MAE QUESTEL Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


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Name: Mae Questel                                                                       
Born: 13 September 1908 Bronx, New York City                                             
Died: 4 January 1998 New York City                                                       
Mae Questel (September 13, 1908 – January 4, 1998) was an American actress and         
vocal artist.                                                                           
Born Mae Kwestel in New York City, she won a talent contest at the age of 17,           
and began performing in vaudeville. She was seen by animator Max Fleischer, who         
was looking for an actress to provide the voice for his Betty Boop character.           
Questel's "Boop-boop-a-doop" routine, done in a style similar to that of the             
song's originator, Helen Kane, while at the same time evoking something of the           
naughty allure of film star Clara Bow, was exactly what Fleischer wanted. From           
1931 until 1939, Questel provided the voice of Betty Boop in more than 150               
animated shorts. During the 1930s she released a recording of "On the Good Ship         
Lollipop" which sold more than 2 million copies.                                         
From the mid 1930s Questel also provided the voice for Olive Oyl in the Popeye           
animated shorts. She based Olive's nasal vocal style on that of the legendary           
character actress ZaSu Pitts, and ultimately played the role for more than               
twenty years. Questel refused to move to Miami, Florida when Fleischer Studios           
relocated there in 1938. Margie Hines was the voice of Olive Oyl during the             
Miami years. Questel returned as the voice of Olive Oyl when Paramount Pictures         
moved the former Fleischer Studios which became Famous Studios back to New York         
City. She filled Jack Mercer's shoes as Popeye when Mercer was temporarily drawn         
into war service. She voiced Little Lulu and Little Audrey in their respective           
animated shorts. In the 1950s, she was the voice to the title character of the           
interactive, and pioneering, Saturday-morning cartoon series Winky Dink and You.         
Questel's Broadway theatre credits included A Majority of One, Enter Laughing,           
and Bajour.                                                                             
Questel appeared onscreen in the 1930's as herself, the most noted being in a           
1933 "Hollywood on Parade" short. After she finishes a musical number Bela               
Lugosi enters in his Dracula costume and says "You have Booped your Last Boop!"         
before carrying her off. She made her first dramatic appearance in the 1960s and         
was seen as one of Fanny Brice's mother's card-playing friends at the start of           
Funny Girl (1968). She appeared in Zelig (1983) and as a celestial apparition in         
New York Stories (1989).                                                                 
When Hanna-Barbera began making new Popeye cartoons for television in the 1970's,       
Questel had to audition for the role of Olive Oyl, and lost out to another voice-over   
actress. Questel's final film appearance was as Aunt Bethany in National Lampoon's       
Christmas Vacation (1989); Questel was nineteen years older than actor William           
Hickey, who played her husband in that movie. She provided the voice for Betty           
Boop in a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). She achieved               
perhaps her greatest visibility in television commercials for various household         
products, most notably as "Aunt Bluebell", pitching Scott Towels.                       
Questel had a withered arm; in her on-camera film appearances, she was usually           
photographed with elbows bent and both hands at her waist or holding an object           
in the crook of her elbow to make it less obvious that one arm was shorter and           
smaller than the other.                                                                 
Questel died from complications related to Alzheimer's disease at the age of 89         
in New York City.