The dark history of Cruella

To help with animation, Disney animators often brought in actors to serve as reference models for the characters. These models will show movement and serve as examples of the physical condition of the characters.

For Cruella de Vil, the reference model ended up playing a big role in the character on screen, even though they were not credited in the film. In fact, Cruella’s real model was someone you might recognize: character actress Mary Wicks. Weeks was known for playing housekeepers and gossips and appeared in films such as White Christmas as well as Sister Action (pictured above).

Wicks was the perfect model for Cruella. “She had very distinctive features,” said biographer Steve Taravella. electronic warfare. “She was tall, lanky, with an exaggerated expression; she was flexible and could bend her body easily. She wasn’t afraid to do comedies.” According to EW, Disney animators would play the recorded voice track to Cruella, and then Wicks would act out Cruella’s dramatic moves. This gave Cruella many of the characteristic mannerisms and movements seen in the film.

While Wicks wasn’t officially credited with a role in the film, Tarawella says she wouldn’t mind it, even as a relatively well-known actress. “Mary wanted nothing more than to work all the time,” he told EW. “She loved the job…she was a real old-school working actress.”

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