William Phipps, original voice of Prince Charming, dies at 96

Actor William Phipps, who starred in sci-fi films of the 1950s and voiced Prince Charming in 1950s “Cinderella”, has passed away. He was 96.

Phipps’ friend and author Tom Weaver announced the news, adding that Phipps had been battling lung cancer, which was complicated by pneumonia, reports variety.com.

The actor died on June 1 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California.

Phipps had originall studies accounting and planned to pursue it as a career while continuing what was then an acting hobby on the side.

In 1941, Phipps decided to forgo his EIU studies and moved to California to pursue his acting dream.

He later enlisted in the Navy after his brother Jack was shot down over the South Pacific, serving as a radioman aboard six ships between 1942 and 1945. After his discharge, he returned to Hollywood and used the G.I. Bill (officially the servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the bill was created to help veterans of World War II) to enroll at the Actors Lab.

Walt Disney himself heard Phipps’ audition for the voice role of Prince Charming, and Phipps said he spent two hours one afternoon in January 1949 recording his lines after Disney gave him the role.

According to Phipps, he was paid $100 for the work.

During the film’s promotional frame, Disney offered young women the chance to meet the voice behind Prince Charming in a nationwide contest. For the meeting, Phipps was outfitted with a white tie, tails and a top hat, and met the lucky winner in front of a live audience on the stage of the Pantages during a coast-to-coast radio broadcast of Art Linkletter’s show.

According to Phipps, “They gave me (I think) $100 pocket money and a limousine and a driver so we could go anywhere we wanted. We went to Ciro’s and the Mocambo, which were the two most famous places on the Sunset Strip at the time, and we went to the Trocadero, too.

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