Adriana Caselotti
Adriana Caselotti photo.jpg
Caselotti in 1937
Born(1916-05-06)May 6, 1916
DiedJanuary 18, 1997(1997-01-18) (aged 80)
OccupationActress, voice actress, singer
Years active1932–1946
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)

Joseph Dana Costigan
(m. 1972; died 1982)

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

Adriana Elena Loreta Caselotti[1] (May 6, 1916 – January 18, 1997) was an American 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 a Disney Legend in 1994, making her the first female voiceover artist to achieve this.

Early life

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 music teacher and vocal coach; and her mother, Maria Orefice from Naples, was a singer in the Royal Opera Theatre of Rome. Her older sister, Louise, sang opera and gave voice lessons—Maria Callas being a student of hers. When Caselotti was seven years old, her family left Connecticut for Italy, while her mother toured with an opera company. Caselotti was educated and boarded at the San Getulio convent, near Rome. When her family returned to New York three years later, Caselotti re-learned English and studied singing with her father.[2] In 1934, Caselotti attended Hollywood High School where she sang in the senior class Girls' Glee Club and had a leading role in the school's annual musical, The Belle of New York.[3]

Career

In 1935, after her brief stint as a chorus girl and session singer at MGM, Walt Disney hired Caselotti as the voice of his heroine Snow White.[4] She was paid a total of $970 for working on the film (equivalent to $18,284 in 2021).[2] She was not credited for the role, and had trouble finding new opportunities later in life. Jack Benny specifically mentioned that he had asked Walt 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."[5] 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?"[6] In 1946, she had an uncredited role in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, singing in Martini's bar as James Stewart is praying.[citation needed]

Adriana Caselotti appeared in several promotional spots for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and signed memorabilia during promotional events. 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 "Some Day 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?.[4]

Later in life, she sold autographs and sang opera, including performing in Rigoletto. In the early 1990s, when the Snow White Grotto at Disneyland was refurbished, Caselotti, at the age of 75, re-recorded "I'm Wishing" for the Snow White Wishing Well exhibit. In 1994, she was named a Disney Legend.[4]

Filmography

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, uncredited
1939 The Wizard of Oz Juliet Uncredited, voice actress
1942 We Were Dancing Opera Singer Uncredited, voice actress
1946 It's a Wonderful Life Singer at Martini's Uncredited, voice actress, final film role.

Personal life

Caselotti was married four times. Her first husband was Robert Chard, a local theater ticket broker[7] whom she married in 1945. The marriage ended in divorce. She later met 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, Joseph Dana Costigan,[citation needed] who died in 1982. Caselotti married her last husband, Florian St. Pierre, in 1989 and they later divorced.[6]

Death

On January 18, 1997, Caselotti died of cancer at her Los Angeles home, at the age of 80.[2]

References

  1. ^ "Adriana Caselotti Birth Certificate, Passport, and Bank | Lot #97030 | Heritage Auctions". Heritage Auctions. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Adriana Caselotti, 80, Voice of Snow White"; New York Times;" Obituary article; 01/21/1997; retrieved October 8, 2017
  3. ^ Poinsettia Yearbook (29 ed.). Hollywood: Hollywood High School. 1934. pp. 79, 81.
  4. ^ a b c "Adriana Caselotti". D23. Disney. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b Sibley, Brian (February 10, 1997). "Obituary: Adriana Caselotti". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Bradford Era"; Newspapers.com; On-line Newspaper archives; article; Thursday, July 18, 1946; Bradford, Pennsylvania; p. 5; retrieved April 2021