EXPIRED: 07/01/10 – Ilene Woods, 81, was a kid from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who wanted to become a schoolteacher. But her mother wanted her to be in showbiz and pushed her really hard. Woods started acting when she was just two years old. When she was 11 she started singing on the radio and 4 years later she had her own radio show, a musical series, called the “The Ilene Woods Show.”
In 1944, the radio show moved from New York to Chicago and eventually, she landed in Los Angeles where two friends asked her, as a favor, to record a few songs, “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” and “So This is Love.”
They hadn’t told her that they were for the upcoming Walt Disney animated movie, Cinderella. When Disney heard the demos, he chose Woods to voice Cinderella in the movie over more than 300 other auditioning teenagers.
She didn’t follow through with any of the sequels, but she did star in a summer variety show in 1965. She then moved into television appearing on “The Steve Allen Show,” “The Gary Moore Show,” and “Arthur Godfrey and His Friends”. During “The Gary Moore Show,” Woods met her husband-to-be, Ed Shaughnessy, Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show drummer,” and raised two sons with him..
“I learned a very good lesson,” she once said. “Never pass up doing a good deed for friends!”
In 1985, Woods launched a new career as a portrait artist concentrating on painting children’s portraits.
In 2002, Woods was awarded a Disney Legends award for her voicework on the film Cinderella. One of her last film appearances was in Touched By An Angel as night nurse Cassie.