The animation industry is mourning the loss of a legend today, as according to Coming Soon, Ilene Woods, the voice of Disney's iconic 'Cinderella,' has died. She was 81.

Woods began her singing and acting career at the age of two, and by the time she turned 14 in the summer of 1944, she had already landed her own radio program, 'The Ilene Woods Show,' on ABC Radio. After moving to California to pursue a career in show business, Woods was contacted by songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston to record tracks for a new film they were working on. When those recordings made their way into Walt Disney's hands, he called Woods up and signed her for the signature role of Cinderella, which became an instant classic when it debuted to worldwide acclaim in 1950.

Following the success of 'Cinderella,' Woods continued to work in Hollywood until 1959, when she retired to become a homemaker and grade school teacher, a decision she never regretted. The animation industry is mourning the loss of a legend today, as according to Coming Soon, Ilene Woods, the voice of Disney's iconic 'Cinderella,' has died. She was 81.

Woods began her singing and acting career at the age of two, and by the time she turned 14 in the summer of 1944, she had already landed her own radio program, 'The Ilene Woods Show,' on ABC Radio. After moving to California to pursue a career in show business, Woods was contacted by songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston to record tracks for a new film they were working on. When those recordings made their way into Walt Disney's hands, he called Woods up and signed her for the signature role of Cinderella, which became an instant classic when it debuted to worldwide acclaim in 1950.

Following the success of 'Cinderella,' Woods continued to work in Hollywood until 1959, when she retired to become a homemaker and grade school teacher, a decision she never regretted.

"I was not interested in going into show business, but I'm very happy because of all of the wonderful things I did," Woods told UltimateDisney in a 2005 interview. "I sang for President Roosevelt at his Hyde Park home, I sang for President Truman at the White House because of the work I had done for the soldiers and sailors during the war. I had a wonderful life in the business, but it was not difficult for me to leave it when I was married and had my two boys, because that was a very happy time in my life."

Still, the role of Cinderella remained one of the high points of her life. "I love the fact that so many young women will come up to me and say 'I had a Cinderella wedding' or 'Oh I just love Cinderella. I love her spirit and I loved the movie so very much.' Other girls will come up and say 'I had my whole bedroom decorated in Cinderella's colors.' It just thrills me that the women mostly will come up to me and say to me how much they loved the character and they love Cinderella."

Woods, who was presented with a Disney legends award in 2000, especially enjoyed seeing children dress as Cinderella for Halloween because "I just love children. Knowing that many years from now, when I'm gone, the children will still be hearing my voice and enjoying the movie is just the biggest thrill to come out of this altogether."

Here's a look at one of the iconic moments in cinema, with Woods performing the signature song 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes:'




CATEGORIES Movies