Jodi Marie Marzorati Benson (born October 10, 1961), known professionally as Jodi Benson, is an American actress, voice actress, and soprano singer. She is best known for providing both the speaking and the singing voice of Disney's Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid and its sequels. Benson voiced the character Barbie in the 1999 movie Toy Story 2, the 2010 Academy Award winning movie Toy Story 3 and the Toy Story toon Hawaiian Vacation. For her contributions to the Disney company, Benson was named a Disney Legend in 2011.
Benson has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the original voice of Ariel in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney Pictures animated feature film The Little Mermaid, and continues to bring life to Ariel as well as the bubbly voice of "Barbie" in Disney/Pixar's Best Picture Golden Globe winner Toy Story 2 and Academy Award winner Toy Story 3. She also gave voice to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber, starring Robin Williams. For Warner Bros., she created the voice of Thumbelina, a Don Bluth animated feature with songs by Barry Manilow. Jodi's other projects include Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, Balto II: Wolf Quest, and Balto III: Wings of Change. She appeared as Patrick Dempsey's assistant Sam, in Disneyâs live-action feature film Enchanted.
Benson can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a 6-part DVD series entitled Baby Faith from the creators of Baby Einstein. Her animated TV series include the Emmy Award winning Camp Lazlo for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid, Batman Beyond, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Wild Thornberrys, Barbie, Hercules: Zero to Hero, P. J. Sparkles, and the series Sofia the First for Disney as well as many others.
On the concert stage, Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world, including The Boston Pops, The Philly Pops (conductor: Peter Nero), The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (conductor: John Mauceri), The National Symphony (conductor: Marvin Hamlisch), Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo, San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, to name a few. She starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, and in Disney's Premiere in Central Park with Pocahontas, The Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Benson is the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation.
Jodi is married to husband, Ray, and has two children, son, McKinley and daughter, Delaney.
Benson's Broadway credits include a starring role in the Broadway musical Smile, where she introduced a song called "Disneyland". Howard Ashman, the lyricist of Smile, would go on to write the lyrics for The Little Mermaid. She describes about the song "Disneyland" at the "SMILE" Reunion concert held on Sept. 22nd, 2014, "This is the first piece of the puzzle of my life, the first step of the journey, so to speak". Benson also sings "Disneyland" on a compilation CD called Unsung Musicals. In 1989, Benson appeared in the Broadway musical, Welcome to the Club, alongside Samuel E. Wright, who performed the voice for Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid.
In 1992, Benson received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Polly Baker in Crazy For You. She played the narrator in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1998.
Benson also played the Queen in a one night concert version of Rodgers & Hammersteinââ'âs Cinderella at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in May 2010.
She was at the 2012 SYTA conference singing her signature song Part of Your World on Monday, August 27, 2012.
Benson has been the guest artist for the Candlelight Processional for 5 years at Walt Disney World including December 10â"13, 2012.
Jodi joined "2013 Spring Pops" on May 14â"15, 2013 as a guest soloist with the Boston Pops.
The Little Mermaid
In the 1980's Benson first heard of the audition for The Little Mermaid through lyricist & playwright Howard Ashman. The two had just worked together in the Broadway show Smile until its run ended early. After hearing the demo for "Part of Your World", she sang a small part of it on tape where it was later sent to Disney executives. Before her audition for The Little Mermaid she was primarily a stage actress. It was Ashman's first Disney project.
Benson married her husband, Ray Benson, in 1984. They have two children; son McKinley Benson (b. January 1999) and daughter Delaney Benson (b. June 2001).
Movies, TV and home video/DVD
- 1984 NausicaÃ¤ of the Valley of the Wind (voice) - Lastelle's Mother (2004 Disney Dub)
- 1990 Disney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea (voice, archive footage) - Princess Ariel
- 1991 Pirates of Dark Water TV Series (voice) - Tula
- 1992 Dance! Workout with Barbie Video (voice) - Barbie
- 1992 P. J. Sparkles (voice) - P.J. (1988 Mattel)
- 1992 The Little Mermaid TV Series (voice) - Princess Ariel
- 1993 Disney Sing Along Songs: Friend Like Me (voice, archive footage) - Princess Ariel
- 1994 Disney Sing Along Songs: Circle of Life (voice, archive footage) - Princess Ariel
- 1995 Mickey's Fun Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World (voice, live action) - Princess Ariel
- 1996 Guideposts Junction, a six-part Christian video series for children - Herself
- 1998 Blablaland - Lola Pesto
- 1998 Hercules TV Series (voice) - Helen of Troy
- 2000 Batman Beyond (voice) - Aquagirl ("The Call" Parts 1 and 2)
- 2001 House of Mouse TV Series (voice) - Princess Ariel/Belle
- 2001 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy - The Blue Fairy, Additional Voices
- 2003 K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments (voice) - Leila and Martha
- 2005 Camp Lazlo (voice) - Patsy Smiles, Ms. Jane Doe, Almondine
- 2007 The Save-Ums (voice) - Cloe
- 2013 Sofia the First (voice) - Ariel and the voice of Queen Emmaline
- 1998 A Bug's Life - Atta
- 2000 Grandia II - Millenia/Elena
- 2000 The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea - Princess Ariel
- 2000 Disney's Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge - Nasira
- 2002 Kingdom Hearts - Princess Ariel (English version)
- 2004 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege - Voice of Mother
- 2005 Kingdom Hearts II - Princess Ariel (English version)
- 2007 Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey - Princess Ariel
- 2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures - Princess Ariel
- 2012 Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure - Princess Ariel
- 2012 Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion - Princess Ariel
- 1990 The Little Mermaid Soundtrack
- 1991 Precious Moments Timmy's Gift (performed the song, Starlight Theme)
- 1991 Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible I
- 1992 Jodi Benson Sings Songs From the Beginner's Bible II
- 1992 The Little Mermaid: Splash hits
- 1992 Crazy for You Cast Recording
- 1993 The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea
- 1994 Unsung Musicals
- 1994 Thumbelina Soundtrack
- 1995 Songs of Guideposts Junction
- 1996 Hollywood Christmas (Various artists)
- 2000 The Little Mermaid II (soundtrack)
- 2004 Disney Princess: The Ultimate Song Collection
- 2004 Disney Princess Music Hits
- 2005 Disney Princess Christmas Of Enchantment
- 2005 Disney Princess Tea Party
- 2006 Ultimate Disney Princess
- Mickey's PhilharMagic - Ariel
- Jodi Benson at the Internet Movie Database
- Jodi Benson at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jodi Benson at the Disney Legends Website
- Performance Working in the Theatre seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, April 1992