Who Are the Voices Behind Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’?

Disney is responsible for many of the world’s most popular and beloved animated movies. Beginning in the ’30s with movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and continuing on to this day through their partnership with Pixar, generations of children and families have grown up with Disney movies, dreaming of the characters and storylines. One of Disney’s biggest hits of all time is The Little Mermaid, an animated classic that is now considered to be truly iconic Disney. 

When was ‘The Little Mermaid’ released, and what is it about?

The Little Mermaid is an animated film that was released in 1989, based on the decades-old fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. The film tells the story of a young mermaid named Ariel, who falls in love with a human prince named Eric.

In order to try to establish a relationship with Eric, Ariel sells her voice to a diabolical sea witch named Ursula in exchange for the magical ability to become human. Ultimately, Ariel and Eric are able to find true love, defeating the villainous Ursula and finding their way to a happy life together. At times heartbreaking and hilarious, The Little Mermaid has earned the title of one of Disney’s finest films.

The music in The Little Mermaid has also become iconic, with songs like “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World.” To this day, the movie remains a mainstay with families all around the world. 

Jodi Benson voiced the character of Ariel the mermaid

Jodi Benson
Jodi Benson | Bob Riha Jr/WireImage

In any animated film, the voice cast is a major part of what makes the movie resonate with viewers. The Little Mermaid had a stellar voice cast, including Jodi Benson as the lead, Ariel the mermaid. Benson has worked with Disney on many projects, lending her voice to films like Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Flubber, and Thumbelina. She also reprised the role of Ariel in several sequels to The Little Mermaid, including The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning and The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.

Christopher Daniel Barnes provided the voice of Prince Eric

In the role of Eric is Christopher Daniel Barnes. A talented performer who has also voiced the character of Spider-Man in the 1994 animated series, Barnes remains best known for lending his voice and mannerisms to the beloved Prince Eric. At the time, Barnes was only 16 years old – and ultimately, Eric wasn’t the only Disney prince that Barnes would help bring to life. He voiced Prince Charming in the Cinderella sequels Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time and has also worked on several video game characters as well. 

The Little Mermaid featured a lot of other big-name stars in smaller roles, including comedian Buddy Hackett as Scuttle, the absent-minded seagull who befriends Ariel and her friends. René Auberjonois, an established movie and television star, provided the voice for Chef Louis, Prince Eric’s mad chef, while Ben Wright lent his vocal talents to the film as Sir Grimsby, Eric’s steward and childhood friend and caretaker.

One of the most beloved characters in The Little Mermaid is the Jamaican crab, Sebastian — who not only serves as King Triton’s advisor, but is one of Ariel’s most ardent protectors as well. Samuel E. Wright voiced the character of Sebastian, a longtime actor who earned everlasting fame for his role in The Little Mermaid. Sadly, Wright passed away in May 2021, at the age of 74 — leaving behind a legacy of love and laughter. 

RELATED: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Director Finally Reacts to the Animated Classic’s Biggest Controversy