Mae Questel

Actor, Voice actor, Singer
Petite, with a high-pitched, rounded voice, Mae Questel was the voice behind such cartoon figures as Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and Little Audry. At age 17, the Bronx-born singer-actress won a talent contest mimicking the ... Read more »
Born: 09/13/1908 in Bronx, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (21)

Casper The Friendly Ghost 2014 (Movie)

(Voice)

Little Audrey 2014 (Movie)

(Voice)

Spooky Swabs 2014 (Movie)

Olive Oyl (Voice)

Wendy The Good Little Witch 2014 (Movie)

(Voice)

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 1989 (Movie)

Bethany (Actor)

New York Stories 1989 (Movie)

Mother (Actor)

Roger Rabbit & the Secrets of Toontown 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988 (Movie)

of Betty Boop (Voice)

Hot Resort 1985 (Movie)

Mrs Labowitz (Actor)

The Betty Boop Show 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Voice

The Corner Bar 1972 - 1973 (Tv Show)

Actor

Move 1969 (Movie)

(Actor)

Funny Girl 1968 (Movie)

Mrs Strakasho (Actor)

A Majority of One 1961 (Movie)

Mrs Rubin (Actor)

It's Only Money 1961 (Movie)

Cecilia Albright (Actor)

Pudgy Takes a Bow-wow 1937 (Movie)

(Voice)

Training Pigeons 1936 (Movie)

(Voice)

You're Not Built That Way 1936 (Movie)

(Voice)

Bunny Mooning (TV Show)

Voice

Fright to the Finish (TV Show)

Voice

Little Swee' Pea (TV Show)

Voice

Biography

Petite, with a high-pitched, rounded voice, Mae Questel was the voice behind such cartoon figures as Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and Little Audry. At age 17, the Bronx-born singer-actress won a talent contest mimicking the then-popular baby-voiced entertainer Helen Kane. An agent immediately signed Questel and before long she was appearing on the vaudeville circuit as a singer and impressionist, imitating performers from Fanny Brice to Maurice Chevalier. In 1931, Max Fleischer signed her to provide the vocals for the Kane-inspired cartoon figure Betty Boop. Over an eight year period, Questel provided the sweetly saucy child-like tones for Betty (and the animators incorporated many of Questel's mannerisms) in more than 100 shorts, including "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" (1932), "Snow White" (1933) and the Oscar-nominated "Riding the Rails" (1938). The bob-haired, saucer-eyed Betty Boop became a popular phenomenon, spawning everything from dolls to playing cards to candy to a syndicated comic strip. The provocative character, noted for her short skirts and flirtatious manner, came under fire from women's clubs in the late 1930s. Partly due to that pressure and partly because the series' popularity was waning due to changing tastes, Fleischer ended the Betty Boop shorts in 1939 with "Yip, Yip Yippy!." Beginning in 1933, Fleischer had also tapped Questel to lend her talents to the character of Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons, more than 450 of which were produced. (In the series, Questel also gave voice to Swee'pea.) During her long career as a voice actor, she also lent her distinctive abilities to such cartoon figures as Winky Dink, Little Audry and Casper, the Friendly Ghost.

Relationships

Simon Questel

Father

Freida Questel

Mother

Leo Balkin

Husband
married on December 22, 1930 divorced

Richard Balkin

Son
survived her

Robert Balkin

Son
deceased

Jack Shelby

Husband
second husband married on November 19, 1970

EDUCATION

Morris High School

New York, New York

Theatre Guild

New York, New York
studied acting

Columbia University

New York, New York

American Theatre Wing

New York, New York
studied acting

Milestones

1989

Cast as Woody Allen's mother in the "Oedipus Wrecks" segment of "New York Stories"

1989

Final feature, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"

1988

Voiced Betty Boop in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

1983

Sang the song "Chamelon Days" on the soundtrack to Woody Allen's film "Zelig"

1973

Reprised Betty Boop for a syndicated cartoon series

1973

Featured on the short-lived sitcom "The Corner Bar" (ABC)

1968

Had featured role in the film version of "Funny Girl"

1961

Reprised her stage role in the film version of "A Majority of One"

1959

Created the role of Mrs Rubin onstage in "A Majority of One"

1948

Was a panelist on the audience participation program "Stop Me If You Heard This One" (NBC)

1946

Provided the voice of "Little Audry" for the radio series

1939

Final Boop cartoon "Yip, Yip Yippy!"

1933

Began voicing the character of Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons

1932

Performed on the radio show "Betty Boop's Frolics"

1931

First voiced the animated character Betty Boop

1930

Played the Palace Theatre

1925

Won singing contest at the RKO Fordham Theatre as the girl who sounded most like the popular singer Helen Kane (date approximate)

Signed by an agent and began performing in vaudeville, singing and doing vocal impersonations of Fannie Brice, Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier

Was commercial spokeswoman for Playtex and Folger's Coffee

Played Aunt Bluebell, the commercial spokeswoman for Scott Paper Company

Voiced the title character in the animated TV series "Winky Dink and You"

Voiced Casper, the Friendly Ghost and Little Audry

Born and raised in NYC

Appeared on the NBC daytime drama "Somerset"

Bonus Trivia

.

Questel's recording of "On the Good Ship Lollipop" as sung by Betty Boop sold more than two million copies in the 1930s.

.

She reportedly once told an interviewer that the voice of Olive Oyl was an attempt to imitate the actress ZaSu Pitts.

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