|Born||Donna Paige Helmintoller
(1956-05-10) May 10, 1956
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
|Education||Nova High School|
|Alma mater||Parkway Middle School of the Arts|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, painter|
|Notable work||Original voice of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)|
|Awards||Disney Legend (2011)|
Donna Paige O’Hara (born Donna Paige Helmintoller; May 10, 1956) is an American actress, singer, and painter. O’Hara began her career as a Broadway actress in 1983 when she portrayed Ellie May Chipley in the musical Showboat. In 1991, she made her motion picture debut in Disney‘s Beauty and the Beast, in which she voiced the film’s heroine, Belle. Following the critical and commercial success of Beauty and the Beast, O’Hara reprised her role as Belle in the film’s two direct-to-video follow-ups, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle’s Magical World.
Donna Paige Helmintoller was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and attended Nova High School in Davie, Florida and Parkway Middle School of The Arts which is also in Florida. She performed in shows with the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre.
O’Hara began acting at the age of four, attending acting classes in her home state of Florida. It was not until she was 12 years old that she developed an interest in singing and enrolled in a performing arts high school. O’Hara cites American actress and singer Judy Garland as one of her idols.
Broadway and stage
O’Hara made her first appearance on the Broadway stage as Ellie May Chipley in the revival of Showboat in 1983 starring Donald O’Connor. She repeated the role for the Houston Grand Opera‘s 1989 production and continued with them when the show was moved to the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. Continuing her legacy as Ellie, she also sang the part on the 1989 Grammy-nominated recording of the musical with Jerry Hadley, Frederica von Stade, and Teresa Stratas, conducted by John McGlinn on the Angel EMI label. Her other American stage credits include the title role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Broadway and national tour) and Ado Annie in a national tour of Oklahoma directed by William Hammerstein.
Internationally, O’Hara has played the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (Australia).
In April 2011, O’Hara played the role of Judy Garland in “From Gumm to Garland: JUDY, The Musical” at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona.
Transition to film and Beauty and the Beast
O’Hara also starred as Venus in the BBC’s recorded broadcast of the live presentation of Kurt Weill’s “One Touch of Venus” and in tribute to her Belle character from Beauty and the Beast, she portrayed Angela, a character in a fictional soap opera, for Disney’s 2007 live action/traditional 2-D animated movie Enchanted.
As of 2011, O’Hara was replaced by Julie Nathanson as the voice of Belle due to her voice changing significantly over the course of twenty years. Despite this, she still paints Belle for Disney Fine Art and also continues to do promotional appearances for Disney. In 2016, O’Hara appeared at numerous special screenings of Beauty and the Beast in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary.
2015 YO GABBA GABBA! (TV SERIES) LOOFA
2007 ENCHANTED ANGELA
DISNEY PRINCESS: ENCHANTED JOURNEY (VIDEO) VOICE OF BELLE
DISNEY PRINCESS: MAGICAL JEWELS BELLE
KINGDON HEARTS 2 BELLE (VIDEO GAME)
DISNEY PRINCESS PARTY VOLUME 2 BELLE
1996 ADVENTURES OF THE BOOK OF VIRTUES (TV SERIESAa)
1995 THE TWISTED ADVENTURES OF FELIX THE CAT (TV SERIES) GIRLS
1993 THE LEGEND OF PRINCE VALLIANT (TV SERIES) ALETA
1991 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BELLE