Jodi Benson photo

Jodi Benson

Birth name:
Jodi Marzorati
Date of Birth:
10 October 1961 Rockford, Illinois, USA
Jodi Benson was born as Jodi Marzorati on 10th October 1961 in Rockford, Illinois. She grew up in Rockford and started using her voice at age 5. The world knows Jodi as the wonderful voice of Disney's "The Little Mermaid". In 1989 Jodi Benson breathed life into one of Disney's most headstrong teenagers. She won the role of Ariel over at least 500 other actresses and The Little Mermaid has been recognized as one of the best animated films ever created. She admits that when she watches The Little Mermaid, she can see herself in Ariel. Jodi went to college at Millikin University, in Decatur, Illinois. She started out majoring in law... after one semester she changed her major and became one of the first students in the BFA program for musical theater. During Christmas break of her Sophomore year, she auditioned for a Broadway show, Broadway Follies, and got the job. Years later, she went back, got her degree and graduated. Her professors actually flew out to New York to see her in Crazy for You, and gave her 20 hours of Life Experience college credit. Since then, she has made a steady living on Broadway and won many awards. Jodi made her Broadway debut in Kenny Ortega's "Marilyn: An American Fable." She went on to create the starring role of Doria Hudson in the Howard Ashman/Marvin Hamlisch musical "Smile," as well as the part of Betty Bursteter in Cy Coleman's "Welcome to the Club." She did a national tour of "Sophisticated Ladies," an international tour of "Once Upon A Mattress" and a production of "West Side Story" in Venice, in which she played Anita. She also originated the role of Tania in the world premiere of "Dangerous Music" at the Jupiter Theater. Internationally, she shared the stage with her husband, Ray Benson, in the European premiere of Gershwin's "My One and Only," starring as Miss Edythe Herbert.In Los Angeles, she starred as Flora in "Flora the Red Menace" (Pasadena Playhouse), Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion), Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" (Alex Theater in Glendale), and as Florence Vassey in "Chess" (Long Beach Civic Light Opera) for which she won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress. Jodi can be heard on several recordings including Disney's Songs From the Sea, Disney Classics, Splash Hits, The Little Mermaid Soundtrack, and The Princess Collection; Varese Sarabande's Unsung Musicals I and A Hollywood Christmas, EMI/Angel's Crazy for You cast album, Warner Bros. Thumbelina soundtrack, and for EMI/Sparrow Records: Jodi Benson and the Beginners Bible I and II as well as her video series for children, "Guideposts Junction" - a six part series and album. Her animated television series include the Emmy Award-winning "The Little Mermaid," "Pirates of Dark Water", "Hercules", and "P.J. Sparkles" and many more. On the concert stage, Jodi has been the guest soloist at the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, and appeared at the Hollywood Bowl with conductor John Mauceri (summer of 1991, 1996, & 2004), The Indianapolis Symphony, Washington Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Akron Symphony, Disney's Central Park premiere for "Pocahontas," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" premiere at the New Orleans Superdome.She even provided the voice of an independent-minded robot named "Weebo" who plays opposite Robin Williams in Walt Disney Pictures' inventive live-action comedy, "Flubber." Jodi has lent her beautiful voice to everything that is the Little Mermaid, including CD's, talking Dolls, the television show, the sequel to the first movie, "The Little Mermaid II Return to the Sea" She has done voice-overs for so many other movies, including my personal favorite, Barbie in Toy Story II. Jodi married Ray Benson on 19th May 1984 at the age of 23. Ray is also a stage performer and singer, born in Birmingham, Alabama. Ray started tap dancing lessons when he was not quite 3 years old. By age 5 he was in "Gypsy" with Fannie Flagg at Town and Gown, and at 9 was in "Peter Pan" with Cathy Rye. During college at Auburn University, he joined the University Singers and during Summerfest's first season in 1979 he played the older Patrick in "Mame" with Patrice Munsel, among many other things. West Side Story for Town and Gown came next, with Ray playing Tony. During this time Benson met New York casting agent, Barry Moss. Following a summer at Opryland where he met his future wife, Jodi, the pair traveled to New York City and met with Barry Moss. Within 10 days he was in rehearsals for Oklahoma for a national tour traveling all over the states for seven months. Almost from the start they landed major roles. Jodi wrote an article for the inspirational magazine 'Guideposts' about how her marriage to Ray was unfortunately breaking down around the time the "Little Mermaid" was in production, and how they rebuilt their marriage with Christian counseling (which they were steered toward by a Disney animator), hard work, and faith in God. In 1999, Jodi gave birth to their son McKinley Benson at the age of 38 and in 2001, she gave bit to their daughter Delaney Benson at the age of 40.
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