Grace Lantz once said that Woody Woodpecker wasn't cute until she started voicing him

Be honest, have you ever heard Woody Woodpecker described as cute?

Many talented voice actors were privileged enough to voice Woody Woodpecker throughout the bird's long and luxurious lifespan. Among those are talents are Ben Hardaway and Mel Blanc. However, the sweetest addition to this list is none other than Grace Lantz, wife of Walter Lantz, who created Woody Woodpecker.

In spite of all of these voice actors performing as the same character, the best cartoon aficionados might be able to tell differing variations between Woody's iterations. For a voice actor like Grace Lantz, she took special care to ensure that the character was, in fact, adorable.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Grace Lantz admitted, "Woody wasn't cute until I took over." Grace, who began voicing the bird in 1950, was not new to show business. She had previously had a career in vaudeville, and her submission to become Woody Woodpecker wasn't sweetened just because she was married to Walter Lantz. Grace had actually submitted her audition anonymously and was chosen by Lantz himself over several other auditions. Lantz had no idea that the winning performer was actually his wife.

Strangely enough, it seems that while Grace was putting her own spin on Woody Woodpecker, Woody was putting his own spin on Grace. She admitted, "Woody has sort of taken over my personality." Walter Lantz jokingly added to his wife, "No dignity. I just don't know. She used to be very proper."

Grace had, in fact, become so much like Woody that she would apparently do the character's infamous laugh out loud in public restaurants. 

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6 Comments

Runeshaper 7 months ago
Sounds like she put a lot into the character & took it with her lol 😆
justjeff 7 months ago
"...just because she was married to Charles Lantz"... Gee... she divorced WALTER Lantz and then married his **imaginary** brother, Charles??? If you'd asked Woody who made such a blatantly foolish error, he'd reply "Guess who???" The answer, of course, is the regular gang of non-proofreaders who compile these stories for MeTV.

As for Grace Lantz, I think adding "cute" to a bird famous for his mischief is tantamount to treason... That's like having Lex Luthor fight Superman one day, then act as a ballet teacher at a high school the next.... SHEESH!!!!
Snickers 7 months ago
Annoying yes, cute no.
TheSentinel Snickers 7 months ago
That was the case with the character's early design (with the red chest, the stubby yellow legs and the goofy look).
LoveMETV22 7 months ago
Fun article/story. Guessing Grace Lantz was just as proper even after she started voicing the character. Though it would have been funny to hear her do the laugh in a restaurant. 🪵🪵
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