Ilene Woods (Ilene Woods)

Ilene Woods

Actress, Singer. A noted Big Band performer, she is remembered for voicing the title role of Walt Disney’s 1950 animated classic “Cinderella”. Born Jacqueline Ruth Woods, she originally wanted to be a teacher but was pushed into show business by an ambitious mother who arranged for her to receive dance and music lessons. At 11 she was performing on local radio and by 14 had her own 15-minute show airing three times a week on the ABC Blue Network out of New York City. Ilene moved to Chicago where she was heard frequently on Don McNeill’s “The Breakfast Club”, then to Los Angeles where she starred on the “Sealtest Village Store”. In 1944 she participated in a three-month War Bond Tour with band leader Paul Whiteman and was later to sing for FDR at his Hyde Park, New York, estate and for Harry Truman at the White House. In 1948 she recorded demos of a few songs as a favor to friends, not knowing they were intended for Walt Disney’s upcoming production of “Cinderella”. Two days later she received a call from Disney himself requesting an interview and she was chosen from among 300 girls to perform the title character’s singing and speaking voices opposite Verna Felton as the Fairy Godmother and future talk show host Mike Douglas as Prince Charming. (According to legend, chief animator Marc Davis also tried to incorporate Ilene’s facial expressions and body language into his drawing of Cinderella). The film’s success rescued Disney Studios from financial problems while during the 1950s Ilene became a regular on the television shows of Perry Como and Arthur Godfrey. While a guest on “The Garry Moore Show” she met “Tonight Show” drummer Ed Shaughnessy to whom she was married from 1963 until her death. Retiring from show business in 1972 except for occasional autograph shows, Ilene was a spokeswoman for United Cerebral Palsy telethons and received a 2003 Disney Legends Award. She died of Alzheimer’s Disease. Of her part in “Cinderella” she said: “Oh, I love the idea that after I’m gone children will still be hearing my voice”. (bio by: Bob Hufford)  Family links:  Spouse:  Ed Shaughnessy (1929 – 2013)* *Calculated relationship


  • May, 05, 1929
  • USA


  • July, 07, 2010
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • California
  • USA

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