- “I live for furs! I worship furs! After all, is there a woman in all this wretched world who doesn't?”
- ―Cruella expresses her one true love to Anita[src]
Cruella De Vil is the main antagonist of Disney's 1961 animated feature film 101 Dalmatians. She is an eccentric, fashion-obsessed heiress who wishes to use the skins of 99 Dalmatian puppies to create a fur coat. Regarded as a "witch" and "devil woman", Cruella's infatuation with furs drives her to murderous insanity. She commits immoral acts to satisfy her mania, such as kidnapping and slaughter. She is typically aided by her henchmen, Jasper and Horace.
Cruella first appeared in the novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956) by Dodie Smith. Perhaps the most famous incarnation of the character was developed for Disney's 1961 animated adaptation One Hundred and One Dalmatians by story man Bill Peet and animator Marc Davis. The Disney villainess proved successful and has led to numerous appearances in other media, most notably the Disney Villains franchise, of which Cruella is a primary member.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Live-action appearances
- 4 Printed media
- 5 Video games
- 6 Disney Parks
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Cruella is an old school friend of Anita Radcliffe, and a glamor-obsessed heiress who claims that she cannot live without furs. She hires Horace and Jasper Badun, two incompetent crooks, to steal Pongo and Perdita's 15 Dalmatian puppies, and buys 84 more through legitimate means.
Unlike previous Disney villainesses, such as the Evil Queen, Lady Tremaine, the Queen of Hearts, and Maleficent, Cruella is not a schemer nor does she have any powers. Instead, she acts purely on impulse and is thus prone to reckless behavior, particularly tearing through the snowy landscape in her car. Unlike future versions of the character, this version of Cruella was seemingly invincible in the eyes of the Dalmatians, who, though they could just about be able to keep Jasper and Horace Badun at bay, were unable to face "that devil woman". Their only hope was therefore to flee; Cruella's defeat in the film is brought about not through the deeds of the animals, but her own stubborn relentlessness (which, by the end of the film, has seemingly degenerated into a mad fury) and the incompetence of her henchmen.
Though Cruella's basic appearance inherited several visual traits from Dodie Smith's original novel - her half black, half white hair; her black dress; and her enormous mink coat, which swings about her like a cloak - the character's design in the film was developed by Bill Peet, Ken Anderson, and Marc Davis. This version of the character was also completely skeletal, and smoked constantly, leaving a trail of green, foul-smelling cigarette smoke wherever she went. Her physical appearance and general manner was described as some sort of hellish beast or demon, a fact referenced in her name and in a song about her. In sketches exploring designs for Cruella, Marc Davis experimented with more youthful-looking versions of the character, possibly for any flashbacks that would have occurred. The juxtaposition of the enormous coat against the rail-thin body was established in these early sketches.
Davis exaggerated the size of the coat to match Cruella's larger-than-life personality, and added three big tails to its back to add a "slightly ridiculous" element; the coat's red underlining was intended to allude to the character's somewhat demonic nature (and corresponding name). The disheveled style of Cruella's hair was inspired by hairdos seen in magazines between the 1940s and 1960s. The long green cigarette holder was modeled on one used by Davis himself.
Betty Lou Gerson, who had previously provided her voice as the narrator of the opening scenes of Cinderella, was inspired by Tallulah Bankhead when voicing Cruella De Vil. This is interesting as it is said that Dodie Smith originally conceived the character as an evil parody of Bankhead. When performing, Gerson was intimidating even to the other actresses working with her. She was the primary inspiration for Marc Davis when animating Cruella. Davis commented that the vocal performance suggested that "this character was bigger than life, high in energy, and, like a shark, always moving".
Marc Davis, the sole animator of Cruella in all her scenes in 101 Dalmatians, was initially unsure that Cruella would suit the film, worrying that the character was too comic. Indeed, his colleagues criticized him as he worked; Frank Thomas felt that the head was too skull-like, while Milt Kahl demanded to know why Davis had to "make her feet so damn big".
In addition to the voice of Betty Lou Gerson, the animation was inspired by Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis in All About Eve, and Rosalind Russel in Auntie Mame. Davis also worked from live-action footage of character actress Mary Wickes. Wickes' angular physique and sophisticated, smooth movements in this reference footage inspired Davis to incorporate these contrasting aspects in Cruella's animation. However, Davis used the footage sparingly.
Davis wanted Cruella to move "like someone you wouldn't like" and thought of people who do not listen to any voice other than their own, and thus dominate a conversation or situation. He made specific reference in an interview to "one woman I knew who was just a monster. She was tall and thin and talked constantly – you never knew what she was saying, but you couldn't get a word in edgewise".
Though Milt Kahl initially disliked Marc Davis' caricatured approach to the design and animation of the character (complaining in particular about the size of Cruella's feet), he was very impressed by the final product and, thinking Davis to be a better draughtsman, appears to have become rather jealous of his colleagues success with the character. When Kahl was given the chance to animate his own flamboyant villainess, Madame Medusa in The Rescuers, he swore to Davis that he would "blow your Cruella off the screen". A fan letter to Kahl from a young Andreas Deja mistakenly referring to him as Cruella's animator received the reply: "Thank you for all your compliments, but I did not animate Cruella De Vil. She was animated by my friend Marc Davis and, unlike Medusa, was based on live-action."
Cruella is known to be mean and rude, frequently barging into other people's homes unannounced and openly disrespecting others. She adores attention, but looks down on others, showing no sympathy or concern for anyone's well-being.
She is also greedy and selfish, and adores high fashion and art. Her interest in fashion revolves around furs from animals, particularly fur coats, as she is always seen wearing one. As a result, Cruella often seeks animals to help her with making coats. Upon learning that Perdita has had puppies, Cruella attempted to buy them from Roger, showing no concern for the puppies themselves, having already purchased 84 puppies legally. The reason for her obsession is because the spots will make her fur coats more popular, meaning she'll get more money. Her interest in spots runs so deep she turned to Lars after seeing his painting of spots, as a way to substitute her obsession.
Cruella is known to be short-tempered. She gets annoyed with Jasper and Horace's foolishness, and throws a tantrum when things don't go her way. Her anger seems to be a problem, as it makes her reckless and impulsive, as she drove her car recklessly after the Dalmatians but ended up crashing her car into a ravine. She may also be bipolar, as she is prone to psychotic fits, her reckless driving being a prime example. This happened again when she tried to capture the puppies in London, only to end up in an institution. However, she did seem to be a slightly reasonable woman, as she attempted twice to convince Anita to sell Cruella her puppies, only choosing to steal them when it became clear it was the only way for her to get the puppies.
Cruella is an extremely thin woman that almost appears skeletal around the curves. She has pale skin, red lips, green eyes and eye shadow. She has shoulder-length hair, the two halves of which are a different color; the right side is black and the left side is white.
Cruella's usual attire is a simple black dress, red high heel shoes and black stockings, long red opera gloves, large turquoise earrings and ring on her right hand, a cream fur coat with red interior and a matching purse with three foxtails.
A while after Roger and Anita have married and settled down together, Perdita, Anita's Dalmatian, hears the screech of Cruella's car outside, and runs to the kitchen to hide from "that devil woman." Looking out of the window, Roger sees that Cruella, whom he refers to as Anita's old schoolmate, is coming towards the house. As she approaches the front door, Roger sings a less-than-flattering song about her. Anita attempts to stop Roger for fear that Cruella might hear. Roger goes upstairs and uses various musical instruments to play the tune to the song when Cruella bursts in, demanding to see Pongo and Perdita's puppies, and leaving a trail of smoke from her cigarette. During her visit, Cruella expresses her love for fur, especially that of a Dalmatian (though she never elaborates on her plans) and also mocks Anita's choice of marrying Roger and their house. Anita informs Cruella that the Dalmatian puppies will not arrive for a few weeks. Cruella then departs as quickly and loudly as she came, saying that she will return in three weeks. A previously excited Perdita grows anxious at Cruella's interest in the puppies, suspecting that she may have some horrid plan for them.
Cruella returns to the Radcliffe's house just after the 15 puppies are born. At first, she is furious that the "mongrels" have no spots, but when Anita tells her that the spots will appear in a few weeks, Cruella offers to buy all 15 immediately. Roger (after having his songwriting career made fun of by Cruella, and being splattered along with Pongo with ink from a pen that Cruella was using to write the check for the puppies) nervously but defiantly stands his ground and says they are not selling the puppies and Cruella furiously storms out, vowing revenge. Sometime later, Jasper and Horace succeed in stealing the puppies while the Radcliffes are out. At home, Cruella laughs to herself as she reads of the theft in the newspaper; she is the orchestrator of the crime. The Baduns phone her to demand payment, but are told that they will receive nothing until the job is done; she even brushes off their concerns about the dognapping having made the papers, believing the whole spectacle will blow over by the next day. Slamming the phone down angrily after mistaking Jasper angrily telling Horace to shut up to be directed at her, Cruella then decides to phone Anita, and feigns surprise at the theft to avert suspicion from herself. Roger, however, is convinced that she is involved, even after Anita relays to him that Scotland Yard has questioned and investigated her, but couldn't find any evidence connecting her to the crime. When the police investigation appears to lose momentum, Pongo and Perdita take matters into their own hands by teaming up with the dogs of England to find the whereabouts of their puppies. They receive a hit from a Great Dane who explains that the puppies were seen being taken to the Old De Vil Place, Hell Hall, confirming Pongo and Perdita's suspicion that Cruella was behind the kidnapping.
It is later revealed that another 84 puppies were legally purchased by Cruella and taken to the same place by the Baduns. Cruella arrives at Hell one evening and angrily confronts her minions, demanding that 'the job' be done immediately due to the police stepping up their investigation, revealing in the process that her plans are to kill the puppies and use their fur to create Dalmatian fur coats for herself. When Jasper and Horace are slow to move, she furiously explodes a bottle of the former's alcohol in the fireplace and angrily slaps both of them in the face to drive her point home, and then leaves furiously, threatening to report them to the police and have them take the full blame for everything if they don't have the job done by the time she returns the following morning. Shortly after this, Sergeant Tibbs succeeds in helping all 99 Dalmatians escape the old mansion and reunite with their Pongo and Perdita, who decide to take in the other 84 puppies. As the 101 Dalmatians make their way back home to London, they are pursued by the Baduns and Cruella, who was eventually told of their escape. The three briefly lose the dogs' trail after they use a frozen stream to avoid leaving tracks. However, Cruella angrily lambasts Horace for trying to give up, vowing to find the puppies even if it takes them until next Christmas, before speeding off again.
Cruella, Jasper, and Horace later pick up the dogs' trail again and follow it to a small village where they search for them. Cruella is initially fooled when the dogs cover themselves in soot to disguise as Labradors and board a lorry heading for London. When she sees icicle water drops removing the soot, however, she realizes what's going on and chases after the lorry in her car, and Jasper and Horace follow in their truck. Pursuing the puppies, Cruella almost succeeds in ramming the lorry driver and Dalmatians all off a cliff, greatly damaging her car during the chase. The chase however, comes to an end when Jasper and Horace, trying to cut off or hit the lorry, accidentally ram their truck into her car, sending Cruella, Horace, and Jasper over the cliff. All three survive, but Cruella is furious and angrily subjects Jasper and Horace to a tongue-lashing, at which point Jasper finally plucks up the courage to tell her to shut up before she finally breaks down and sobs over the destruction of her beloved car and the loss of her dream coat. It is presumed they are arrested afterwards.
Walt Disney's early vision for The Rescuers revolved around the kidnapping of a polar bear from a city zoo; writers considered reusing Cruella as the main antagonist (presumably driven by her desire for the bear's fur). The idea was dismissed when the source for the storyline changed, and Disney did not want to make a sequel out of an otherwise unrelated film. Interestingly, the idea that Cruella De Vil liked the fur, but also the diamonds, was in the original Dodie Smith book (while not used in the Disney version of One Hundred and One Dalmatians), and Madame Medusa, the similar main villain of the final version of The Rescuers loves diamonds.
Concept art of the film shows Cruella wearing an outfit made out of crocodile leather. Because The Rescuers was set more than a decade after 101 Dalmatians, Cruella was given a period-appropriate update. Aside from her '70s alligator-chic outfit, Cruella accessorized with Sly and the Family Stone-style sunglasses. In other sketches, De Vil is depicted in bell-bottom pants and a pair of platforms. Other concept art showed Cruella driving a water vehicle similar to the one Medusa uses in the final film.
The incarnation of Cruella that appears in 101 Dalmatians: The Animated Series (which relocated the events of the films in America), shares traits with both the 1961 version and the live-action version. In design, she resembles the Cruella of the original animated version. However, the series' slightly different design style, as well as lower budgets, resulted in a simpler design; most notably, the black dress and fur coat were dropped in favor of a simple black-and-white dress.
This version of the character also had a somewhat mellower and less demented personality, as well as losing previous incarnations' excessive smoking habits (in the first episode, she lampshades this by stating "I picked the wrong week to quit smoking") and, notably, obsession with fur (these factors may have been removed due to censors not wanting smoking and animal murder on a Saturday morning cartoon); instead, her goal throughout the series was to own the land currently owned by Roger and Anita Dearly. Like the live-action version, this Cruella was the head of the House of DeVil, and was often defeated in comedic fashion. Her minions included Jasper and Horace, as well as her pet ferret, Scorch. Cruella also had a recurring habit of making recorded memos to herself, constantly carrying a tape recorder with her.
In the Christmas Episode, It is revealed that she always wanted a Dalmatian puppy for Christmas, but she never got one. Her parents were always away for the holidays, while she was left in the care of a different foreign babysitter, which reveals that she was always evil, even as a baby.
Cruella returns in the sequel, in which she is first seen trying to enter Fitzwell's Fine Furs store, but the manager angrily pushes her out, saying that the terms of her probation will not allow him to sell her any more furs. She then meets an artist named Lars, whom she quickly admires for his artistic vision. Lars' paintings of spots proves a fine replacement for Cruella's prior obsession. However, Cruella eventually gets bored with Lars' work, but to help him find inspiration, she came to the house and felt surprised that the puppies were gone. She's been hit by a newspaper on her head that the newspaperman threw and found the picture of Patch and used the binoculars to see the new address on his dog tag where they moved. Cruella bails out Jasper and Horace to kidnap the Dalmatian puppies again.
The duo kidnaps the puppies and takes them to Cruella's new home: the warehouse. Lars believes Cruella wants him to paint puppies, but after he finds out he would have to kill the puppies, he refuses and declares that he may be eccentric, but is not a sicko. He tells Cruella he will not let her do any harm to the puppies. In anger, Cruella ties Lars onto a large target and throws several knives at him as torture. She returns to her psychotic state and wishes to have a new fur coat once again. Jasper and Horace are given the job to murder the puppies again but the dogs escape. A chase through the city follows which leads to Patch put the bus in reverse as Cruella surprised that Lil' Lightning was running and shocked and running as she was defeated in Thames River. Afterward, Cruella's crimes are finally explained to the police by Lars, Jasper, and Horace and she is arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for anger management, and presumably some form of obsessive disorder and hallucinations (alluded to by her final lines of seeing spots). She is last seen in a picture on a newspaper showing her to be in jail tightly tied up in the three belts with an angry look on her face during the end credits.
In the series House of Mouse, Cruella appears as a recurring character. As a running gag, Cruella usually measures and examines other dogs from other Disney films, and also threatens Pluto in the first episode.
Also in the first episode, when Pete tried to escape Mickey and friends after his villainy was exposed, he disguised himself as a Dalmatian but ran away in fear after Cruella began to measure him with a wicked grin. In the episode "House of Crime", Cruella was accused of kidnapping the puppies. She replies by shouting "You make one movie and you're labeled for life!"
In "Max's Embarrassing Date", she went on a date with the Beast and asked if he came in a medium, which the Beast became annoyed of. After the Beast gets soaked with soup he was eating, Cruella is unhappy as she would have to get him dry-cleaned. Cruella also appears as one of the main villains in the film Mickey's House of Villains where she, Jafar, Hades, Ursula, and Captain Hook take over the House of Mouse. Out of the main villains, Cruella was the first to note her interest in taking over the club for her own purposes.
In "Pluto Saves the Day", when Pluto and his all dog band performed, Cruella eagerly mumbled to herself "Ooh, where's my tailor when I need him!?".
A silhouette of Cruella is briefly seen in the opening titles for 101 Dalmatian Street.
In "London, We Have a Problem", it is revealed that she is the great-aunt of Hunter De Vil and is the true mastermind of Hunter's plan to abduct the Dalmatians. Her name is first used when Delilah recognizes the scent of a De Vil from a remote which Hunter was holding. Delilah and Doug compare the remote’s scent with a sample of Cruella's hair, which the Dalmatians store in the attic. It seems, while Delilah and Doug both know of Cruella, they have not yet told the other puppies about her, based on Dolly and Dylan's reaction.
Cruella makes her first physical appearance in the climax of season one. It shows that she is very abusive and uncaring towards Hunter, due to the fact that she never called him once and seemed to forget about him when he was trapped in the container for six months. She decides to take things into her own hands. Instead of her cigarette holder, she is seen with a spray which seems to cover up the cracks and wrinkles in her face; it even suggests she has taken to wearing a wig.
After a conversation with Clarissa's human, Hugo, Cruella takes over Constantin's house and lays siege to the Dalmatians' house, explaining the fear shall stimulate the fur. Cruella is able to knock out the power and soon is able to get into the house, when Hunter tricks Dizzy and Dee-Dee. Her presence in the house is more of a trap, since she has learnt about the Dalmatians' escape tunnel, with her other henchmen waiting at the exit of said tunnel to capture the puppies, Cruella in turn capturing Delilah and Doug.
She then drives to the docks, pursued by Dolly and Dylan on P. C. Pearl. Cruella informs her henchmen to wait until they're in international waters before "dumping the remains". This is when Hunter realizes that, in order to get their fur for her coat, Cruella intends to kill the puppies, making him see what a monster Cruella is. Cruella then throws him in the cargo container with the other Dalmatians, saying she's become "bored with him".
She then reveals to Delilah and Doug her skinning machine, where she intends to make them watch turn their puppies into a coat, before turning them into matching luggage. Dolly, Dylan and Fergus are captured and she tries Fergus on as an accessory, not realizing he's still alive. The Canal Crew is then able to provide a distraction, while Hunter escapes and helps the other Dalmatians escape too.
When the Dalmatians are able to subdue her henchmen, Delilah, Doug, Dolly and Dylan come charging towards Cruella, but she uses her spray to melt a chain above them, causing a large pile of fur to land on top of them. She then finds Dorothy and tries to grab her, but Hunter gets to her first and refuses to give her to Cruella. Cruella berates Hunter asking if he's "a De Vil or a dog", with Hunter barking at her in response. This causes her to fall back into her own skinning machine, but Delilah and Doug turn it off before it can kill her, since while they're animals, they're not monsters.
This is when the police arrive and Cruella is arrested for smuggling illegal live cargo.
In the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella was reinvented as the head of a London-based fashion house, House of DeVil. Rather than an old schoolmate, Anita Dearly is one of her employees and, it is implied, her best designer. It is shown that, next to making furs through sold animals, she also has stolen some of the skins that she sells. For example, early in the movie, Roger is seen reading a paper reporting a stolen rare Siberian tiger from the London Zoo; it is later revealed that Cruella masterminded the theft, and had a close friend — a taxidermist named Mr. Skinner — make the tiger into a fur rug for her house.
When Anita presents Cruella with a design of a Dalmatian furred robe, Cruella immediately falls in love and turns her business to a new goal of making Dalmatian fur coats. When she learns that Anita has married a local lonely young man named Roger Dearly, she decides to pay an unannounced visit to meet Roger, who is initially glad to meet her and has full respect for Cruella, but it quickly drains into disrespect and anger when Cruella mocks Anita for marriage to a video game designer (Roger) and also when she tells them that she's sorry for them after Roger reveals that Anita is expecting their first child which Cruella is disgusted by as she has no use for babies. Cruella only respects Roger and Anita when she learns that their Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita will be bringing puppies into the world.
It is quickly discovered that Cruella has only shown happiness for the family's new puppies under the mistaken belief that she will be allowed to purchase them. Cruella learns from her spies Jasper and Horace on a stormy and rainy night in October that 15 puppies have been born and pays another visit. She barges in and when seeing the puppies, Cruella rudely calls them "rats" when seeing no spots until Anita says that they will be spotted in a few weeks. Cruella immediately asks them to put them in a bag or on reserve for her, offering them a paycheck for the puppies and asking to take it. However, Roger immediately, and angrily, says that the puppies are not for sale; Anita gains the courage to stand up to Cruella also. A furious Cruella fires Anita, and leaves vowing vengeance, and calling her and Roger "fools and idiots" in the process.
A few months later, Cruella has Jasper and Horace kidnap the puppies and bring them to her deserted home in the outskirts of London. It is revealed that next to the 15 puppies, Cruella also stole 84 more puppies, making a total of 99. The vile men succeed, but after a few days, Cruella realizes that the theft has made the headlines and has been the subject of everything; thus, the police have ransacked every home of every suspect, and Cruella realizes that the police are on the verge of targeting her next. Cruella orders Skinner to make the coats, while Jasper and Horace guard the puppies, but the puppies manage to escape with some help from other dogs around England; all eventually manage to overwhelm the henchmen into surrendering.
Cruella then decides to take matters into her own hands, and follows the puppies' tracks but is held back by the animals at the barn where the tracks end up. During this chase, she is unaware that the Dearlys have finally figured out she is behind the theft of the puppies, and that police have investigated her home and connected her to the missing tiger and other crimes.
Cruella, meanwhile, falls into a trap set by the animals and falls into a pit of molasses. Battered and sticky, Cruella is determined to get her coat. After a rant and during another psychotic laughter with thunderclap (despite the sky not covered in clouds), a horse named Punch kicks her out of the barn in a fit of rage. The police arrive at the barn and see Cruella in mud. They arrest Cruella and her henchmen and return the puppies back to the Dearlys.
Cruella is found guilty of crimes such as the tiger stealing, theft of the 15 puppies, conspiring to commit crimes, animal cruelty, crimes against humanity and verbal assault, sentencing her to life in prison (which is briefly reduced). While on the way, Cruella was shown to have brought a real skunk instead of her purse (by accident) and she, Jasper, Horace, and Skinner are then sprayed by the skunk, causing them to scream in terror (while Horace covers his nose).
Aside from this, the animated version of Cruella made a few appearances in Roger's video game. In the ending, the animated Cruella is chasing the animated puppies down a mineshaft with her car, only to run into lit dynamite, presumably blowing her up.
Cruella is released from prison after three years and has seemingly been cured of her obsession of furs and now loves dogs (though certain ones are still apprehensive and mistrusting of her) and has decided to get rid of her fashion house because the clothes are made out of fur. However, there is a catch to everything: If Cruella reverts back to her old self and tries to perform her old crimes again, her entire fortune will be donated to charity as punishment. While visiting her parole officer, Chloe Simon, one of the latter's puppies Oddball nearly falls out the window. While Chloe and the parents try to rescue her, Cruella hears the chimes of Big Ben, and she reverts back to her original obsession with spots, seeing black spots everywhere, and furs. She now wants 102 Dalmatian puppies for her coat that will have a hood. She enlists the help of another fashion designer named Jean-Pierre Le Pelt and her unwilling butler named Alonzo. Cruella frames the owner of the Second Chance animal shelter Kevin Shepherd for kidnapping the puppies and he is arrested. He escapes from jail and tries to help Chloe rescue the puppies, but they are trapped by Cruella. The puppies escape and Cruella tries to capture them in the bakery, and at the same time Alonzo redeems himself by growing a spine, defeating Le Pelt, and freeing Chloe and Kevin while Cruella is defeated in a humiliating way once again; being baked in a cake, decorated and drooled on by dogs before knocked into the kitchen window. The police come and arrest her and Le Pelt. Cruella is now imprisoned for life and her entire fortune is donated to the Second Chance animal shelter.
Cruella, played by Victoria Smurfit, debuted in the episode "Heroes and Villains" of the ABC series Once Upon a Time, and serves as a main antagonist for the second half of the fourth season. She returns as recurring villain in the second half of the fifth season.
In a realm where the timeline is a constant 1920s London, a young Cruella De Vil is being mistreated by her mother Madeline as she instructs her Dalmatians to chase her daughter, and is locked in the attic, apparently similar to Cinderella or Penny's dramatic situation.
Fast forward to several years later, and a reporter, who is revealed to the Author but is using an alias by the name of Isaac, is paying a visit to the home pretending to seek out a story, only to have Madeline shoo him off for his callous questions. Unfortunately, Isaac returns and helps Cruella escape from the attic after she offers him an interesting story. He then takes Cruella out for a date that includes dinner and dancing. Cruella reveals to Isaac that the reason she was kept in the attic was that she knew her mother kill her father and her previous husbands; Isaac then reveals to Cruella that he was more than just a reporter and has the ability to use his pen and ink to create magical stories. Isaac proposes that they run away together, and uses his quill and ink to give Cruella her persuasion powers to control animals.
Unfortunately for Isaac, his future with Cruella would later take a unique twist that will put his future in danger. When Madeline pays him a visit and she tells him that Cruella had lied to him about what actually happened to her husbands: Cruella was the one who killed them, not Madeline, who was trying to prevent her from killing others after seeing there was no way to remedy her murderous nature. When Madeline returns home, Cruella was ready for her, and eventually kills her mother by controlling her Dalmatians and command them to attack her. Isaac realizes his quill was missing and pays a visit to see Cruella, realizing, to his horror, Madeline was right. He is stunned that she used him as a means to an end, with Cruella used the skin from her mother's dogs as fur for her signature coat. The confrontation leads the two to fight over the ink, which is then spilled on Cruella, transforming her hair into the infamous black & white. As Cruella is about to kill him, Issac uses his powers as the Author to make it so that Cruella can never kill anyone ever again by hastily writing it down on a piece of paper. Enraged that she lost her ability to murder, she rants she's not done as he exits.
Receiving an invitation from the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, to the Forbidden Fortress, Cruella De Vil arrives with her two dog companions, using her magical ability of persuasion on them, to which they react with hostility towards two strangers, Maleficent and Ursula. Rumplestiltskin desires help from all three women to retrieve a curse and give them, as well as himself, the happy endings they otherwise would not get as villains. After agreeing, they travel with him to the Bald Mountain, where each woman uses their powers to defeat an obstacle. For Cruella, she magically persuades a horde of venomous bugs to part aside for them. Once Ursula grabs the crystal ball containing the curse, it triggers the Chernabog into attacking. Admitting that he used them, Rumplestiltskin advises the women about the Chernabog, which detects the heart with the greatest evil and devours it. He then leaves, with the crystal ball, while the trio face the beast. The Chernabog attacks Maleficent, who distracts it as Cruella and Ursula climb up a crack in the ceiling. Just before the Chernabog can kill Maleficent, Ursula hoists her to safety.
Some time in the past before the Dark Curse, Cruella allied herself with Maleficent and Ursula to steal a powerful gauntlet from the evil sorcerer, Rumplestiltskin. This gauntlet is capable of revealing one's weakness, which the villains plot to utilize in order to defeat their enemies and gain their own happy endings.
Cruella uses a Dalmatian to kidnap Rumple's maid, Belle, and holds her for ransom in exchange for the gauntlet. Once the item is in their possessions, Cruella and the other reveal their scheme, though Rumple manages to steal it back, claiming the exchange was performed through ransom, and not a deal, which he never breaks. Cruella scoffs and claims he'll meet a defeat, as villains never win, yet the sorcerer retorts by claiming he always does.
After the Charmings discover that their baby would be evil, and they could channel the darkness into Maleficent's child, they knock out Cruella and Ursula, who had been guarding the cave, and steal the egg from Maleficent.
Later, Cruella and Ursula confront the Charmings, who unknowingly agreed to send the egg to the Land Without Magic. During the confrontation, Ursula and Cruella tumble into the portal along with the egg. Cruella and Ursula then abandon the baby in the middle of the woods, using the magic powers of its eggshell to preserve their youth.
Years later, in the modern world, it is shown that Rumple (having met defeat of his own) plans to ally himself with Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula to find the Author of the Once Upon a Time book to forcibly retrieve their happy endings. Cruella De Vil was shown married and living on Long Island under the alias of Cruella Feinberg, who just had her lavish lifestyle and items repossessed by the FBI. At Mr. Gold and Ursula's arrival, she expresses little interest in joining them and instead shows off her car. Mr. Gold and Ursula find her and offer her the opportunity to join them into returning to Storybrooke. Cruella agrees to the terms and takes them to Storybrooke in her car. Upon using Mr. Gold's cellphone, Ursula and Cruella make a deal with Regina to let them into Storybrooke in exchange for info on how to defeat the Chernabog. After the Chernabog disappeared upon being thrown over the town line, Ursula and Cruella were invited into Storybrooke. Later that night, Cruella and Ursula get Mr. Gold back into Storybrooke. That night, Cruella and Ursula meet with David and Mary Margaret, who swear the twosome into never revealing their pasts with each other in the Enchanted Forest. Ominously, Mary Margaret promises to tear out their hearts herself if they don't comply.
Cruella and Ursula secretly work with Mr. Gold to resurrect Maleficent. The women steal an ornament of Maleficent's from the pawnshop, which David and Mary Margaret believe will be used to resurrect the dead sorceress. Instead, this is only a ruse to bait the couple into venturing into the cave below the library where Maleficent's ashes reside, and after David and Mary Margaret are knocked out by Ursula, Cruella sacrifices some of their blood to Maleficent's ashes to complete the spell that proceeds to morphs her ashes into her undead form, then her dragon form before restoring her to life.
While Mr. Gold, Regina, and Maleficent were searching the Sorcerer's mansion for the door that the Author was behind, Cruella was left to guard August. She was knocked out by Mary Margaret. Cruella managed to slip away after witnessing King Poseidon returned Ursula her singing voice. After catching up to Mr. Gold, Regina, and Maleficent, Cruella De Vil told them that Emma and Mary Margaret rescued August. She also told them her suspicion of Ursula being the mole, unaware that she has left Storybrooke with her father.
While driving, Maleficent teleports in front of the car. Maleficent confronts Cruella as to why she lied to her about her daughter Lily and tell her that she was dead. Cruella simply tells her that she's a terrible person and left her in the woods to die, callously stating she isn't "mother material". She tells her that Ursula and herself took her dragon egg to absorb the magic and keep themselves youthful. Furious, Maleficent tells Cruella her death will last for days and turns into a dragon to kill her. However, Cruella uses her powers to put Maleficent under her control and tells her to rest as today is the day she gets her happy ending now that the Author is here. Cruella then pays a visit to Isaac to make up for lost time and to offer him a deal, as Gold does not know that they knew each other as Isaac catches on to her deception, and since Isaac knows that Cruella has no power to kill anyone, Cruella, who tells Isaac that there are other ways to "skin an author." She finds a way to make it happen via kidnapping Henry by using a controlled Pongo. She then forces both Emma and Regina to do her bidding by making the mothers kill Isaac or else Cruella will kill Henry. The women and Hook searches the woods just in time for Henry to escape from the woods and it's Emma who finds Henry, but Cruella makes an empty threat by holding Henry at gunpoint. She then tempts Emma's patience to see if she will do it, reminding her that heroes never kill. Not knowing that the Author has made it so that Cruella can no longer kill, Emma use her powers to kill Cruella by knocking her off the cliff.
She is later buried by Mr. Gold and the Author.
When the heroes journey to the Underworld to save Hook, Emma sees Cruella in her car drive past them.
Cruella is chosen as the new mayor of the Underworld after Cora is fired. She redecorates the mayoral office with dog statues and Dalmatian-spotted curtains. Regina realizes that a good way to find Hook would be to get all the schematics of the Underworld buildings. Assuming they are in the office of the Underworld's city hall, Regina sends Robin and Henry to get them, as Henry knows the office. After they arrive, Robin discovers the office is locked, and opens an air vent for Henry to crawl through. Unbeknownst to Henry, Cruella is waiting for him in the office. She tells him that she misses the real world, and since Henry is the Author, he can send her back to the world of the living. When Henry tells her he broke the pen and is unable to do so, Cruella tells him that the pen was a living entity, and when he broke it, it was sent to the Underworld. When Henry asks her why he should help her, Cruella explains that by bringing her back to life, he would make Emma no longer a murderer.
Later, Cruella tries to flee the Underworld diner, but Regina stops her, curious to know more about the cemetery. Cruella tells her to use her magic, but realizes that Regina is having trouble using it in the Underworld. Cruella invites her to sit so they can chat. Regina asks her if everyone who has a grave in the Underworld is actually there. Cruella tells her no, that most of them are passing through, and provides her with a map of the cemetery plots, explaining to Regina that she has access to them, as she is mayor now. She explains that there is a key to interpreting whether the person whose name is listed on the headstone is present in the Underworld: If the headstone is upright, they are still in the Underworld; if it is tipped over, they have moved on to a better place; and if it is cracked, they have moved on to Hell. She is also seen wearing a doe fur in her meeting with Regina, but neither confirms nor denies it belongs to Bambi's mother.
When David (Prince Charming) is looking about the sheriff's office, Cruella arrives with champagne and starts flirting with him, acting as though she thinks he's James. David is able to block her advances before Cruella admits that she knew all along that he is David. She then tells David about James' anger for him, about how their mother chose David and not James.
After Hades decides to remove all evidence of hope from the Underworld, he requests to have all the phone booths that allow Underworld residents to talk to their living relatives removed. As mayor, Cruella oversees their destruction. When David and Hook attempt to contact David's son back in Storybrooke, and see that the booths are being ripped out, they protest. Henry asks if Cruella's doing this because he refuses to write her back to life. She tells them that it wasn't her decision to have all the phones removed, and they figure out it was Hades. David tells her to tell Hades that it will take more than that to discourage them. Cruella offers them a choice that she can look the other way as they make one last phone call while she has Henry write her back to life. David refuses the offer, and she tells Claude, the man working on the booths to rip out the phone.
Cruella realizes that since Henry will not bring her back from the dead, she needs to find an alternate method to return to Storybrooke. She decides to kidnap Zelena's daughter to use as leverage against Hades as he is in love with the Wicked Witch. She and James decide to have the late prince switch places with David, in hopes they can take the child. After James successfully imprisons David, and has his niece powerless as a hostage with Robin Hood, Cruella meets him in the forest to take the baby. She punches Emma, telling her it was payback for killing her (though to be fair, Cruella provoked her own demise), then telling her reasons for wanting the baby. Knowing they won't just hand the baby over, Cruella and James decide to take Emma and Robin to the Underworld harbor, hoping to push them over the docks into the River of Lost Souls. As they are about to push them over, David and Hook arrive. Cruella tries to grab a gun, but Hook takes it first, saying she wouldn't be able to use it anyway. She runs off and takes cover beside a large box on the dock, watching the ensuing fight between David and James. She helps James during the fight, reminding him of the knife he has hidden in his sock. As James tries to stab David, he is thrown into the River. Cruella then flees the area.
When a portal to Storybrooke is opened, the heroes can leave the Underworld for good. When Cruella finds out that Hades is also leaving for Storybrooke and that the Underworld will need a new ruler, she changes her mind on being written back to life, instead chooses to stay and rule the Underworld and keep the heroes there as punishment. As Henry begins writing everyone's unfinished business, Cruella approaches the table. After she reveals her plan to the heroes, Regina tells her that it would be impossible for Cruella to keep them there, as her magic can only "make a dog roll over and beg." Cruella agrees, but then the Blind Witch appears, saying she has the right powers, revealing her alliance with Cruella. She blasts them into the Underworld Library and blocks the door with magic, before she walks off with Cruella, who says that eternity is going to be nice after all.
To make sure no one can complete their unfinished business and stay in the Underworld, she takes the Underworld edition of the storybook, and throws it in the River of Lost Souls. As she is enjoying a martini at the diner, Hook approaches her, accompanied by a newly deceased King Arthur, and asks her about the phone booths that were torn down, as he needed to contact Emma back in Storybrooke. She tells him there is nothing left of them, as she had them destroyed. Hook then asks her where the storybook is, and she tells him that she threw it in the River.
At some point, King Arthur takes control of the Underworld away from Cruella and becomes its new ruler. Cruella wakes up in a bar only to be greeted by Mordred, the owner, she asks him for several different drinks, but he refuses believing she has had one too many, she then compliments his skin and asks that she make him into a coat, which he disagrees. Cruella then asks Mordred if he has any ideas of what to do next with their deaths, and Mordred suggests taking Arthur's throne back from him together, as he had planned when he was alive, but Cruella responds with "And how did that work out for you?", he then suggests that they seek redemption, which Cruella also rejects believing that she is incapable of doing good. Mordred then remarks that it is her darkness that makes minor villains look good, and that they should just stay in the Underworld together, which she misinterprets as being the source of darkness that makes goodness possible, making her the hero of the story. She then decides to celebrate by asking for champagne which Mordred decides to give to her, she then asks why she was in the bar in the first place, to which he states that she was celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Arthur becoming the leader of the Underworld, she then wishes Mordred a Happy Anniversary as he walks away.
In the wish realm, another version of Cruella exists. This version was sent by the Wish Realm version of Rumpelstiltskin to stop Henry and Regina, in exchange for new furs, and permission to kill the very people he's after. Cruella challenges Henry to a sword fight and loses and is then teleported into a dog cage where she is forced to reveal the whereabouts of Jacinda and Lucy and how to free them. Later when Henry is looking for enchanted ink so he can use the author's pen, he approaches Cruella and uses the pen to extract the ink from her hair, leaving it completely white as she swears vengeance on him.
Cruella appears in the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants, as one of the villains imprisoned in the Isle of the Lost. Cruella is the mother of Carlos De Vil, and she uses her son like a servant. When she mentions that she would miss him if he went to Auradon, she explains "who would touch up my roots, fluff my fur, and scape the bunions from my feet?" She raised Carlos to be cynophobic (afraid of dogs), explaining that she was a "dog yellerer" - an expert. She seems to have gone slightly mad over the 20 years that she's been trapped on the island, given that she usually talks to a toy puppy head on her jacket she named Baby. When she sees that Carlos has adopted a dog named Dude, she thinks it would make a good pair of earmuffs. However, for the very first time, she is told off by her son, who had gained courage from his time in Auradon. "FYI, your dog is stuffed; so give it a rest!" Jafar laughed at her for getting "burned"/dissed by her son. This mockery later led all four villains including Maleficent and the Evil Queen to squabble in embarrassment in front of their kids.
Cruella will be the central character in the upcoming live-action film, portrayed by Emma Stone. The film tells the story of Cruella's past when she was young and how she became the fur-obsessed villainess in the future.
This version bears a notable resemblance to The Joker. In this version, Cruella's real name is Estella De Vil and she has dark red hair before she changes her name and hair color to its signature half black and half white style.
Cruella appears in the fourth and fifth books in the saga. In Power Play, she and the Evil Queen take over the leadership of the Overtakers when Maleficent and Chernabog are captured. At the end of the book, she mentions she's an important part of the Overtakers, because she knows the ways of the modern world unlike the Queen or Maleficent. In Shell Game, she and the Queen appear again aboard the Disney Dream while following the hyenas who caught the Keepers' scent; she commands the hyenas, giving them names like Happy or Howly. She has a figurative "magic" the Overtakers need to use on Chernabog, but what that is remains unknown. She has also asked "Queeny" to teach her some spells.
Cruella appears in the prelude to Descendants, where it is shown that she treats Carlos as a slave rather than her own flesh-and-blood, going as far as to have him sleep in an inhospitable coat closet rather than give him a room of his own. She spends a portion of her time at an area on the island that passes for a spa; it serves as one bit of comfort and reminder of her past luxurious life.
In this book, Cruella is the protagonist and is the daughter of Lord and Lady DeVil. Her father died when Cruella was sixteen and her mother blamed Cruella for it. Cruella was also friends with Anita Radcliffe and was also expected to keep her last name even after marriage, otherwise her house would go to her mother.
She appears in the Animated StoryBook, which is based more on her appearance from the first live-action film.
In the "House of DeVil" page, if a music player is clicked, Cruella gets her first musical number titled "I Love Fur", where she discusses her obsession with fur fashion.
In Escape from DeVil Manor (based on Roger's video game from the first live-action film), Cruella is shown to be present at Roger and Anita's wedding.
As Whizzer and Patches look around DeVil Manor, they find her nanny's room with a portrait of a young Cruella ripping the head from a doll, with a nervous nanny behind her. Whizzer and Patches also find Cruella's room from when she was younger, as it seems to suggest she tortured animals in her youth.
When Cruella learns of Whizzer and Patches, she chases them into a mine shaft where they throw a pile of explosives at her, sending her flying into a bathtub in a junkyard, where the police are waiting to arrest her.
In 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue, Cruella has set up a toy factory next to DeVil Manor. She seems to have tried online dating, where she has supposedly wed herself to Professor Farzboom, a meek professor who helps her make her toys. However, the toy sales are failing, and Cruella suspects it is because the public is spending their money more on animals. She then sends her toys to abduct all the pets in England.
Cruella's plan is to incise the pets of England in a Super Glop made by Farzboom and then sell them as lifelike plush toys.
When Domino and Oddball confront Cruella at her toy factory, they are able to knock her into the vat of Super Glop, with Farzboom jumping in to help her. Afterwards, they are arrested still stuck together. When Cruella angrily asks Farzboom how long will the super glop hold them together, Farzboom cheerfully replies the Super Glop should wear off after 20 years which isn't quite as long as their prison sentence, much to Cruella's horror.
Dottie describes Cruella's scent to be like Pepper, a likely homage to how her scent and taste are described in the novel.
In Disney Universe, a Cruella costume can be unlocked for the player to wear.
Cruella also appears as a Townsperson in Disney Infinity. In the 3DS version of the game, she appears as a cameo and will take coins from the player with the highest amount and keep them for herself.
In the Disney Villains Challenge tablet game, Cruella is one of the antagonists that the player may face. Her challenges include trying to help a Dalmatian from DeVil Manor, pinning down her car, repainting said car, playing Roger's piano, and giving Cruella a makeover to make her look silly.
Cruella makes appearances in the Disney theme parks around the world.
Cruella was featured in the villains segment of the 2015 rendition of World of Color.
For meet-and-greets, she can often be found along Main Street, U.S.A. in the Disneyland Park.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Cruella is a villain enemy featured in Main Street, U.S.A. She makes a deal with Hades (under the guise of Boss Teal), to have all the Dalmatians in her possessions in exchange for the legendary crystal of the Magic Kingdom. When word spreads that Pongo has contacted the local dogs to guard the crystal, Cruella sends Jasper and Horace to capture the dogs. They capture a few, but before they are given a chance to eliminate them, the park guests arrives and defeats the hoodlums. Meanwhile, Hades created a fireworks show to distract the citizens whilst Cruella rampages through their homes to find the crystal. Eventually, she breaks into Merlin's secret vault. However, Perdita replaced the crystal with a chew toy, and Cruella breaks down in tears at the fact that she's been outwitted by dogs. After the guests blast her with magic, her coat falls apart, causing her to throw a tantrum and falling beneath the floor.
Cruella appears as one of the villains in the Florida version of Fantasmic!. In the show, Cruella is called forth by the Evil Queen when she plans to destroy Mickey Mouse once and for all with the help of her fellow Disney Villains. In the end, Cruella is killed by Mickey along with the other villains.
In Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Cruella is conjured by Maleficent as one of the "frightful friends" The Sanderson Sisters need for their Halloween party. Cruella and the other villains be seen singing "I Put a Spell on You" with the sisters at the end of the show.
Cruella's most notable park appearance in arguably Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade. In Disney's Maleficious Halloween Party, Cruella is the fourth villain Dr. Facilier encounters. She teaches Facilier about fashion, and he defeats Cruella using the puppies which drives her to running away.
She also has a street show in the Disney Studio Park called "Starring Cruella De Vil".
Cruella is one of the villain suspects in Midship Detective Agency on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. However, after finding some evidence, it is reveled that Cruella is not responsible for the crime in question, being absent from the ship at the time the crime was committed. Ironically, one of the crimes she was innocent of was the kidnapping of Pongo and Perdie's 99 puppies. So far, Cruella is always innocent.
- Despite being the villain, Cruella is the most iconic character from the film (alongside the titular Dalmatians).
- In Dodie Smith's original book, Cruella was married to a furrier, but kept her maiden name. In the Disney films, Cruella's portrayed as single.
- "Cruella De Vil" is a play on the words "cruel" and "devil".
- In the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, the twins call Meredith Blake "Cruella".
- Bruce W. Smith, an animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, used Cruella as a reference when creating Dr. Facilier.
- She was listed #16 in Empire Magazine's The 50 Best Animated Movie Characters, stating as her stroke of genius her unique approach to keeping her two henchmen, Jasper and Horace, on her side, constantly slapping them, threatening them and berating them for (admittedly catastrophic) failures.
- It was revealed in "A Christmas Cruella" that she did want a puppy before becoming her villainous self.
- In all animated and live-action films, Cruella is commonly seen smoking, but quits in the TV series.
- Cruella was briefly mentioned by Zelda (the main villainess who used to be the former henchwoman of Sir Rothbart) of The Swan Princess III during her villain song, along with the Wicked Witch of the West.
- A running gag throughout the TV series is Cruella calling Roger by a different name, as well as the live action remake.
- Cruella made the Forbes Fictional 15 list of the wealthiest fictional characters as #13 in 2002. She is one of five characters in the Disney company to make the Forbes Fictional 15 list, with the others being Flintheart Glomgold, Oliver Warbucks, Tony Stark (even though Stark was not owned by Disney at the time), and Scrooge McDuck.
- Cruella was originally chosen to be the villainess for The Rescuers too, but then it was decided to create a new villainess, Madame Medusa, instead. However, both Cruella and Medusa have strikingly similar personalities and traits.
- In the original book by Dodie Smith, Cruella loved fur and diamonds. It was not used for the 1961 animated film; however, it's a new point in common.
- Sigourney Weaver was previously offered the role of Cruella De Vil in the live-action adaption of 101 Dalmatians until Glenn Close took it after finishing her run in the musical Sunset Boulevard.
- In both live-action films, when Cruella is defeated, she is seen wearing a red-and-black fur coat.
- Cruella has a brother named Cecil and a niece named Ivy. However, Cecil is not Ivy's father, meaning that Cruella and Cecil must have another sibling (most likely a brother) who is Ivy's parent.
- In Once Upon a Time, Cruella was granted the magical ability of persuasion. The power on the show is displayed as green smoke from her mouth, which in the film, Cruella constantly exhaled due to her smoking cigarettes.
- Cruella is the first female villain to oppose a male protagonist, being Pongo.
- Cruella's design and animation served as inspiration for the character Yesss in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
- Cruella has had the most live-action iterations of any Disney Villain.
- Disney Archives|Cruella De Vil Villains History
- Disney is making a live-action Cruella de Vil movie
- "31 Things We Learned About Ralph Breaks The Internet From A Trip To Disney Animation". GameSpot (September 20, 2018).