Once in a while you learn something random that completely changes your view of someone. Today’s case involves someone I’ve never met but who is quite familiar to me in three different ways that I never knew were related.
Stick with me for a few minutes.
If you’re like me, you have seen the holiday favorite National Lanpoon’s Christmas Vacation at least once a year since it was made. Do you recall Aunt Bethany? She was the elderly aunt with the failing memory who wrapped up her cat as a gift. Click here to view a quick clip to refresh your memory.
The actress who portrayed this beloved character was named Mae Questel, a former Vaudeville performer whose career spanned 67 years beginning in 1930.
Her most notable work was actually providing voices for some of America’s most popular characters of the 1930s including Betty Boop and Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons.
In fact, she voiced Betty from 1931 to 1939 in 150 animated shorts. This was the longest run for any actress voicing this role. She reprised that role decades later for the 1988 box office hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Her role as Olive Oyl lasted for a total of twenty years. Sadly, when Hannah-Barbera began making the New Popeye cartoons in 1978 she auditioned for the role but they gave it to someone else.
Many people may also remember her for making the rounds on television soap operas and panel shows, for some commercials and for a number of other voice and on-film roles.
Pretty cool, right?
Mae Questel gave us three iconic characters, making a memorable mark on pop culture. She died in 1998 at the age of 89 from complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease.
The photo above is a Betty Boop statue outside a pawn shop in Denver.