5 May 1929
1 July 2010 (aged 81)
Ilene Woods (born May 5, 1929 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A. - died July 1, 2010) was an American actress.
Her mom worked on the behind the scenes of videos, taking Ilene with her. She started acting at two years old. When she was 14, she was given the job to have her own radio show on the new station called The Blue Network on ABC Radio during the 1944 summer. It was shortly known as The Ilene Woods Show. The entire show was about 15 minutes of music for 3 days a week. A lot of songwriters came on the show to present their music to her. That was how she became friends with Mack David and Jerry Livingston. Later in life she moved to California, feeling it was time to move on.
Her mother was a lot like Ilene. She was very strict, and had Ilene live her youngest years through life lived only by her mother's way.
One day, two of her friends Mack David and Jerry Livingston called. They asked for a favor of her to record on discs, a few of their most recent written songs for a movie. They also wanted her not just to record them, but to sing them. When her friends asked it as a favor, and not for business, she wasn't sure if she should record the songs. Soon the songs were presented to Walt Disney so it could be used in the English version of Cinderella. Walt Disney heard Ilene's voice on the tape, and two days later asked Ilene to voice the star role of Cinderella. She gladly accepted the role, surprised by the fact that she was auditioning, and over 300 other auditioning girls. She only saw Walt Disney after every day working on Cinderella. She said at one interview for Classicfilm, "Seeing it in its new form was breathtaking for me. It's so beautiful. The color is magnificent, it just took my breath away, it was so wonderful. I sort of forget when I'm watching the movie that I had anything to do with it. Yet, it brings back so many beautiful memories of working with the wonderful artists and working with Walt mostly. It brings back wonderful, wonderful memories."
For the direct-to-video sequels to Cinderella, she was replaced by Jennifer Hale to voice Cinderella.
Her recent film appearance was Cassie in Touched By An Angel as a night nurse. She has sung for President Roosevelt at his home in Hyde Park. She also sang at the White House for President Truman, after singing for the soldiers and sailors of war.
She married the first time at the age of 17 to Stephen Steck, Jr. and had one child by that marriage, her daughter Stephanie. After a divorce, she married The Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy in 1963 and had two sons, James and Daniel.
When Disney began releasing videocassette versions of its animated films, Woods was one of at least three actresses to file lawsuits over royalties for their performances; at the time of Woods' December 1990 filing, Peggy Lee of Lady and the Tramp had won her lawsuit the previous April and a 1989 suit by Mary Costa of Sleeping Beauty was still pending. In 2003, she was awarded a Disney Legend award for her voicework on the film Cinderella. One of her last film appearances was in Touched by an Angel as night nurse Cassie.
Ilene Woods died on July 1, 2010, from causes related to Alzheimer's disease at a nursing home in Canoga Park. She did not recognize a lot of what was going on around her, but the nurses found that she was most comforted by "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," so they played it for her as often as possible, her husband, Ed Shaughnessy, told the Los Angeles Times. In addition to her husband of 47 years, she was survived by their son, a daughter from her first marriage, and three grandchildren. Her interment was in Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).
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