Lucille Bliss, the voice of Smurfette on the 80s cartoon The Smurfs, has died at the age of 96, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Reports indicate that Bliss died from natural causes at the Mesa Verde Residential Care Center in Costa Mesa on November 8. The voice actress has no immediate survivors.
Although Bliss was known for her role as Smurfette in the popular 80s children’s cartoon The Smurfs, the actress has been providing voice work to various characters since the early days of television. Bliss was reportedly still getting work in the months leading up to her death.
Author Charles Solomon believes Lucille Bliss is an important figure in the history of animation and television.
“[Crusader Rabbit] really set a pattern for a lot of future shows — the smart little character and the big dumb sidekick,” Solomon said. “She was a pioneer in television animation.”
According to Big Cartoon News, Bliss served as the voice of Smurfette on The Smurfs from 1981 to 1989. After the series was over, the actress returned for such television movies as The Smurfs Christmas Special, The Smurfs Springtime Special, and My Smurfy Valentine.
Although best known Crusader Rabbit and the only female Smurf in the entire village, Bliss also contributed her voice to the Disney movies Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and 101 Dalmatians.
However, Secret of NIMH fanatics will know Bliss from her role as Mrs. Fitzgibbons in director Don Bluth’s memorable 1982 animated adventure.
“Actors from her generation who came up in live radio, you’d do one or two takes with Lucille and she’d just nail it,” TDA Animation owner David Scheve explained. “She could do three or four characters in one [scene] and you’d never know they were all her. She was terrific.”
Although Lucille Bliss may be gone, her contributions to the world of television and animation live on. Given the popularity of the recent Smurf movies, the character she originated will continue to entertainment children for years to come.