See the Real-Life Inspiration for the Disney Villain Maleficent

See the Real-Life Inspiration for the Disney Villain Maleficent

May 28, 2014

Eleanor Audley as MaleficentAngelina Jolie plays Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis, the wicked Maleficent, in a new movie out this weekend that presents the classic tale from the villain’s perspective. 

However, Jolie isn’t the first live performer to play the role on the screen – voice actress Eleanor Audley donned the dark robes and black horns for Disney animators as they worked on their version of the iconic tale. Audley provided the voice for the wicked character in the film (as well as the voice of the evil stepmother in Cinderella), but also pulled double duty by modeling for the artists bringing the film’s visuals to life.

According to a cool piece at the FW, Disney animators often studied voice actors as a reference point for how to animate the character properly – particularly in the old days. Some voice actors, like Audley, took it all a bit further – donning the actual costume and allowing the artists to make the character 100% her own. It’s both fascinating and a little bit creepy to see the actress in the photo above – but there’s no denying the move paid off, because Maleficent is one of the all-time great screen villains.

Check out the videos below, which show Eleanor Audley appearing on The Beverly Hillbillies (that voice is unmistakable) and a cool behind-the-scenes look at some of the other real-life models who posed for Disney’s unforgettable characters.

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