Margaret Kerry: Tinker Bell Speaks
I’ll admit it. As a boy, Tinker Bell was my gal and my admiration of the character — and of course Disney’s animated Peter Pan — continues. And, frankly, we all owe it to Margaret Kerry – the model for Tinker Bell.
Fox News Stephanie Nolasco explained:
The now-90-year-old had been performing since age 4, but it was the role as a live-action model for Walt Disney’s enchanting sprite Tinker Bell in the 1953 animated film “Peter Pan” that led to her rise to stardom. And while she has kept busy in Hollywood over the years, Kerry is aware that the beloved character continues to captivate audiences — and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, Kerry is still active and thriving, happily meeting her fans across the country for personal appearances. In 2016 she also released her memoir titled “Tinker Bell Talks.”
Nolasco pulled together a Q & A and here are a few of the best quotes.
How much of Tinker Bell was really you?
All [animator] Marc Davis had to work with was this little phrase that [author] J.M. Barrie put in his book. But they needed a personality for her. He spotted that when they interviewed me. I’m quirky, I’m funny. I’m a little bit adventurous. And I think that’s what he saw.
When I stepped out in front of the camera for the first time, I said “Mr. Davis, do you want her bouncy like Betty Boop or above it all like a queen of the fairies?” He said to me, “Margaret, we want her to be you.” I’m a dancer and she has a ballerina’s walk. Her arms float like a dancer. Everything she does, every move that she makes is that of a dancer, like me. I’m an actress, so of course, that goes with it… But basically, I’m me. They allowed me to be me. So I say maybe I gave her the third dimension.
You also inspired the redheaded mermaid in “Peter Pan.” Is it safe to say you would go on to inspire Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”?
I like to tell people I’m her great-great-grandmother *laughs*. I think everything Disney does inspires something else. June Foray, who voiced Rocky in “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” she was one of the mermaids. She was the dark-haired mermaid… After two days, June and I looked at each other and she said, “Why are we fighting to be in front of the camera? This is the way to go — voiceovers. No makeup, no hairdo, no costume, no 8 o’clock in the morning. You go in, do it, if they make a mistake, they re-run the tape.” So we both went into voiceover acting from there. I blamed Disney for doing that *laughs*.
And how was it meeting Walt Disney himself?
Well, I was trained from the time I was 4 that the head studio is like God. You never met him, you never saw him. But if you did, you curtsied. So here I am in the middle of this sound stage and I suddenly see these groups of shadows come in. Buddy Epson is leading them because you can’t miss his walk… When the other men walked away, Walt Disney came over to say hello to Mark Davis and the cameramen. He observed the sketches to see what was going on. Then, I was called over to meet him.
I was dumbstruck. He was the head of the studio! I just didn’t know what to do. So I answered his questions like a schoolgirl. He learned from somebody that I went to school with his daughters. He asked me about it and I didn’t know what to answer… I just thought, “I think I’m in love” *laughs* He was just so wonderful. He was very charming and dressed so smartly. He was very skinny — much more than I ever thought. And he was more handsome than his pictures showed — really! I met him about four times and I just felt like myself.
The whole story is really worthwhile. Be sure to check it out.
Then tell us: Who is YOUR favorite character from Peter Pan? Let us know in the comments.