Toon Talk Special: The 101 Greatest Disney Voice Artists - Part 1 of 2 Page 6 of 9
Mother Figures While seemingly most Disney heroes are motherless (Peter Pan, Ariel, Belle, Aladdin), there are the lucky few who have great moms like these.
Kala.jpg (9716 bytes) (c) Disney
From her devilish turn as Cruella de Vil in the two live action 101 Dalmatians films to the kind-hearted Kala the mother ape in Tarzan, Close has played both ends of the Disney character spectrum. Close took to the role with her usual proficiency, whether grunting in natural ape language or softly singing the lullaby "You'll Be In My Heart".
Interesting side note: Close dubbed the voice of Andie MacDowell's Jane in the 1984 feature film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
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Woodard's most well-known Disney role was as Plio, the lemur with an iguanadon for a son, in Dinosaur. But it is as Polly, John Henry's determined wife in the little seen animated short John Henry, that merits her inclusion on this list. Narrating the tall tale of the mighty legend, Woodard's effective vocals bring an honesty and pride to the film.
Although her only lead role, as Lady in Lady & the Tramp, is a mother in just the last scene, Luddy's Disney roles were filled with motherly types. In addition to the nurturing yet feisty fairy Merryweather in Sleeping Beauty and Mother Rabbit in Robin Hood, Luddy was the original voice of Kanga in the Winnie the Pooh shorts. She also voiced the not-to-originally named Rover in 101 Dalmatians.
A true stage legend (with four Tony Awards to prove it), Lansbury was perfectly cast as the perky teapot Mrs. Potts in Beauty & the Beast. Her recording of the title song by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken brought a standing ovation to those lucky few who were there to witness it.
Also known for her role as Eglantine Price in another Disney classic, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Lansbury returned as Mrs. Potts for the video sequel, Beauty & the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas and performed the Oscar-winning song "Beauty & the Beast" with Peobo Bryson and Celine Dion at the 1991 Academy Awards ceremony.