Some performers don’t achieve lasting fame, but they do leave a lasting impact. Their work is familiar to millions, even if their name is relatively unknown.
Such a performer was Ilene Woods, who died on July 1 in Los Angeles, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. Woods’ was the speaking and singing voice of the title character in Walt Disney’s Cinderella, and it’s hard to imagine a piece of work that more people of all ages have seen and enjoyed. (We only learned upon hearing of Ms. Woods’ passing that former talk show host and crooner Mike Douglas gave voice to the prince.)
Woods is survived by her husband, former Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy. We met Shaughnessy a million years ago, when we were in college. He was to be the guest at a percussion festival at the University of Oklahoma, where we were studying, and we were assigned the pleasant task of picking him up at the airport. He couldn’t have been a more pleasant fellow, and we still have (somewhere) the pair of drum sticks he gave us that day (they carried for years the smell of his Aqua Velva after-shave).
We’re sorry to hear of Woods’ passing, and we wish Mr. Shaughnessy strength and comfort in the coming weeks and months. As regular Cladrite Radio readers know, we know all too well what it is to lose a loved one to that dreaded disease.
Here’s a bit from Dennis McLellan’s obituary of Ms. Woods in the Washington Post:
Singer Ilene Woods, 81, dies; was the voice of ‘Cinderella’
By Dennis McLellan
Monday, July 5, 2010
Ilene Woods, 81, who provided the speaking and singing voice for the title character in Walt Disney’s classic 1950 animated feature “Cinderella,” died July 1 at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. She had Alzheimer’s disease, said her husband, Ed Shaughnessy, the former drummer for Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.”
Ms. Woods was a busy 18-year-old singer on the radio in 1948 when, as a favor to two songwriter friends, Jerry Livingston and Mack David, she recorded a demo of a few songs they had written for Disney’s animated feature.
“I did the discs for them, in a studio with a piano — ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,’ ‘So This Is Love,’ ‘A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,’ ” she recalled in a 2005 interview with the Deseret News of Salt Lake City.
“Two days later, Walt called. He wanted me to come over and have an interview. I gladly said, ‘Yes, anytime you say.’ We met and talked for a while, and he said, ‘How would you like to be Cinderella?’ ”
At the time, Ms. Woods was unaware that more than 300 singers had auditioned to be the voice of Cinderella….