Woods' mother worked behind the scenes of films, taking Ilene with her. Ilene started acting at the age of two. When she was 15 years old, she was given her own radio show on the new station called The Blue Network on ABC Radio during the summer of 1944, The Ilene Woods Show. The entire show was 15 minutes of music 3 days a week. Many songwriters came on the show to present their music; this is how she became friends with Mack David and Jerry Livingston. She then moved to California.
In 1948, two of her songwriter friends, Mack David and Jerry Livingston, called Woods to record "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes", and "So This is Love". Soon, the songs were presented to Walt Disney so that they could be used in the English version of Cinderella. Walt Disney heard the demo recordings, and two days later asked Ilene to voice the star role of Cinderella.
She gladly accepted the role, surprised that she had won against more than 300 other auditioners. She only saw Walt Disney after finishing work on Cinderella. She said in a recent interview for Classicfilm, "Seeing it [the film] in its new form was breathtaking for me. It's so beautiful. The color is magnificent, it just took my breath away, it was so wonderful. I sort of forget when I'm watching the movie that I had anything to do with it. Yet, it brings back so many beautiful memories of working with the wonderful artists and working with Walt mostly. It brings back wonderful, wonderful memories." For the direct-to-video sequels to Cinderella and the Princess Stories, Jennifer Hale voiced Cinderella.
She married the first time at the age of 17 to Stephen Steck Jr. and had one child by that marriage, her daughter Stephanie. After a divorce, she married Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy in 1963 and had two sons, James and Daniel.
Woods died on July 1, 2010, at age 81, from causes related to Alzheimer's disease at a nursing home in Canoga Park. She did not recognize a lot of what was going on around her, but the nurses found that she was most comforted by "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," so they played it for her as often as possible, her husband, Ed Shaughnessy, told the Los Angeles Times. In addition to her husband of 47 years, she was survived by their son, a daughter from her first marriage, and three grandchildren. She was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.
- ↑ Stover, Kathy. "The Voice of Cinderella Ilene Woods Dies". EInsiders.com. Retrieved 2010-07-01.[dead link]
- ↑ CNN Wire Staff (2010-07-02). "Ilene Woods, Voice of Disney's Cinderella, dead at 81". CNN.com (Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.). Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Ilene Woods, the Voice of Cinderella, Passes Away at 81". Disneyorama.com. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- ↑ "Ilene Woods, voice of Cinderella, dies at 81". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2010-07-06.[dead link]
- ↑ "Disney Legends - Ilene Woods". Disney.go.com. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- ↑ "Ilene Woods, the Voice of Cinderella, dies at 81". Yahoo! News. The Associated Press. Saturday July 3, 4:41 pm ET. Retrieved 2010-07-02. Check date values in:
- "It's Late", Jubilee Records JGM 1046, lp, mono
- Ilene Woods at the Internet Movie Database
- Ilene Woods at Find a Grave
- Disney Legends profile
- MovieWeb.com interview (2005)