Disney films have always been known for their loveable characters, memorable princess stories, and epic musical numbers, but the film studio is renowned for its slew of megastar voice actors. Between Disney legends like Jodi Benson and Eleanor Audley, big names like Robin Williams and Kristen Bell, and newcomers like Auli’i Cravalho and Stephanie Beatriz, Walt Disney Pictures has plenty of stars in its catalog.
But in the span of hundreds of thousands of Disney characters, plenty of princes, mothers of future princesses, and animal favorites were given voices by famous actors over the years of magical films.
Oprah Winfrey As Eudora (‘Princess and the Frog’)
When looking at Oprah Winfrey’s widespread career, it can be easy to miss a thing or two on her long list of achievements, which sometimes seems to be the case for her Disney film debut.
Though her lines are sparse throughout the film, Winfrey co-starred alongside Anika Noni Rose and Bruno Campos in 2009’s Princess and the Frog as Eudora, the mother of Tiana.
Donny Osmond As Shang (‘Mulan’)
After being discovered by Walt Disney himself, it’s only understandable that Donny Osmond spent his career appearing in Disney works. Osmond has a long list of magical accomplishments, from a guest appearance on Hannah Montana to a role in College Road Trip.
In 1998’s Mulan, while BD Wong voiced Shang’s speaking voice, Osmond provided the singing voice for the Chinese army captain when he performed “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.”
Demi Moore As Esmeralda (‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’)
Sometime between getting her start on General Hospital and starring in the infamous G.I. Jane, actress Demi Moore voiced a beloved — and sometimes forgotten — Disney character.
Moore gave a voice to Esmeralda, the young Romani woman in The Hunchback of Notre Dame who helps save Quasimodo from his oppressors, earning Quasimodo’s love. Moore reprised the role in the film’s direct-to-video sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
Joaquin Phoenix As Kenai (‘Brother Bear’)
Joaquin Phoenix has starred in dozens of films, but the only Disney movie under his belt is a forgotten success.
Phoenix starred in the hit film Brother Bear as Kenai, the human boy who is transformed into a bear as a punishment for being cruel to the animals. Though Patrick Dempsey replaced him in the movie’s direct-to-video sequel, Phoenix has remained an activist for animal rights thanks to his original role.
Bette Midler As Georgette (‘Oliver And Company’)
Though this almost-EGOT achiever is best known in the Disney realm as the dastardly Winifred Sanderson in Hocus Pocus and the upcoming Hocus Pocus 2, Better Midler got her start in the magical company when she voiced a poodle.
Midler lent her voice to Georgette, The Foxworth’s prize-winning poodle, who becomes jealous of Oliver in the 1988 film Oliver and Company.
George Takei As First Ancestor (‘Mulan’)
George Takei has appeared in several Disney Channel shows like Kim Possible, Suite Life on Deck, Elena of Avalor, and Pepper Ann, but the actor also lent his voice to a notable character in Mulan and its direct-to-video sequel Mulan II.
Takei portrayed the founder of the Fa family and the leader of the ancestors, credited in the film as First Ancestor.
Joey Lawrence As Oliver (‘Oliver And Company’)
Joey Lawrence has had a long career with Disney, spanning from films like A Goofy Movie to Disney Channel shows and movies to Disney-owned comedies like Blossom and Melissa and Joey. The actor’s first role with Disney was when he was only 12 years old.
Lawrence voiced Oliver, the adorable orange kitten, and star of the 1988 film Oliver and Company.
Chloë Grace Moretz As Young Penny (‘Bolt’)
Chloë Grace Moretz had swept the world with her acting prowess since she was a child and already had a dozen credits on her résumé when she made her Disney film debut.
While the teenage character of Penny Forrester in 2008’s Bolt was mainly played by Miley Cyrus, the role initially belonged to Moretz, whose voice work they decided to keep as the young version of Penny.
Zach Braff As Chicken Little (‘Chicken Little’)
While Zach Braff starred in the 2022 Disney+ remake of Cheaper by the Dozen, his first role with Disney was as an easily-forgotten character.
Braff voiced Chicken Little in the 2005 movie of the same name and five subsequent video games. While it’s unknown if Braff planned to reprise his role for the film’s sequel that never saw the light of day, the film’s storyboards can be found floating around the internet.
Nicole Scherzinger As Sina (‘Moana’)
But Nicole Scherzinger added voice acting to her resume when she scored the role of Sina, the mother of Moana, in 2016’s Hawaiin-set film Moana. Not only did the actress contribute her speaking voice, but her singing voice in the movie’s opening song, “Where You Are.”
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