Eleanor Audley (November 19, 1905 – November 25, 1991) was an American actress who was a familiar radio and animation voice, in addition to her TV and film roles. For many, she provided Disney animated features with their most outstanding and memorable villainess voices.
Beginning as a radio actress, she worked extensively in the 1940s and 1950s in Hollywood on such shows as Escape, Suspense and the radio versions of My Favorite Husband (as mother-in-law Mrs. Cooper) and Father Knows Best (as one of the Anderson family's neighbors). In 1953, she played the stepmother in a re-imagining of the Cinderella story for The Six Shooter starring James Stewart.
In the animated film industry she was best known for giving her distinctive, powerful voice to the evil stepmother Lady Tremaine in the Disney animated film Cinderella and the wicked fairy Maleficent in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. For both films, animator Marc Davis created the characters' facial features to resemble Audley. Eleanor Audley initially turned down the choice role of Maleficent because she was battling tuberculosis.
She also provided the voice of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, speaking the memorable lines, "Rap on a table. It's time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond!"
Her many film-TV roles made her a very recognizable character actress. Beginning in the mid-1950s, she appeared constantly in TV episodes, including I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She was a series regular as Oliver Douglas's mother Eunice in the Green Acres, telecast on CBS for six years (1965–71). She played the role of Millicent Schuyler-Potts, the Headmistress of the Potts School, that Jethro Bodine attended in The Beverly Hillbillies. Many of these roles cast Audley as an affluent aristocrat.
Audley died of respiratory failure on November 25, 1991. She is interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.
- Eleanor Audley at the Internet Movie Database
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- Eleanor Audley at Find a Grave