Lucille Bliss, voice of Smurfette, dies at 96

Lucille Bliss, the voice of Smurfette and several other iconic cartoon characters, died last week at the age of 96 from natural causes. Katy Perry played Smurfette in the feature film, but Bliss was the original blue-hued babe.

According to her obituary in the Los Angeles Times, Bliss went to Los Angeles as a young woman trying to break into show business. She borrowed $50 from a friend to make the trip. She auditioned for the role of cruel stepsister Anastasia in Disney's "Cinderella." Six months later, she got the role. Years later, she recalled hearing the good news. "I almost dropped the phone. I was delirious. That is the way it all began."

And it never really stopped. All told, Bliss worked in movies and television for more than 60 years. In addition to her work on the long-running "The Smurfs," Bliss provided the voice of Elroy Jetson on "The Jetsons" and Crusader Rabbit, star of one of TV's first successful animated programs. Other notable credits, according to IMDb, include a small part in "101 Dalmatians," the role of Mrs. Fitzgibbons in "The Secret of NIMH," and turns in the hit anime series "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

Bliss also did non-animation work. She had a one-episode role in the Don Johnson TV series "Nash Bridges" and she hosted "The Happy Birthday To You Show" in San Francisco during the 1950s, according to Animation World Network.

In an interview with Emmy TV Legends, Bliss spoke about her connection to Smurfette. "She had a lot of animation and a lot of personality. And she was lovable and she was a little feisty at times, too. And she loved animals… She felt so real to me because I created her voice. I could feel her emotions. It may sound strange, but it’s true."