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Meet Lucille LaVerne: Evil Queen Voice in Snow White

evil-queen

Who Was Lucille Laverne? The Voice Of The Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

Did you ever wonder who voiced the evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

Do you remember Snow White's story?

That the evil or wicked Queen was wildly jealous of the young and very beautiful girl who was named 'the fairest in the land.' Because she is jealous, the Queen behaves very poorly toward her stepdaughter, Snow White, requiring her to work hard as a scullery maid and hoping that the work will dim her beauty. However, when the Magic Mirror reveals that Snow White continues to become more beautiful, the Queen plots to have her killed.

Walt Disney chose actress Lucille LaVerne to play the parts of the Wicked Queen AND the hag Witch. He knew how crucial it was that the Queen be done perfectly and Ms. LaVerne did an amazing job. Initially, however, she was told that her voice was too polished for the hag so she excused herself from the recording studio and returned with the magnificent and gravelly voice we now recognize as the hag witch.

How did Ms. LaVerne achieve this voice difference? It is no secret but it is a surprise that will make you smile. She REMOVED HER FALSE TEETH and the old hag was born.

Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was made in 1937 near the end of Ms. LaVerne's life. She was 65 years old when she became the Wicked Queen for Disney's controversial first full-length animated movie. Work for the Queen and Witch lasted about six months. It seems that Ms. LaVerne is one of the more obscure (and some say nearly forgotten) voices and as such, I have been unable to locate any information about what salary she received from Disney for voicing one of the most unforgettable movie villains in history.

Ms. Laverne, according to the New York Times, "seemed to dote on playing tattered old hags, staggering tosspots, time- and care-worn slum mothers and indomitable frontierswomen."

Watch The Evil Queen Transform Into The Hag

At number 9 on HollywoodChicago.com's list of The 10 Scariest Scenes in Film History, we find Snow White. Yes, it is a children's film but it does explore the darkness and it contains several scary sections. To offset Snow White's wholesomeness, Walt Disney made sure that the Wicked Queen was well, wicked, and it was played perfectly by Lucille LaVerne. She goes from the icily beautiful Queen to the hag witch in a scene that HollywoodChicago calls "a tour de force of terror."

Walt Disney's Horror Movie, Stephen Schochet reports that Walt Disney may have worried that the witch was too frightening, especially upon reports from Radio City Movie Hall in New York that they had to replace seats repeatedly due to 'excessive wetness.'

Snow White's Evil Queen Story on Video

Fast Facts About Lucille La Verne

  • BORN: November 1872, "Lucille Mitchum"
  • BIRTHPLACE: Memphis, Tennessee
  • DIED: March 4, 1945
  • CAREER: American actress in silent movies and on the stage from the age of 4.
  • BEST KNOWN FOR: A subject for debate. Some might argue that she is better known for her roles in silent movies and on stage because her role in Snow White is nearly forgotten.

More Reading About Lucille LaVerne

  • Lucille La Verne Biography
    "A legendary stage actress and character player in early films, Lucille La Verne is one of those forgotten legends that seem to fade as the years go on. But at the time, she was one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation."
  • Lucille LaVerne's Life on Findadeath Forum
    "This is the type role she excelled at, witches, old hags and other bedraggled types. Smallish, long-haired, with very intense eyes and a husky, rough voice, she was a sort of female Walter Brennan, sacrificing her looks for her craft."
  • Lucille Laverne Luedke 1924 - 2009 Obituary
    "Born a coal miner's daughter May 11, 1924, Lucille Laverne Freeman lived in the small mining town of Farmington, West Virginia with her father Aubrey, mother Ella, older brother Aulda, older sister Mildred (Freeland), older sister Louise (Dawson) an
  • Evil Queen Villains History From Disney Archives |
    "Actress Lucille LaVerne was chosen to voice both the Wicked Queen and the hag Witch because of her versatile voice intonations."
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray and DVD

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray and DVD

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Experience Lucille Laverne as the evil Queen on a fantastically remastered blu-ray disc or DVD.

"One of the brightest nuggets from Disney's golden age, this 1937 film is almost dizzying in its meticulous construction of an enchanted world, with scores of major and minor characters, each with a distinct identity.

When you watch Snow White's intricate, graceful movements of fingers, arms, and head all in one shot, it is not the technical brilliance of Disney's artists that leaps out at you, but the very spirit of her engaging, girl-woman character.

It's a crowning achievement and should not be missed." -Tom Keogh

Click here to order your copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Amazon.

The Evil Queen's Magic Mirror From Snow White

The Evil Queen's Magic Mirror From Snow White

Click here to order the Evil Queen's Magic Mirror from Amazon.

More Lucille Laverne Movies

More Snow White Reading

Lucille Laverne as Queen and Witch in Snow White

Lucille Laverne as Queen and Witch in Snow White

How do you think Lucille LaVerne did at voicing the evil Queen and old hag witch in Snow White?

Soldiersister8184 on November 23, 2012:

She is the second scariest Disney villan, at least as far as I'm concerned. Thank you for the information - I didn't have any idea that she did that simply by removing her teeth! Fascinating piece of history, and well presented.

Wendy Leanne from Texas on January 28, 2011:

When I was 6 I had nightmares for 2 weeks after watching Snow White. My mom had to sleep with me for a month! My daughter loved Snow White when she was 3 but always decided to leave the room during the scene where the queen transforms.

dwnovacek on January 25, 2011:

Wonderful lens! Beautifully presented information about someone I didn't know anything about until now. Angel Blessings!

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on January 24, 2011:

I love the original snow white movie. This was really interesting. I will have to watch it again and listen for the voice difference more clearly. Fun lens on the evil queen.

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on January 21, 2011:

Mirror Mirror, on the wall ...WHO is the most evil queen of ALL? Excellent review here... my vote for the most evil queen still goes to the Wicked Witch of the West in OZ: "I'll get you, my pretty...and your little dog too!"

Ann Hinds from So Cal on January 20, 2011:

She scared me when I was little. Great job on this lens, enjoyed the clip with my grandson.

Melody Lassalle from California on January 20, 2011:

Her voice was perfect. She was one scary witch!Great job on this lens. I learned quite a bit about the actress behind the voice.

Amy Fricano from WNY on January 19, 2011:

Blessings from Happy Dwarf and me.

oztoo lm on January 19, 2011:

I think she did a great job. Interesting information about the "evil queen" Lucille Laverne

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on January 19, 2011:

She was awesome! LOL! Of course she came from Memphis! Don't all great voices :)

blessedmomto7 on January 19, 2011:

Great job. My littlest ones are scared of the movie, but my older ones like it. Blessed by a squid angel.

tssfacts on January 19, 2011:

I remember Mom taking me to watch this in the theater. I don't remember if I was frighten or not. It could have been that Mom prepared me before hand. Great review of Lucille LaVerne.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on January 19, 2011:

Loved Snow White and her voice makes it scary enough.

ohcaroline on January 19, 2011:

Great coverage on her.

sorana lm on January 18, 2011:

Loved the movie. Great lens Brenda; realy enjoyed it. All those memories ... Thanks

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on January 18, 2011:

Interesting lens. Great job!

Julia M S Pearce from Melbourne, Australia on January 18, 2011:

She is very convinving!Great lens!

rlivermore on January 18, 2011:

Voice actors are often unknown. This lens points out how important and talented they are.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on January 18, 2011:

This is a great story behind a great film.

GiftsBonanza on January 18, 2011:

Scary, scary, scary! Such a great lens - I will be back to read more!

hayleylou lm on January 18, 2011:

It's all in the cackle :)

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on January 18, 2011:

And she's from Memphis! Cool.

anonymous on January 18, 2011:

She fits the role perfectly! Wonderful lens, I always appreciate the special little secrets, like you pointed out here when she removed her false teeth.

tandemonimom lm on January 18, 2011:

This movie was too scary for my oldest when she was little! Laverne did a great job!

MargoPArrowsmith on January 18, 2011:

Thank you so much for bringing this to us. I appreciate it so much

justholidays on January 18, 2011:

LOL. I discovered the American version today and something hit me like a bullet: the heart supposed to be the one of Snow White in the American version is the one of a pig, in the French version it's the one of a hind. Which one is the original of the story, I don't know and will finally buy the book so that I can check out, lol.Excellent series! I enjoy to discover the persons behind these excellent characters - ah, I love old movies, they're much more beautiful than those of today ;)

Treasures By Brenda (author) from Canada on January 18, 2011:

@SusanDeppner: Thanks, Susan ~ I did do a lot of research and enjoyed it, too!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 18, 2011:

She's just scary enough, I'd say, for children to watch. Wow, Brenda, you did a lot of digging to find all this history of the Snow White movie. Very well done!

irenemaria from Sweden on January 18, 2011:

I cannot tell my opinion. I never heard her in the Swedish version of these movies.