Carole Shelley, a Tony-Award winning actress, was perhaps known best for her role as Gwendolyne Pidgeon in the original Broadway, TV, and film versions of The Odd Couple. However, for the Disney community, she was known for voicing three small, but memorable roles in The Aristocats (1970), Robin Hood (1973), and even Hercules (1997). She died of cancer this past Friday, August 31st at the age of 79. Let us commemorate her work with some awesome clips and trivia.
Amelia Gabble, voiced by Shelley, was one of two sassy English goose twins that Duchess, O’Malley, and the kittens meet on their journey back home in The Aristocats. (Interestingly enough, Amelia’s sister, Abigail, was voiced by Monica Evans, who played Shelley’s on-screen sister Cecily in The Odd Couple as well! We’ll see a pattern to this…) Even if you do not remember the Gabble sisters, surely you remember Uncle Waldo…
Shelley also voiced one of my favorite Robin Hood characters, Lady Kluck! Remember how I mentioned that Evans and Shelley would star in similar supporting roles together? Well, Evans played Maid Marian. Lady Kluck was her fearless sidekick and lady-in-waiting. She single-handedly fought off Prince John’s soldiers in the scene I lovingly refer to as the “Seize the fat one!” scene. (Note that the music playing in the background of this scene is a combination of “Fight On” and “On, Wisconsin”, the respective fight songs of the University of Southern California and the University of Wisconsin.)
Shelley’s last voiceover work for Disney was her role as Lachesis the Fate in Hercules. The Fates predicted Hades’ failed attempt to take over Mount Olympus, and indoor plumbing… “it’s gonna be big.”
While Caroline Shelley’s work spans far beyond her voice acting roles in Disney Animation, the fun characters she helped bring to life will always be remembered.