A Disney Gem

Barbara Luddy

As I was re-watching Disney’s 1955 classic Lady and the Tramp yesterday, I was struck by the familiarity of Lady’s voice. I immediately paused the film to try to figure out whose voice it was and why I felt that it belonged somewhere else. Then it dawned on me that this voice was in another Disney movie. The distinct voice belongs to Barbara Luddy and she provided the voice-work in a number of Disney films, such as the character of Merryweather  (the blue fairy)
in Sleeping Beauty (1959), Rover in 101 Dalmations (1961), as well as Mother Saxton and Mother Rabbit in Robin Hood (1973). She began her career as a silent film star during the 1920s but her legacy stems from these enjoyable animated films. I find it curious that her voice is almost lost today as there is minimal information to be found about the actress on the internet, however I hope this post sparks an interest to research other lost voices of early animated films, or lesser known stars. I find these individuals to be the most intriguing and am curious to learn more about them! This being said, after growing up associating Luddy’s voice with Merryweather, I found watching Lady and the Tramp to be somewhat tedious because my mind was not willing to accept Lady to be the same as the feisty blue fairy that captured my heart as a child. It is strange how the mind makes these associations, n’est pas?

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