Lucille Bliss

Voiceover Artist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Lucille Bliss (1916-2012) talks about her early work in USO shows in San Francisco and her first big break as a voice artist on Walt Disney's "Cinderella" as stepsister "Anastasia." She describes the creation of the television series The Happy Birthday To You Show, a local children's show that she hosted in San Francisco. She talks about the format of the show, memorable moments as host, and how it inspired The Mickey Mouse Club. Bliss speaks in great detail about her part as the voice of the title character in television's very first cartoon, Crusader Rabbit.  She talks of the premise of the show, the contributions of collaborators Alex Anderson and Jay Ward, and how her part came to be recast for the later version of the series. Bliss also recalls the difficulties of battling occasional rejection and bad breaks, which for her included the loss of a lucrative contract at Hanna-Barbera for Ruff and Reddy, and her replacement as the voice of "Elroy" on The Jetsons. She then details her most well-known role as "Smurfette" on the 1980s animated hit, The Smurfs. She discusses how she won the role, describes her character, and talks about her work with the ensemble cast that included Paul Winchell as the villainous "Gargamel." Finally, she talks about her later work both on camera and as a voice artist, including on the cult animated series Invader ZIM. B-roll consists of stills from The Happy Birthday To You Show (illustrating the Disney merchandise that the series was given by the studio), as well as a few stills from Bliss' early career. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on August 26, 2005 in Universal City, CA. 

"Smurfette felt so real to me because I created her voice, so I could feel her emotions. It may sound strange but it's true. We have to think like the character and it takes over. That's what I tell my students, too. You must lose yourself if you want to be successful in animation and be the character." 

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of "Smurfette's" voice on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on becoming "Charlie McCarthy's" sweetheart
Lucille Bliss on getting fired from voicing "Elroy" on The Jetsons
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of the voices of "Rags" and "Crusader Rabbit" on Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on advice to an aspiring voiceover artist
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on wanting to be an actress from a young age; on studying advertising
On her start in professional acting on radio serials; on discovering she had a talent for doing voices; on writing a radio column and meeting celebrities; on performing at Armed Forces Talent Shows during World War II
On working as "Charlie McCarthy's" sweetheart with Edgar Bergen; on auditioning for Disney's "Cinderella"

Chapter 2

On coming to Hollywood to work at Disney; on voiceover tips from Walt Disney when she played "Anastasia" in "Cinderella"; on her special diet for her voice
On her early memories of television; on creating and hosting a local San Francisco children's TV show - The Happy Birthday to You Show; on her show being the inspiration for The Mickey Mouse Club
On packaging The Happy Birthday to You Show and dealing with sponsors; on working with children on the show

Chapter 3

On auditioning for the voice of Crusader Rabbit; on show creators Jay Ward and Alex Anderson and controversy with Shull Bronsall at Metromedia
On production of and the characters on Crusader Rabbit
On the popularity of Crusader Rabbit; on recording the show and syndication; on the show's legacy; on voicing characters in commercials

Chapter 4

On her involvement with voices in Disney's "101 Dalmations"; on working with animator Friz Freleng; on voicing characters on The Flinstones
On getting fired from voicing "Elroy" on The Jetsons; on falling ill, her process of auditioning, and her demo reel
On getting the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs; on the premise and plot of The Smurfs; on the show's theme song and popularity

Chapter 5

On her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs; on her favorite episodes, a typical production week, and the popularity of the show
On Smurf figurines and toys; on voice actors that worked on The Smurfs; on negotiations for a movie of The Smurfs; on specials of the series and why The Smurfs ended
On working on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City; on commuting from San Francisco to Los Angeles
On being a founding member of the San Francisco Chapter of the Screen Actors Guild
On voicing a character on Invader ZIM
On her proudest career achievement; on the most difficult character she ever played

Chapter 6

On her diet and rituals to maintain her voice; on advice to an aspiring voiceover artist
On how she'd like to be remembered
On B-roll photos from her career - from The Happy Birthday To You Show, The Edgar Bergen Show, and her involvement with the San Francisco SAG chapter
Shows

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

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Lucille Bliss on working on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

Crusader Rabbit

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Lucille Bliss on the creation of the animated show Crusader Rabbit by Jay Ward and Alex Anderson 
Lucille Bliss on production on and the characters of the animated show Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on the popularity, recording, and legacy of the animated show Crusader Rabbit

Flintstones, The

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Lucille Bliss on voicing characters on The Flinstones

Happy Birthday To You Show, The

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Lucille Bliss on creating and hosting the children's show, The Happy Birthday to You Show
Lucille Bliss on packaging The Happy Birthday to You Show and dealing with sponsors
Lucille Bliss on working with children on The Happy Birthday to You Show
Lucille Bliss on photos from The Happy Birthday To You Show

Invader Zim

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Lucille Bliss on voicing a character on Invader Zim

Jetsons, The

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Lucille Bliss on getting fired from voicing "Elroy" on The Jetsons

Mickey Mouse Club, The

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Lucille Bliss on Disney merchandising on her San Francisco local series The Happy Birthday to You Show that led to development of The Mickey Mouse Club

Smurfs, The

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Lucille Bliss on getting the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on the premise and plot of The Smurfs; on the show's theme song and popularity
Lucille Bliss on her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs; on her favorite episodes, a typical production week, and the popularity of the show
Lucille Bliss on voice actors on The Smurfs; on the end of the series

Space Kiddettes, The

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Lucille Bliss on voicing a character on The Space Kiddettes
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of the voices of "Rags" and "Crusader Rabbit" on Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on getting the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on "Smurfette's" relationship to her fellow Smurfs on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of "Smurfette's" voice on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs

Pop Culture

View Topic
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of the voices of "Rags" and "Crusader Rabbit" on Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on getting the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on "Smurfette's" relationship to her fellow Smurfs on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on the theme song on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of "Smurfette's" voice on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on the popularity of The Smurfs

TV Theme Songs

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Lucille Bliss on the theme song on The Smurfs

War

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Lucille Bliss on performing at Armed Forces Talent Shows during World War II and auditioning the Marine Corps Band

World War II

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Lucille Bliss on performing at Armed Forces Talent Shows during World War II and auditioning the Marine Corps Band
Professions

Actress

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Lucille Bliss on wanting to be an actress when she was little
Lucille Bliss on discovering she had a talent for doing voices when she acted in radio serials

Voiceover

View Profession
Lucille Bliss on a demonstration of the voices of "Rags" and "Crusader Rabbit" on Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on her audition process for voiceovers and her demo reel
Lucille Bliss on her advice on being successful at animation
Lucille Bliss on advice to an aspiring voiceover artist
Genres

Animation

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Lucille Bliss on the creation of the animated show Crusader Rabbit by Jay Ward and Alex Anderson
Lucille Bliss on production on and the characters of the animated show Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on the popularity, recording, and legacy of the animated show Crusader Rabbit
Lucille Bliss on getting the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on the premise and plot of The Smurfs and on the show's theme song and popularity
Lucille Bliss on her character "Smurfette" on The Smurfs; on her favorite episodes, a typical production week, and the popularity of the show
Lucille Bliss on voice actors on The Smurfs; on the end of the series
Lucille Bliss on voicing a character on Invader ZIM

Children's Programming

View Genre
Lucille Bliss on creating and hosting The Happy Birthday to You Show
Lucille Bliss on packaging The Happy Birthday to You Show and dealing with sponsors
Lucille Bliss on working with children on The Happy Birthday to You Show
People

Alex Anderson

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Lucille Bliss on the creation of the animated show Crusader Rabbit by Jay Ward and Alex Anderson
Lucille Bliss on not thinking highly of Shull Bronsall at Metromedia and how he blocked her working for Hanna-Barbera
Lucille Bliss on Jay Ward and Alex Anderson's daily involvement with Crusader Rabbit

Joseph Barbera

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Lucille Bliss on William Hanna and Joseph Barbera starting Hanna-Barbera and wanting her for their shows
Lucille Bliss on winning the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs
Lucille Bliss on Joseph Barbera creating the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs

Jack Benny

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Lucille Bliss on writing a radio column and meeting Jack Benny

Edgar Bergen

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Lucille Bliss on becoming "Charlie McCarthy's" sweetheart
Lucille Bliss on working with Edgar Bergen as "Charlie McCarthy's" sweetheart
Lucille Bliss on a photo from around the time she was on The Edgar Bergen Show

Shull Bonsall

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Lucille Bliss on not thinking highly of Shull Bronsall at Metromedia

Russ Coughlan

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Lucille Bliss on Russ Coughlan voicing the evil characters on Crusader Rabbit

Walt Disney

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Lucille Bliss on Walt Disney wanting voiceover artists to record on records, not tape for "Cinderella"; on tips from Walt Disney

Jerry Fairbanks

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Lucille Bliss on working with Jerry Fairbanks on Crusader Rabbit

Friz Freleng

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Lucille Bliss on working with animator Friz Freleng

William Hanna

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Lucille Bliss on William Hanna and Joseph Barbera starting Hanna-Barbera and wanting her for their shows
Lucille Bliss on winning the role of "Smurfette" on The Smurfs

Winston Hibler

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Lucille Bliss on working for director Winston Hibler when she played "Anastasia" - one of the stepsisters in the Disney film "Cinderella"

Gordon Hunt

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Lucille Bliss on production on The Smurfs - directed by Gordon Hunt (father of Helen Hunt)
Lucille Bliss on working with director Gordon Hunt on The Smurfs

Margaret Loesch

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Lucille Bliss on NBC executive Margaret Loesch encouraging her to work for Hanna-Barbera

Vern Louden

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Lucille Bliss on Verd Louden voicing the tiger "Rags" on Crusader Rabbit

George Lucas

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Lucille Bliss on getting cast to voice a character in a George Lucas video game

Alan Oppenheimer

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Lucille Bliss on voice actors on The Smurfs

Alan Reed

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Lucille Bliss on working with the ensemble team of The Flinstones

Artie Shaw

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Lucille Bliss on meeting Artie Shaw and Paulette Goddard

Jay Ward

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Lucille Bliss on the creation of the animated show Crusader Rabbit by Jay Ward and Alex Anderson
Lucille Bliss on Jay Ward trying to sell Crusader Rabbit and some of his other shows
Lucille Bliss on Jay Ward and Alex Anderson's daily involvement with Crusader Rabbit

Paul Winchell

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Lucille Bliss on Paul Winchell, who voiced "Gargamel" on The Smurfs

Alan Young

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Lucille Bliss on voice actors on The Smurfs

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