Kathryn Beaumont spent her formative years in four real locales: North Wales, London, Canada and California. She also spent much time in two imaginary settings: Wonderland and Neverland. 

It was Kathryn who provided the voice of Alice in Disney's "Alice In Wonderland," and the voice of Wendy in Disney's "Peter Pan." To many, her voice is that of the quintessential Disney heroine. 

Kid's Questions
English Newspaper Article
Peter Pan As A Pal
Kathryn and Bobby Driscoll
Post-Disney - Video
Queen Mary - Video
On An Island - Video
Disney Legend - Video
Negative Role Model?

Kathryn's parents were both in show business. Her mother, Evelyn, had worked as a professional dancer. Kathryn's father Kenneth Beaumont was a singer and musician who appeared with a number of bands. Kathryn relocated from London to Bangor, North Wales after the blitz began in 1940. In 1943, Kathryn appeared (uncredited) in an Associated British production, "It Happened One Sunday."

 Kathryn in "It Happened One Sunday."

Upon her return to London in 1945, Kathryn was spotted by an movie scout and came to the U.S. under contract to MGM. 

Her next film was MGM's enjoyable1948 Esther Williams vehicle "On an Island With You," (which was briefly available on VHS but is currently out of print.) She appears only briefly... but sparkles in her role. 

As Penelope Peabody
in MGM's
"On An Island With You"
(Real Video)



Kathryn appeared very briefly in an uncredited, non-speaking role as Muriel in MGM's "The Secret Garden," which starred the studio's reigning child star, Margaret O'Brien. The film was released in April of 1949. The film marked a turning point in Margaret O'Brien's career; it would be her last film for the studio. 

Kathryn's brief appearance in MGM's
"The Secret Garden"


On Halloween that same year, MGM released "Challenge To Lassie," which cast the famous collie "against type," considering that the film is the story of the famous Skye Terrier "Greyfriar's Bobby." (Disney would do a version of the story in 1961, using a different dog but the same actor, Donald Crisp.) Kathryn again appeared unbilled, but did manage to appear on one of the film's lobby cards.

Over at the Walt Disney Studio, it was time to cast the leads and record the soundtrack for "Alice In Wonderland." According to Kathryn, Disney was looking for an Alice "that would be English enough to satisfy British audiences and preserve the feeling of an English literary classic, but not so English that it would put off American audiences." Disney was obviously delighted by Kathryn's melodic voice, but How Kathryn Beaumont landed the role of Alice is actually more complicated.

Kathryn signs a Disney contract while the boss looks on.


KathBeauadj2.jpg (49348 bytes)

Kathryn was just eleven when she was signed and began recording the voice of Alice. Kathryn also portrayed Alice on film... but only for the benefit of the Disney animators, as a live-action reference for their work. Kathryn's mom and a tutor were present each day on the set; Kathryn worked four hours, studied for three, then went home.


Life Magazine ran a feature with two photos of Kathryn "in action" as Alice, performing for the  animators' reference film. According to Life, the "Live Alice Had It Rough." Life reported, "To help make the movements of their characters look smooth and natural, Disney animators are shown films of live people going through the same motions. For Kathryn Beaumont, the 12-year-old English girl who was the model for Alice (and also provided her voice) the motions were many and complex and sometimes dizzying. Studio technicians fixed up an ingenious collection of contrivances to spin and whirl and drop her down imaginary rabbit holes, so that the artists could put in the requisite life and sparkle to make 'Alice' a happy film."

Link to the other 1951 Alice In Wonderland

Kathy Beaumont 2.jpg (41975 bytes)After "Alice In Wonderland" was finished, Kathryn embarked on an extensive promotional tour for the 1951 release. This included appearing on-camera with Walt Disney in his first television special, "One Hour In Wonderland," telecast Christmas 1950. Two weeks after she returned from the tour, Walt had a new role for her... Wendy Darling in the Studio's next animated feature, "Peter Pan." She returned for a second Disney TV on-camera appearance, this time as Wendy, in "The Walt Disney Christmas Show" (1951).

In "Peter Pan," as in "Alice," Kathryn served not only as the voice for the character, but also as the physical model.  To learn what children would look like in the flying sequences, animators hoisted Kathryn and her young co-stars -- Tommy Luske as Michael and Paul Collins as John -- up in the air on cables and whirled them around. "Most kids would say, 'What fun,' but I was a little nervous," recalls Kathryn. "I was hooked up with a harness and was thinking the stage looked so far down there." Another reason for nervousness just might have been the stunts required in modeling the role of "Alice" for the animators.

How Peter Pan Was Made
Photo Essay from Child Life Magazine

After the 1953 release of Peter Pan, Kathryn headed off for public high school, where she pursued drill team rather than drama and ran for a position in student government. Kathryn was subsequently accepted at the University of Southern California, where she earned a degree and teaching credential. Kathryn continued to work for Disney each summer during college. On the completion of her studies... and for the next  thirty years... Kathryn devoted her time and energy  to being a school teacher in a local elementary school, a move she has never regretted. "I just went into another career," she reports. "I was just very young when I did these roles, so I went back to school and I had other ideas of things I wanted to do."

"In a sense, the roles that I did were somewhat anonymous because I lent my voice, not my physical being," Kathryn explains. "When I went on to school, it became a past experience. Teaching gave me  satisfaction, and I stayed." Occasionally, a sharp-eared student would wonder why the teacher's voice sounded so familiar, but not too often, since home  video was a decade or two off... and prior to home video availability, the Disney features were re-released to theatres only every seven years, on average. Kathryn lost contact with Disney, even though she lived just a stone's throw from the studio. In 1983, Disney promotion executive Howard Green reestablished contact.


Kathryn returned to Disney to promote the '83 re-release of Peter Pan, and also resumed her voice-over career, recording as Alice and Wendy for theme park attractions, videogames, and television programs. When a new "Alice" Fantasyland Attraction was created for Disneyland, Kathryn created a new track to replacing the original show audio she had recorded in 1958. In 1992, she returned as Wendy: it is Kathryn who calls out to Peter Pan during the pirate sequence of "Fantasmic!" at Disneyland. (You won't hear Kathryn at the Walt Disney World version of the show).  



On October 16, 1998, at the Disney Legends Ceremony, two Disney "Alices" joined the group: Virginia Davis, considered to be the first 'Disney Star,' hired by 21-year-old Walt Disney in Kansas City for his silent "Alice Comedies" ...and Kathryn Beaumont-Levine, whose voice and personality are essential parts of the Disney landscape.

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additional articles
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BELOW: Newspaper articles from the time of Alice's release


Kathc1~1.jpg (114112 bytes)Alice's Voice Real Teen-Ager
By Patricia Evers

"Teen-agers here and in England are just the same," Kathy Beaumont, the voice of Alice in you-know-whom in Wonderland has decided.

"Course, some teens are more generous than others, and some are more friendly, but these are individual differences one can find in any country," she continued.

Thirteen-year-old Kathy is well qualified to speak. Her years have been neatly divided between the U.S. and England; the first seven were spent in London, next six in California and Canada, whither she fled to escape the blitz.

All this came out in an interview yesterday on the Queen Mary as the liner docked after bringing her (and a couple of hundred other people) back from a month's vacation in England.


voiceofalice.JPG (807115 bytes)Like Illustrations

Dressed in an Alice In Wonderland costume she looks just like the Alice in the book illustrations. Same long blonde hair (though hers is curled) same blue eyes. Only difference is her freckles. She has hundreds of them but she doesn't mind 'em, she says.

Kathy's a very self-possessed half-pint, with a gracious, friendly manner and a voice that's easy on the ears. Hasn't got an English accent exactly, it's more a precision of pronunciation.

kathyboat.JPG (221157 bytes)"That's how I got the part of Alice," Kathy confided. "Mother and I came to New York for a vacation. Everywhere we went people kept mentioning my voice. Finally some friends of father's arranged a screen test for the part of Alice. Mr. Disney liked my voice, and I got the part."

She hadn't done any professional acting before this, although she comes from a theatrical family. "And Kathy did get very good marks in dramatic acting in school," Mrs. Beaumont told us.


Likes Movie Making

Kathy enjoys making movies. "Even though I don't appear in Alice," she said earnestly, "they made movies of me going through all the actions Alice goes through, for the artists' inspiration."

alicerec.JPG (80749 bytes)The sound track was all recorded before the picture was made. "It was just like doing a radio broadcast," she said.

Her next movie is going to be made much the same way, she believes. She'll be Wendy in "Peter Pan," so Kathy's off for Los Angeles, where she will be in the ninth grade in a movie studio school.kathauto.JPG (50218 bytes)

Favorite subject?

"Arithmetic," she answers unhesitatingly. "Especially geometry."

Favorite foods are strawberries, raspberries and leg of lamb. The last named is one of the things she missed in England. Not much meat in evidence over there.

QueenMary.JPG (222979 bytes)Terribly excited about getting back to this country, Kathy had three big thrills aboard ship - One was posing with elder statesman Bernard Baruch for the news photographers, another was receiving an album of the RCA records she and the original cast made of Alice. She hadn't heard them before, as they were taped just before she took off to vacation in England. The third big thrill was celebrating her 13th birthday half way across the ocean.

Next few days are reserved for New York sightseeing -- being Alice in Wonderland for real, she declares.


Today's a Big Day For Kathy, Just 13
by Eileen Creelman


This was an important day. Kathy Beaumont was celebrating her 13th birthday. Thirteen is a great age to someone who only tImage9.JPG (59278 bytes)he day before had been only 12.

The celebration was Kathy's first lunch at Twenty-One with her own choice of dessert, raspberries and strawberries mixed and served with cream. Kathy is English. Fresh fruit, even after three years in California, is still a treat.


ABOVE RIGHT: With a bashful Mortimer Snerd; "One Hour In Wonderland."
BELOW RIGHT: Another moment from Disney's first TV show.


Kathryn Beaumont at Disney Legend CeremoniesThis tall, straight little girl, quaint and charming rather than conventionally pretty, is a very busy actress who will not be seen at all in her next two pictures. Kathy will be heard as the voice of Alice in Walt Disney's version of "Alice in Wonderland," and as Wendy in the Disney "Peter Pan." She served as model, too, for the animators of both cartoons.

She and her fellow actors, Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter, Richard Haydn as the caterpillar, Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Jerry Colonna as the March Hare, donned costumes and enacted their entire roles before cameras and microphones.


Use Film as Modelalicefalls75.JPG (39752 bytes)

"We had only very sketchy sets," young Miss Beaumont went on, "just sketched-in backgrounds really. This picture is to give the animators ideas for their picture. They watch the film and then use us as models."

This first movie had four directors, one for the action, one for the dialogue, one for the music and one for the acrobatics.

"Oh, yes, we had lots of acrobatics," Kathy declared. "I had to fall down that hole after the White Rabbit, and they had a most complicated invention for that. Then they had to have me slide into a bottle. Yes, we needed a director for acrobatics."

kathandbob.JPG (155404 bytes)She will, when she returns from a visit to England with her mother, have to learn to fly for "Peter Pan." Disney technicians have what Kathy calls a sort of cradle all arranged to assist her with that stunt." Peter Pan is now two-thirds completed, the first picture at least, with Bobby Driscoll in the title role.


ABOVE LEFT: Kathy is rigged to float down the rabbit hole in "Alice In Wonderland."
ABOVE RIGHT: With future "Peter Pan" Co-star Bobby Driscoll; "One Hour In Wonderland."


kandw.JPG (138834 bytes)Kathy Beaumont, aged 13, says people have been telling her all her life that she should play Alice. Her mother agrees. Early in the war, when Mr. Beaumont was in France and Kathy an infant in arms, Mrs. Beaumont refused to ship her small daughter off to "safety" on the Athenia. When that ship, crowded with tiny refugees from bombing raids, went down, authorities ceased to scold Mrs. Beaumont for disobeying regulations. But when her best friend, visiting them in their shelter, was blown to death -- "she was blown out and we were blown in" -- Mrs. Beaumont decided to leave her small town on the Channel for New South Wales.

ABOVE RIGHT: Kathryn and Walt put their best feet forward.


Acted in School

kAthWencel.jpg (71133 bytes)Alicej.jpg (27510 bytes)"I put Kathy in school  there when she was still very small," Mrs. Beaumont explained. "She appeared in a school pantomime, then in a little play. The teacher came to me and said what I already knew, that children must be allowed to follow their own bent. She was sure Kathy had a bent for acting. Soon everyone was telling me that. People kept speaking of Alice. Even the head of the university next door said that he'd heard a Walt Disney in America was looking for a little girl to play Alice, and here she was in Wales all the time."

ABOVE LEFT: Kathryn with Norma Swank, an animation checker, as she colors a cel of Wendy. Click HERE to see other photos of Kathryn's Studio tour. (Most images on this page can be clicked for a larger view)


SignedLGB.JPG (374271 bytes)Kathy was discovered professionally at the age of 5 by some London producers on holiday. She made one English film, then signed an MGM contract. The studio paid her salary for five years while trying to get the youngster to this country. Once here, Kathy made only one Metro picture [sic], then transferred to Disney on a long-term contract.

The Beaumonts hope to be here for the Aug. 1 premiere of "Alice In Wonderland" at the Criterion. They will attend the London Opening on July 25, anyway.

"I don't whether Alice looks like me or not," Kathy said seriously. "She just looks like Alice."

ABOVE LEFT: Kathryn is in great demand at Disney fan conventions; she autographs this Little Golden Book with a "signature phrase."


Great fun, or slow news day?
In any case, pictures don't lie...



Disney's Exclusive Archives Collection Alice Laser Disc Box

Alice In Wonderland (6139 CS) contained an astonishing amount of supplemental materials of great interest: the complete "One Hour In Wonderland" TV special from Dec. 25, 1950, which features Kathryn as "hostess;" a 1951 promotional film, "Operation Wonderland," presented as originally broadcast on "Ford Star Review" on June 14th, 1951; a lengthy excerpt from "The Fred Waring Show" of March 18, 1951, which  is both a charming example of early live television and a chance to see Kathryn perform the "Alice" songs live. There's also a one-hour BBC radio dramatization based on the film; snippets from the animators' live-action reference film; and an audio recording of "Brahms' Lullaby" from August 26, 1947 which is labeled "Kathryn Beaumont Test." Also included are song demos, among them "Beyond The Laughing Sky," which was written for Alice but which appeared - with new lyrics - as "The Second Star To The Right" in "Peter Pan." 

Disney's Masterpiece Edition DVD (Released Jan. 27. '04)

The DVD contains substantially less additional material than the laser disc offers. An excellent, complete rundown of the DVD is available on the Ultimate Disney Site.

This site is unofficial, prepared without the participation of The Walt Disney Company or Kathryn Beaumont-Levine.
All im
ages and content within this non-profit website are copyrighted by, and the property of, The Walt Disney Company © Disney Enterprises, Inc. with the exception of "On An Island With You," "The Courage of Lassie," and "The Secret Garden," which are copyright 1948, 1949 by Turner Entertainment Company. This web site seeks to promote interest in, and enhance the value of, these copyrighted properties for the exclusive benefit of their respective copyright owners.
This site is an expanded version of material first prepared for 'Apatoons' by Don Brockway.

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