Happy Birthday, Susanne Blakeslee: Long Live the Disney Villainess Queen!

Happy Birthday, Susanne Blakeslee: Long Live the Disney Villainess Queen!

Who do you call these days when you're looking to replace an iconic female villain voice?

You call the icon herself!

Susanne Blakeslee is one of those voices that you've heard billions of times, whether you know it or not. I see you all out there, shaking your heads incredulously and scoffing at my audacity. Well, I have a few questions for you:

Have you ever watched The Fairly OddParents on Nickelodeon?

Have you every played the Kingdom Hearts or Bioshock games?

Have you watched any modern Disney animated sequel, such as Cinderella 2 and 3 or 101 Dalmatians 2?

Then, by gum, you've heard the voice of Miss Blakeslee!

To fill in the blanks of the questions I've posed above, Susanne Blakeslee is the voice of Wanda on The Fairly OddParents, Julie Langford in Bioshock, and is the current voice actress, across all media, for the legendary Disney Villainesses Maleficent, Cruella, Snow White's Evil Queen/Wicked Witch, Lady Tremaine (Cinderella's Stepmother), and Madame Leota (the floating head in the orb introduced in Disney's The Haunted Mansion ride.)

But, you're thinking, "How can she be the voice of all those Disney Villainesses? She'd have to be dead!" Well, you're half-right, my friends.

The legendary women who performed those roles have passed and, luckily, Disney has found a remarkable woman who is able to do them all.

Susanne Blakeslee was born and raised in Los Angeles and has since become a voice acting legend, popping up in such popular movie, TV, and video game franchises as God of War, Kung Fu Panda, Scooby-Doo, The Powerpuff Girls, Shrek, Diablo, and Final Fantasy. (Phew!)

Blakeslee is no stranger to the stage as well, having been a part of multiple productions in the successful line of Forbidden Broadway shows, lampooning many divas, including Barbra Streisand and, perhaps, one of the best imitations of Julie Andrews:

These performances garnered her a Musical Ovation Award in 2012 for her role as Woman 1 in Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits, Volume 2.

So, for a belated birthday gift to Miss Blakeslee, who turned 61 on January 27th, I decided to honor her by sharing my favorite voice clips, representing not only those Disney Villainesses, but a few of my other favorites as well! (For the Disney Villainesses, the first clip will be the original voice actress and the second will be Miss Blakeslee.)

1. LadySmith Splicer/Julie Langford (Bioshock 1 and 2)

The smash hit dystopian video game of 2007 included some brilliant voice acting from the residents of the doomed underwater city of Rapture, but Blakeslee's LadySmith Splicer has to be one most tragically humorous creatures ever to grace the world of a video game:

She also played Julie Langford, an entirely normal citizen of Rapture, who meets a rather...pungent...end.

2. Wanda (The Fairly OddParents)

I have to say, this choice was purely nostalgic, but Blakeslee imbues Wanda with such a frenzied state of perpetual glee that I couldn't resist putting her on this list:

3. The Evil Queen/The Wicked Witch (Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, etc...)

Disney's first villainess was originally portrayed by actress Lucille La Verne (who took her teeth out to play The Witch):

This is a difficult dual role to pull off, yet Blakeslee manages to retain the regal voice needed for The Queen:

and shed it when cackling as The Witch:

4. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella 2 and 3, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, etc...)

Eleanor Audley was the voice of both Lady Tremaine and Maleficent, making her a voice acting legend and the very essence of horror of many childhoods:

Blakeslee's Tremaine pays homage to the velvety, faux-regal accent Audley originated in this role, a herculean task:

5. Maleficent (Kingdom Hearts, etc...)

Perhaps the most feared of all the Disney Villains, male or female, Eleanor Audley returned to lend her voice to "The Mistress of All Evil":

Blakeslee's Maleficent, as with her Lady Tremaine, manages to capture the elusive essence of Audley's original characterization:

6. Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians 2, etc...)

Hide the dalmatians, because Cruella is on the loose! Miss De Vil was voiced in the original by the very glamorous and beautiful Betty Lou Gerson (and her character animation was modeled off of one Miss Mary Wickes, a familiar sight on this blog!):

Blakeslee's Cruella is as nutty and thunderous as Gerson's, replete with a cackle that will cause you to hide under the covers for years to come!

So, we tip our hats to Suzanne Blakeslee today, honoring the reigning "Mistress of All Evil!"... well... maybe just her voice...!


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