of the most famous cartoon voices ever, her work for Disney became more of a curse than a blessing. She was paid¬†handsomely¬†for the job, but this must have blinded her to the nature of the contract she was signing. Disney’s contract specified that she was never to do any voice work for anyone else, anywhere, ever again. They wanted the image of Snow White to remain ‘pure’. Adriana was not even permitted to do radio interviews, attend the film premiere (she snuck in), or be credited in the movie. After reaching number ten in the 1938 Billboard charts with ‘Someday my Prince Will Come‘ Adriana disappeared, never again permitted to professionally use her beautiful voice for anything else.

Adriana continued to be the voice of Snow White for Disney (few other choices remaining), with sporadic work for the theme park, television, and promotional purposes. Her last job for them was in 1991 at age 75, when she recorded the ‘I’m Wishing’ song for the wishing well at Disney World. She was finally recognised as a Disney legend in 1994, and died only three years later in 1997.

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