Jodi Benson

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Jodi Benson
Jodi Benson crop.jpg
Benson in June 2010
Jodi Marie Marzorati

(1961-10-10) October 10, 1961 (age 59) [1]
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1975–present
Ray Benson
(m. 1984)
Awards Disney Legend (2011)

Jodi Marie Benson (née Marzorati; born October 10, 1961) [1] is an American actress and singer. She is best known for providing both the voice of Princess Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid and throughout its franchise, including its sequel, prequel, and television series spinoff. Benson also voiced the character Barbie in the 1999 Golden Globe-winning film Toy Story 2 , its 2010 Academy Award-winning sequel Toy Story 3 , and in the Toy Story cartoon Hawaiian Vacation . For her contributions to Disney, Benson was named a Disney Legend in 2011. [2]


She also gave voice to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber , starring Robin Williams. For Warner Bros., she did the voice of Thumbelina in 1994, a Don Bluth animated feature film with songs by Barry Manilow. [3] Her other projects include Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings , The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning , The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea , Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure , 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure , Balto II: Wolf Quest , and Balto III: Wings of Change. She appeared as Patrick Dempsey’s assistant Sam in Disney’s live-action feature film Enchanted . While being a Disney Legend, she also voiced Jane Doe and Patsy Smiles in Cartoon Network's Camp Lazlo . She also voiced the character Tula in Fox's animated series The Pirates of Dark Water .

Personal life

Benson was born and raised in a Catholic environment, [4] graduating from Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois, [5] and Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. [6] She experienced a religious conversion while dating actor/singer Ray Benson (not to be confused with frontman Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel). [4] The two of them later married in 1984. [7] They have two children, McKinley and Delaney. [8] An article originally published in 2013 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the couple "live north of Atlanta, GA." [9]


Benson made her debut in the 1983 Kenny Ortega-directed "Marilyn: An American Fable". Other Broadway credits include a starring role in the 1986 Broadway musical Smile , where she introduced a song called "Disneyland". In 1987, Howard Ashman, the lyricist of Smile, would go on to write the lyrics for The Little Mermaid. She describes the song "Disneyland" at the "Smile" Reunion concert held on Sept. 22, 2014, "This is the first piece of the puzzle of my life, the first step of the journey, so to speak". [ citation needed ] Benson also sings "Disneyland" on a compilation CD called Unsung Musicals. In 1989, Benson appeared in the Broadway musical, Welcome to the Club , alongside Samuel E. Wright, who performed the voice for Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid.

In 1992, Benson received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Polly Baker in Crazy For You . She played the narrator in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1998.

Benson also played the Queen in a one-night concert version of Rodgers & Hammerstein 's Cinderella at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in May 2010. [10]

She was at the 2012 SYTA conference singing her signature song “Part of Your World” on August 27, 2012.

Benson has been the guest artist for the Candlelight Processional for five years at Walt Disney World including December 10–13, 2012. [11]

She joined the "2013 Spring Pops" on May 14–15, 2013 as a guest soloist with the Boston Pops.

Benson can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a six-part DVD series entitled Baby Faith from the creators of Baby Einstein. Her animated TV series include the Emmy Award-winning Camp Lazlo for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid , Batman Beyond , The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy , The Wild Thornberrys , Barbie, Hercules: Zero to Hero , P. J. Sparkles , and the series Sofia the First for Disney.

On the concert stage, Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world, including The Boston Pops, The Philly Pops (conductor: Peter Nero), The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (conductor: John Mauceri), The National Symphony (conductor: Marvin Hamlisch), Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo, and the San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies. She starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, and in Disney's Premiere in Central Park with Pocahontas, The Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Benson is the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation.

On June 6, 2016, Benson performed the role of Ariel at the Hollywood Bowl's concert performance of The Little Mermaid. [12] She also made a special appearance in ABC's 2019 live musical spectacular The Little Mermaid Live! [13]

The Little Mermaid

In late 1986, Benson first heard of the audition for The Little Mermaid through lyricist and playwright Howard Ashman. The two had just worked together in the Broadway show Smile until its run ended early. He knew she would be the perfect fit for the role and that she would be a great replica of Ariel. [14] [15] After hearing the demo for "Part of Your World", she sang a small part of it on tape where it was later sent to Disney executives. Before her audition for The Little Mermaid, she was primarily a stage actress. It was Ashman's first Disney project. In early 1988, Benson won the role of Ariel. [14] [16]



1989 The Little Mermaid Princess Ariel, Vanessa (voices)
1992 Dance! Workout with Barbie Barbie (voice)Direct-to-video
Disney Sing Along Songs: Friend Like Me Princess Ariel (voice)Direct-to-video; archive footage
1994 Thumbelina Thumbelina (voice)
Disney Sing Along Songs: Circle of Life Princess Ariel (voice)Direct-to-video; archive footage
1995 Mickey's Fun Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World Princess Ariel (voice)Direct-to-video
Guideposts JunctionHerselfA six-part Christian video series for children
1997 Flubber Weebo (voice)
A Christmas Carol Belle (voice)
1998 The Mighty Kong Ann Darrow (voice)Direct-to-video
1999 Toy Story 2 Barbie (voice)
2000 Joseph: King of Dreams Asenath (voice)Direct-to-video
2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Lady (voice)Direct-to-video
Nominated - Annie Award for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production
2002 Balto II: Wolf Quest Jenna (voice)Direct-to-video
Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe In Santa Lenee (voice)Television film
2003 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Anita (voice)Direct-to-video
K10C: Kids' Ten CommandmentsLeila, Martha (voices)
2004 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Lastelle's Mother (voice)Disney Dub
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Jenna (voice)Direct-to-video
2007 Enchanted Sam
2010 Toy Story 3 Barbie (voice)
2011 The Little Engine That Could Jillian (voice)
Hawaiian Vacation Barbie (voice)Short film
2012 Secret of the Wings Healing-Talent Fairy (voice)
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Princess Ariel (voice)


1991 Hunter Police officerEpisode: "Cries of Silence"
1992 P. J. Sparkles P.J. (voice)Television special
1992–1994 The Little Mermaid Princess Ariel (voice)31 episodes
1997 Caroline in the City MotherEpisode: "Caroline and the Egg"
1998–1999 Hercules Helen of Troy (voice)10 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Mother Cheetah (voice)Episode: "Cheetahs Never Prosper"
Batman Beyond Aquagirl (voice)Episode: "The Call" Parts 1 & 2
2001–2003 House of Mouse Princess Ariel, Belle (voices)3 episodes
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire Choir SoloistEpisode: "Sleeping Lions"
2004–2006 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy The Blue Fairy, Additional voices3 episodes
2005–2008 Camp Lazlo Patsy Smiles, Ms. Jane Doe, Almondine (voices)21 episodes
2013–2018 Sofia the First Princess Ariel, Queen Emmaline (voices)2 episodes
2015 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Singing Teacher (voice)Episode: "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses"
2016 Clarence Diana (voice)Episode: "The Tails of Mardrynia"
2019 The Little Mermaid Live! HerselfTV Special

Video games

YearTitleVoice roleNotes
1997 Ariel's Story Studio Princess Ariel
1998 A Bug's Life AttaReplacing Julia Louis-Dreyfus
1999Disney's Arcade FrenzyPrincess Ariel
2000 Grandia II Millenia, Reena [17]
2000 Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge Nasira
2002 Kingdom Hearts Princess ArielEnglish dub
2004 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Voice of Mother [18]
2005 Kingdom Hearts II Princess ArielEnglish dub
2007 Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures
2012Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure
2012 Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
2016 Disney Magical World 2

Theme parks

2003 Mickey's PhilharMagic Princess ArielVoice role


1982 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Ensemble [19]
1983 Marilyn: An American Fable Factory Girl, Ensemble [19] Broadway debut
1984 Sophisticated Ladies performer [19]
1986 Smile Doria Hudson [19]
1988Dangerous Musicperformer [20]
1989Welcome to the ClubBetty Bursteter [19]
1990 Chess Florence [21]
1992 Crazy for You Polly Baker [19]
1998Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatNarrator [22]


1990 The Little Mermaid Soundtrack
1991Precious Moments Timmy's GiftPerformed the song, Starlight Theme
1991Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible I
1992Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible II
1992The Little Mermaid: Splash Hits
1992Crazy for You Cast Recording
1993 The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea
1994Unsung Musicals
1994 Thumbelina Soundtrack
1995Songs of Guideposts Junction
1996Hollywood ChristmasVarious artists
2000 The Little Mermaid II (soundtrack)
2004 Disney Princess: The Ultimate Song Collection
2004Disney Princess Music Hits
2005Disneys Princess Christmas Album
2005 Disney Princess Tea Party
2006 Ultimate Disney Princess

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations
1992 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Crazy For You Nominated
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Nominated
2011 Disney Legend Award Animation - Voice The Little Mermaid Won
2011EDA Female Focus AwardsBest Animated Female Toy Story 3 Nominated

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