Linda Larkin may not be a name that casual Disney fans recognize, but she certainly has a recognizable voice. That’s because her vocal performance as Princess Jasmine in the 1991 animated motion picture Aladdin is legendary.
I bet you can hear her voice say “I am not a prize to be won!” in your head right now.
No other voice actress could have given Jasmine her wry, defiant personality the way Linda did. Her stellar performance and her dedication to the role over the years earned Lina Larkin a place in the Disney Legends hall of fame. Her induction took place at the D23 Expo on August 19, 2011.
Want to learn more about this spirited vocal actress? Here’s a look behind the curtain at the woman who gave Princess Jasmine her iconic voice, with four facts about Disney Legend Linda Larkin.
1. A Lucky Last-Minute Addition
In hindsight, being able to voice Princess Jasmine seems like it would be every woman’s dream, but at the time Aladdin was in pre-production voice casting, not everyone was standing in line to audition — including Linda.
Linda originally didn’t intend to try out for the role of Jasmine and was only at the auditions to support a friend who was interested in being in the film. The story goes that when she overheard Jasmine’s line, “It’s all so magical,” she decided to audition for the role herself.
Imagine how different Princess Jasmine would be if Linda’s voice wasn’t the one that brought her to life!
2. Princess Problems
You’d assume that once Linda was given the role of Princess Jasmine, her gig would be secure — but that’s not always how things work in Hollywood.
Shortly after Linda was brought onto the production, then-Disney Studios president Jeffrey Katzenberg tried to have her replaced because he didn’t like her voice. Apparently, because it wasn’t as “regal” as he wanted her to sound.
Confident that Linda was the right woman for the part, Aladdin’s producers had her redo her audition with some changes in her performance to sway Katzenberg, which — thankfully — worked.
What did she do differently? Linda had such a high-pitched voice that she had to actually drop her voice lower so she didn’t sound too young and childlike. That’s funny, considering Jasmine was only 15 years old in the film, being one of the youngest Disney princesses ever.
3. An Actress, Not a Singer
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Here’s something you may not know: Although Linda did voice Jasmine in the character’s spoken lines, she didn’t sing “A Whole New World.” Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga did.
This isn’t uncommon in animation, especially Disney movies. For instance, Jasmine isn’t the only Disney princess that Lea Salonga sang as. She returned to the studio in 1998 to tag-team the role of Fa Mulan with Ming-Na Wen.
Fittingly, Lea was inducted as a Disney Legend alongside Linda in 2011. After all, both women brought Princess Jasmine to life, so both should be recognized for their work!
4. Many Returns to Agrabah
Linda’s breakthrough success with the 1992 animated film was followed by a rapid succession of sequels and spin-off shows, in which she reprised her role as Princess Jasmine.
This began with the direct-to-video sequel The Return of Jafar in 1994, which kicked off the television series that ran for a few years. The franchise concluded with Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the final installment in the movie trilogy, and the wedding of Jasmine and Aladdin. She performed as the princess in every production.
Linda has been glad to provide her voice when Jasmine makes cameo appearances in other productions like House of Mouse, Sofia the First, Hercules: The Animated Series, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. She’s also returned to the Arabian kingdom for a slew of video games over the years, such as Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts games and the Disney Infinity series by Disney Interactive Studios.
Linda was one of many talented vocal performers who worked on Aladdin, among the likes of Robin Williams, Frank Welker, and Jim Cummings. Her fiery, self-assured portrayal of Princess Jasmine gave a generation of young girls an inspirational role model to look up to.