Snow White Adriana Caselotti Autograph (1988)

In 1934, in anticipation of the world’s first animated feature film, the Walt Disney Studios began scouting for female voice actors who could execute youthful-sounding dialogue, but also handle the operatic-style musical numbers in the film. Casting director Roy Scott’s search led him first to a local singing teacher, Guido Caselotti. Scott was inquiring about possible leads when Caselotti’s daughter picked up the phone and overheard the conversation. Eighteen-year-old Adriana then boldly asked for and was granted the very first audition for the role. At the audition, she lied to the film’s musical director Frank Churchill, telling him she was sixteen, in order to better fit the age-range he had in mind. When she sight-read the film’s centerpiece track, “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” Walt Disney, who was listening blindly nearby, knew that he had found his leading lady. Still, the studio continued a year-long search, auditioning nearly one hundred and fifty more actresses, before finally returning to Walt’s original choice. Adriana was placed under contract, being paid a total of $970 for her historic performance in the film, and to preserve the exclusivity of the voice of one of the studio’s most famous animated characters, was prevented from accepting any other film roles throughout the remainder of her career. Caselotti, throughout her entire life, remained extremely proud to have represented perhaps the most iconic heroine in animated film history. She played up her princess role even into old age, singing for fans, making promotional appearances in full costume, and even installing a wishing well in her front yard, always grateful for the chance opportunity that made her one of the most significant and memorable players in the studio’s storied history of feature animation: the Disney Princess that started it all.

 

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