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Betty Lou Gerson

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Cause of death  Stroke
Name  Betty Gerson
Occupation  Actress/Voice actress
Role  Actress

Years active  1935-1966; 1997
Resting place  Cremation
Children  3 stepchildren
TV shows  Morning Star
Betty Lou Gerson Betty Lou Gerson Collection Old Time Radio

Born  April 20, 1914 (1914-04-20) Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
Died  January 12, 1999, Los Angeles, California, United States
Spouse  Louis Lauria (m. 1966–1994), Joe Ainley (m. 1937–1965)
Movies  One Hundred and One, The Fly, Cats Don't Dance, The Red Menace, An Annapolis Story
Similar People  Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman, Kurt Neumann, Winston Hibler

Betty Lou Gerson as a Disillusioned Wife in an Episode of TV's Hazel (1964)

Betty Lou Gerson (April 20, 1914 – January 12, 1999) was an American actress, predominantly active in radio, but also in film and television, and as a voice actress. She is best known as the voice of the villainous, selfish socialite Cruella de Vil from Walt Disney's animated film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) for which she was named a Disney Legend in 1996.


Betty Lou Gerson FileBetty Lou Gerson Guiding Lightjpg Wikimedia Commons

Betty Lou Gerson as a Devious French Concierge in Adventures of the Falcon

Early life

Betty Lou Gerson Betty Lou Gerson Radio Star Old Time Radio Downloads

Gerson was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 20, 1914, but raised in Birmingham, Alabama, where her father was an executive with a steel company. She was Jewish. She was educated in private schools in Birmingham and Miami, Florida. At age sixteen, she moved with her family to Chicago, where she performed in the radio serial The First Nighter Program. She later moved again to New York City.

Radio and film

Betty Lou Gerson betty lou gerson Backlots

She began her acting career in radio drama in 1935, while still in her 20s, and became a mainstay of soap operas during this period, appearing on Arnold Grimm's Daughter (as the titular daughter Constance in 1938), Midstream (in the lead role of Julia), Women in White (as Karen Adams), Road of Life (as Nurse Helen Gowan), Lonely Women (as Marilyn Larimore), and the radio version of The Guiding Light, as Charlotte Wilson in the mid-1940s. She co-starred with Jim Ameche in the 1938 summer drama Win Your Lady and was the resident romantic lead on such romantic anthologies as Curtain Time, and Grand Hotel.

Betty Lou Gerson httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsee

Moving to Los Angeles in the 1940s, she soon established herself on such series as The Whistler, Mr. President (as the presidential secretary), Crime Classics, Escape, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. She was heard in several episodes of Lux Radio Theater, notably as Glinda in a 1950 dramatization of The Wizard of Oz. She also played a variety of feminine roles on Johnny Modero, Pier 23. Around this time, she was cast as the narrator in Walt Disney's animated version of Cinderella (1950). Eleven years later, she provided the voice of the villainous, selfish socialite Cruella De Vil in Disney's animated feature One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).

Betty Lou Gerson Speaking of Radio

Her few on-camera film roles include appearances in The Fly (1958), The Miracle on the Hills (1959), and Mary Poppins (1964) in a small cameo as an old crone. In television, she made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of murderer Marjory Davis in the episode, "The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll" (1959). She also guest starred on The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hazel, and The Rifleman.

Family and later life

In 1936, Gerson married Joseph T. Ainley at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. At that time, he was radio director of the Leo Burnett Company, Incorporated.

Later years and death

Betty Lou Gerson Cruella Deville Betty Lou Gerson The Voices Behind Your Favorite

Gerson retired in 1966, though still using her voice, working at the telephone answering service of her second husband, Lou Lauria. She was honored as a Disney Legend in 1996. She returned to films one last time in 1997, providing the voice of Frances the fish in Cats Don't Dance. Gerson died at the age of 84 from a massive stroke, in Los Angeles, California on January 12, 1999.


  • The Red Menace (1949) as Greta Bloch, alias Yvonne Kraus
  • Cinderella (1950) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
  • Undercover Girl (1950) as Pat (nurse)
  • An Annapolis Story (1955) as Mrs. Lord
  • The Walter Winchell File "A Day In The Sun" - Minna DiOngu (1957)
  • The Green-Eyed Blonde (1957) as Mrs. Ferguson (uncredited)
  • The Fly (1958) as Nurse Andersone
  • The Miracle of the Hills (1959) as Kate Peacock
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) as Cruella de Vil / Miss Birdwell (voice)
  • Mary Poppins (1964) as Old Crone (uncredited)
  • Cats Don't Dance (1997) as Frances (voice; final film role)
  • References

    Betty Lou Gerson Wikipedia