The movie “The Little Mermaid” swam into theaters on November 17, 1989, which means that it is turning 30 years old this year! Even after all of this time, Jodie Benson who is the voice behind Ariel still gets recognized for her role to this day. She has appeared at various Disney events as well as in the movies bonus features.
Benson recently told TODAY, “I was a chaperone for our daughter, Delaney, at the Junior Theater Festival, and everywhere I went, kids would stop me, and parents would stop me, and they’d go, ‘Oh, my gosh. Do you know you look exactly like the voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson? Do people tell you that?’ I’m like, ‘Yes! That is so weird. Everybody says that to me!’”
Stories From Fans
Over the course of the last 30 years, fans of “The Little Mermaid” have shared some moving stories with Benson. Although she loves to hear where fans where the first time they saw the movie, what they were wearing, what they were feeling, and who they were with, some stories are difficult and painful to hear.
Benson recalled one story that involved a little girl who was a burn victim. She would watch the movie over and over during the full-body skin graft sessions. There are also stories of autistic children connecting to the loss of Ariel’s voice and learning to speak from the movie. Benson has also been told about children in wheelchairs that connected to Ariel because of the loss of legs and gaining the legs. The story is truly magical in that there are bits and pieces that connect with the audience on a universal level.
Jodie Benson’s Memory About Making “The Little Mermaid”
Jodie Benson’s favorite part of making “The Little Mermaid” was recording “Part of Your World” with the film’s late producer and lyricist, Howard Ashman. The two had previously collaborated on “Smile” which was a Broadway musical.
“He really knew how to get everything out of me,” she said. “I kept oversinging the song like I was onstage with 1,500 people. And he’s like, ‘Just less. Less, less, less.’ He goes, ‘I have an idea. Let’s just turn out the lights, sit on a stool, put your head in your hands and just say the words.’ He was so incredibly brilliant, and we lost him way too soon. So every time I sing ‘Part of Your World,’ which is almost every weekend, I go back to that moment, and I remember exactly where I was when I recorded it.”
According to Jodie Benson, Ariel’s greatest quality is her tenacity. “There’s nothing impossible for her,” Benson said. “And that’s who I am. I’m very tenacious. I will knock on a closed door until it slams literally in my face. So that’s how we connect.”
I for one definitely connect with that quality as well. Do you have any stories of how you connect to “The Little Mermaid”? Share them in the comments!
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