You must have wondered how our favorite creators get their inspirations for their characters. The mere concept of breathing life into what was once only an idea, of expressing imagination as a visual is stunning. Disney has always been famous for the natural movements of its animated characters, and for this the animators used live models to capture the subtleties of dynamics and body proportions. Today , we’re here to talk about one such live model who, in simplest terms, was a real Disney princess – Helene Stanley.
Helene Stanley(born Dolores Diane Freymouth) was one of the live models for Disney princesses Aurora and Cinderella.
She had started her career in the industry when she was as young as only 14 years of age. The beginning of her career can be traced back to the film ‘Girls’ Town’ that was released in 1942, where she debuted as a singer.
Additionally, she also modeled for Anita Radcliff from One Hundred and One Dalmatians. She was filmed in full costume and makeup and these scenes were reviewed multiple times in slow motion for perfect animation. She was essentially a template for animations. The hard work of live-action models for Disney princesses is apparent.
In Cinderella, for example, actors and models were filmed together for scenes to be drawn later. With Helene Stanley as the lead Disney princess, Jeffrey Stone as Prince Charming, Eleonor Audley as the Stepmother and Lady Tremaine, the filmmakers shot the whole movie.
Stanley was a trained dancer and had appeared in a handful of films before she collaborated with Disney. She first appeared in the film Girls’ Town (1942) and also worked for MGM from 1946-50. Her last role at MGM was in the movie The Asphalt Jungle, released in 1950.
Fun fact: She also appeared in the Disney shows The Mickey Mouse Show and The Magical World of Disney!
Helena passed away in 1990 when she was 61. But it is her work that keeps her alive in our hearts and on our screens.
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