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February 22, 2023

Amazing Photos of 13-Year-Old Kathryn Beaumont Modeling for Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Kathryn Beaumont (born June 27, 1938) is a British-American former actress, singer and school teacher. She is best known for voicing Alice in Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Wendy Darling in Peter Pan (1953), for which she was named a Disney Legend in 1998.

When Walt Disney began production on the animated classic Alice in Wonderland in 1949, he sought the perfect voice to play the literary ingénue. He was looking for a voice, recalled Kathryn Beaumont, that “would be English enough to satisfy British audiences, but not so English that it would put off American audiences.” After hearing 10-year-old Kathryn’s audition, Walt chose her for the voice of Alice and, later, Wendy Darling in Peter Pan.

Kathryn came to the United States under contract to MGM and appeared in several films, including On an Island With You starring Esther Williams. She soon landed at The Walt Disney Studios, where she not only recorded the voice of Alice, but also portrayed her on film. Animators regularly referred to her filmed performances as they brought her character to life.

“At Disney, the animators would often use footage performed by actors to help guide and inspire them as they drew each scene,” recalled Beaumont. “There was no background or set of anything, it was just the blue background that was always on that particular stage. They would set up the lights and the camera, and I would do the different movements that went with the different parts of the story.”

In 1951, Kathryn went on a promotional tour for Alice in Wonderland, which included a trip aboard the Queen Mary to her native England. Within two weeks of her return, she was cast as Wendy in Peter Pan. Again, she served as both speaking voice and physical model of the animated character. She also served as a model for Tinker Bell.

In 1950, Kathryn appeared with Walt in his first one-hour television special, One Hour in Wonderland, and returned the next year, as Wendy, in The Walt Disney Christmas Show.

After the 1953 release of Peter Pan, Kathryn graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she earned a degree in education. She taught elementary school in Los Angeles for the next 36 years, retiring in 1997.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous. Should have made it live action with her.




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