Wednesday, September 30, 2009
True Disney Royalty
Wonderful things happened to me at the wonderful D23 Expo, especially a wondrous chance to talk with my friend Mary Costa. As visitors to Tulgey Wood certainly already know, Mary is the voice of Princess Aurora in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Mary was only 19 when she was cast in that role so voicing Briar Rose was only the beginning for this incredible talent who became an international opera star, who personally knew at least two First Ladies from Eleanor Roosevelt (of course she was a former First Lady when Mary knew her) to Jacqueline Kennedy, and who performed for and worked with everyone from Stravinsky to Bing Crosby. The eternally youthful Ms. Costa graciously greeted all her many fans wherever she went at the Expo, and in fact, Mary tirelessly signed autographs into the wee hours after the 10:00 PM screening of Sleeping Beauty. On another occasion, knowing she had seen the special screening of the first 30 minutes of The Princess and the Frog, I asked Mary what she thought about Tiana, the new Disney princess, and she aid how much she loved this new addition to the fold, and that she thought the film was sure to be a big hit—imagine hearing that assessment from a bona fide Disney princess. Aside from that, Mary expressed her unabashed enthusiasm for the Princess and the Frog character of Charlotte LaBouff, the delightfully spoiled Southern belle. An authentic Southern belle herself (but of the decidedly unspoiled variety) who was born in and now lives in Tennessee, Mary declared the character adorable, adding, "I know people like that!" All of this, of course, spoken in her lilting voice, so full of color—the very colors which led Walt to cast her as his sleeping beauty. That's Mary Costa, true Disney royalty.