This book was well-researched. I loved learning the true story behind the world’s first voice of Cruella. Betty had a very interesting life story! Highly recommend to entertainment lovers and especially Disney fans! -Amazon Review
Voice of Villainy:
The Betty Lou Gerson Story
She voiced one of Disney’s most infamous villainesses. With her husky timbre and most unforgettable cackle, Betty Lou Gerson terrified an entire generation as Disney’s original “Cruella de Vil” in One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).
Betty used her whiskey-soaked voice to give us an innovative portrait of elegant villainy beyond entertainment’s stereotypical “old hag” antagonists in radio, film, and television. She had a prolific radio career in both Chicago and Hollywood before the silver screen and was featured in many popular television series in the 1950s and 1960s such as Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Hazel. Though “Cruella” is perhaps her most recognized role, she also performed in other beloved film classics including Cinderella (1950), Mary Poppins (1964), and Cats Don’t Dance (1997).
The great irony of Betty’s story is that while her voice frightened audiences through nearly all mediums, off mic, she was in fact no villainess at all. Betty traversed through some of the most volatile eras in American history, while overcoming many personal tragedies of her own. She was among twentieth century entertainment pioneers and an iconic voice of feminism.
Learn the compelling story of Betty Lou Gerson as the “voice of villainy.”
About the Author:
Dr. Lona Bailey is a Golden Age of Hollywood researcher and writer of Uncredited: The Life and Career of Actress Virginia Gregg, and Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story. As a PhD and former therapist, Lona is passionate about telling the untold stories of women who perhaps weren’t finished using their own voices during their earthly journeys.
Lona offers a balanced perspective on the multidimensional elements involved in legacy-maintenance with particular interest in the preservation efforts of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Lona’s biographic works are delicately researched and written with a candid and fair pen and plenty of room for levity.
Old Hollywood holds millions of secrets in its gothic sensationalism; with its dark secrets, come just as many shimmering triumphs– and Old Hollywood wouldn’t be as we know it without both. Lona has been featured in Market Watch, Digital Journal, and Good News Magazine.
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