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Jodi Benson (born October 10, 1961 as Jodi Marie Marzorati) is an American voice actress and singer. She is known for providing both the singing and the speaking voice of Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989 film) and its sequels. In 2002 and 2006, she reprised the role of Ariel in the English versions of the Kingdom Hearts video game series.

Early Life

She attended Boylan Catholic High School and Millikin University, and currently lives in North Georgia. 

Career

Benson seems incapable of escaping her The Little Mermaid legacy. In the Guideposts Junction video series, one child (Meg McCabe) jokingly asked if she knew anything about mermaids. 

The Mighty Kong featured one scene in which Ann Darrow (whose voice she provided), swam through the water, her hair flowing about in a mermaid-like fashion. She even provided the voice for Aquagirl in an episode of Batman Beyond.

Fortunately, Mrs. Benson seems to have no regrets about her Little Mermaid role. She says that she never gets tired of singing "Part of Your World", her trademark song from this movie.

Benson also did voice-overs in video games. She played Ariel again in the video game Kingdom Hearts; she is also in Kingdom Hearts II, playing Ariel yet again, this time singing in musicals. She was also in Grandia II where she was the American voice actress for Millenia. Benson is also currently doing voice work in the Emmy-winning Cartoon Network animated series, Camp Lazlo, as the characters Patsy Smiles, Scoutmistress Jane Doe, and Almondine the Owl.

Fittingly enough, Benson performs the song "Disneyland" on the Unsung Musicals compilation CD. This song was originally performed by her in the short-lived Broadway musical Smile, long before she became affiliated with the Walt Disney Company.

In 1992, Benson received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Polly Baker in the musical Crazy for You. In 1989, she appeared in the short-lived musical Welcome to the Club, with the late Samuel E. Wright (the voice of Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian in The Little Mermaid).

Benson had a small role as "Sam" in Disney's Enchanted as a tribute to Ariel.

Among non-Disney related films, she played in Don Bluth's version of the Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbelina", playing the heroine of the same name. She performed many songs in this film, including "Soon" and "Let Me Be Your Wings" (f. Gary Imhoff), with singer-songwriter and producer Barry Manilow.

On the concert stage, Ms. Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world: The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The National Symphony, Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo Philharmonic, San Francisco and Chicago, to name a few. She has starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, The 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney, Central Park Disney Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Ms. Benson is honored to be the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation.

For LeapFrog, she voiced the singing Letters in The Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, and Code Word Caper, as well as additional voices and a female singer for various LeapPad games. She also voiced the female singer for "The Alphabet Song" once for the LeapPad Plus Writing game, Reading and Writing: Tad’s Great Day at the Letter Factory.

Christianity and Relatives

Jodi gives thanks and praise to the Lord for her family, friends, for her loving and amazing husband, Ray Benson, and her precious children: son McKinley (born 1999) and daughter Delaney (born 2001).

Sound Samples

LeapFrog Credits

Videos

LeapPad:

Leapster:

  • Disney Princess: Enchanted Learning - Ariel
  • Disney Princess: World of Enchantment - Ariel

My First LeapPad:

  • Disney Princess: Enchanted Counting Tales - Ariel
  • Disney Princess: 2 Princess Tales - Belle
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