The Snow White voice actress was blacklisted by Walt Disney. For a young, and talented actress who managed to provide the beautiful voice of the title character of the first ever animated film made in the US, such a move would have been devastating, not to mention career ending. So what did the Snow White voice actress do to get blacklisted by one of the most powerful men in the movie industry? You won’t believe it when you find out.
When animated movies are released today they often carry the signature tones of a famous celebrity. If the movie and script are not enough to say the paying public, perhaps the chance to hear, and see a big celebrity providing their talents to an animated character might. It’s often the case that the movie is even billed with the stars, as if it’s a marketing method. But while this is the case today, and it appears to work, way back in 1937 when Snow White was released, things were very different. They were different because no one had ever done anything like it before, and no one knew how to treat voice actors.
When Snow White was released it didn’t contain any credits for the actors who provided the voices. Actress Adriana Caselotti was under contract with Disney, so couldn’t even argue with the decision. The she was not given credit was because Walt Disney didn’t want to ruin the illusion of the animated character. But his obsession with the preservation of Snow White went much, much further.
Because Adriana Caselotti was under contract with Disney, he was legally permitted to prevent her from not only revealing herself as the voice actor of Snow White, but also from any future acting at all. The Snow White voice actress was blacklisted by Walt Disney because he wanted to protect the image of his fictional character.
For her part in the film she was paid $970, which is about the equivalent of $15,913 today. Although her acting career was as good as dead because of the own success, she made fleeting one line appearances, usually uncredited, in other films.
I’m sorry, but that voice can’t be used anywhere. I don’t want to spoil the illusion of Snow White.
~Walt Disney’s response to Jack Benny who requested permission for Adriana Caselotti to appear in his radio show.