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Jodi Marie Benson (née Marzorati) is an American actress, voice actress, and soprano singer, who is best known for her starring role as Ariel in Disney's highly successful 1989 animated feature film The Little Mermaid.


Benson was born as Jodi Marie Marzorati in Rockford, Illinois to a Catholic family. In 1989, Benson (working as a Broadway star at the time) made her theatrical debut as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. The filmmakers felt that it was necessary to have both Ariel's speaking and singing voices done by the same person, and therefore considered her a perfect candidate. She also briefly voiced Vanessa (Ursula's human alter ego) on behalf of Pat Carroll.

Benson's vocal talents were given critical acclaim from a wide variety of film critics. It was for this film that she recorded her signature song "Part of Your World", which audiences around the world have grown to know and love.

The success of The Little Mermaid spawned an animated TV series of the same name in the mid-'90s, followed by two direct-to-video sequels (the first in 2000 and the second in 2008). Benson has continued to reprise her role as Ariel in most Disney-related media, including the animated television series House of Mouse (in which she also voiced Belle from Beauty and the Beast on behalf of Paige O'Hara).

Benson is also famous for voicing several other Disney characters from various films and television series, including Weebo in Flubber, Barbie in Toy Story 2 and 3, as well as Hawaiian Vacation, Helen of Troy in the Hercules TV series and Zero to Hero, Lady in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, and Anita in 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure. In 2007, Benson even landed a supporting role as Sam in Enchanted, which remains one of Benson's few live-action film roles to date and her only Disney-related one (aside from one cameo scene in Flubber).

In August 2011, Benson was honored as one of the Disney Legends, alongside the Disney Princess voice actresses Paige O'Hara, Linda Larkin, Lea Salonga, and Anika Noni Rose.

In addition to reprising her role as Ariel in Ralph Breaks the Internet and the Sofia the First special "The Floating Palace", Benson also voiced Queen Emmaline. Additionally, she played a market vendor in the 2023 live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, as well as appeared as herself in The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!.

Outside of Disney, Benson is well-known for voicing Patsy Smiles, Jane Doe and Almondine in the Cartoon Network animated series Camp Lazlo, Aquagirl in Batman Beyond, Tula in the Fox Kids animated series The Pirates of Dark Water, Asenath in DreamWorks' Joseph: King of Dreams, and Thumbelina in Don Bluth's 1994 animated film of the same name. Additionally, she took over the voice role of Jenna in the sequel films Balto II: Wolf Quest and Balto III: Wings of Change.




  • Benson's favorite moment from The Little Mermaid was when she recorded the song "Part of Your World".
  • Benson was considered for the voice role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, but decided on Paige O'Hara in favor of having a heroine who sounded "more like a woman than a girl."[citation needed]
    • She would later voice Belle in tandem with O'Hara on House of Mouse and its respective media.
  • On the 1998 VHS of The Little Mermaid, she appears during the previews as an MC, alongside two CGI goldfish named Phil and Gil.
  • Apart from Ariel, Benson also voiced Barbie in the Toy Story franchise. Coincidentally, live-action adaptations of The Little Mermaid and Barbie have been released in 2023.
  • Jodi Benson appeared in the live action remake of The Little Mermaid as a woman who gave Ariel a fork in a market, as a cameo appearance. Benson said it felt like passing on the torch to Hallie.

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