Disney characters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are human, some are animals, and some share a shocking resemblance to the voice actors that bring them to life.
In some of these cases, animators are directly inspired by the work of the actor (who record their dialogue before the animation takes place) and incorporate their appearances and/or mannerisms into the final character.
These striking resemblances are so uncanny that they deserved the supreme distinction of having their very own list. Here's the top ten voice characters who could not look any more like their voice actors.
1. Pocahontas - Irene Bedard
Throw a turquoise necklace and an arm tattoo on her, and you've got your Pocahontas! This one makes complete sense when you consider that the animators actually modeled Pocahontas after Irene Bedard, a Native American model and actress. Clearly, they did a pretty good job!
2. Lady Tremaine - Eleanor Audley
The magnificent Eleanor Audley has a villanous legacy at Disney; she also voices Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. But the physical similarities between Audley and Cinderella's opportunistic Lady Tremaine are striking. Some scenes were modeled after Audley's facial expressions and mannerisms.
3. Carl Fredericksen - Ed Asner
The famously gruff actor was the perfect person to bring the curmudgeonly Carl to life. Both men also have a heart of gold and deeply imbedded devotion to doing what's right. The similarities go beyond their personalities, too, a fact made clear by just gazing at their two distinguished mugs. You know both these guys have seen a lot in their lifetimes.
4. Alice - Kathryn Beaumont
Like Eleanor Audley, Kathryn Beaumont has the distinction of voicing multiple classic Disney characters. Along with voicing and giving some distinctive visual inspiration to Alice, Beaumont leant her talents to Wendy in Peter Pan. However, her blonde hair and blue eyes gave a distinctive look to Alice, who was often depicted as a brunette.
5. Danny DeVito - Philoctetes
In Greek mythology, Philoctetes was a Greek hero (just like Hercules!), a human prince who was famed for archery. It looks like Disney decided to take a different approach when it came to designing their own Phil, opting to find inspiration in their voice actor. We're pretty much treated to Danny DeVito with goat legs every time we pop in the Hercules VHS, and that just makes life a little sweeter.
6. Emperor of China - Pat Morita
Until doing some research for this post, I had no idea that Pat Morita passed away in 2005. So RIP, Mr. Miyagi, ten years late.
At least you will always be remembered in animated form as the wise Emperor of China in Mulan. I can take solace in the fact that your comforting expression transcended reality and ended up in one of my favorite Disney movies.
7. Yzma - Eartha Kitt
Another one of my favorites who was taken away from us way too soon. Okay, so she was 81 years old, but I could have used a whole lifetime of the brilliance of Eartha Kitt. For The Emperor's New Groove, Kitt brought her amazing vocal talents to the marvelously wicked Yzma. The character animator Dale Baer commented that Kitt's mannerisms during recording sessions contributed to Yzma's final movements. Luckily for us all, Kitt wasn't deranged and bent on political domination quite like Yzma.
8. Princess Tiana - Anika Noni Rose
In The Princess and the Frog, Disney's first black princess looks almost identical to her talented voice actress, Anika Noni Rose. Rose may have recorded all of her dialogue in one eight hour session, but clearly her appearance had some enduring effects on the look of Princess Tiana. Animators took the actress's dimples and left-handedness as starting points for inspiration. I'd say they took a lot more than that!
9. Peter Pan - Bobby Driscoll
Despite going through multiple iterations of design models, Peter Pan ultimately ended up looking identical to child voice actor Bobby Driscoll. I mean the resemblance even incorporates Driscoll's slight overbite and large teeth. As Peter Pan was normally portrayed by a grown woman, having Driscoll as inspiration totally changed the way most people view the famous flying boy.
10. Sergeant Calhoun - Jane Lynch
Saving the most recent film for last, [Wreck-It Ralph](movie:228519) featured the no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun, who resembles her voice actress Jane Lynch in more ways than one. First, their general facial structure and hair shape are incredibly similar, one pretty much looking like an animated version of the other. Second, Calhoun's rigid personality is reminiscent of Lynch's character Sue Sylvester on [Glee](movie:718630). Either way, animators and Lynch created a fantastically dynamic character, one of the major highlights of the movie.
After seeing all these examples of art imitating life, do you agree that there are significant resemblances?
Lastly, any other characters and their voice actors that you think could fit on this list? Let me know in the comments!