Discovering the Voice Behind Disney’s Most Iconic Villainess: “Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story” by Dr. Lona Bailey

February 14 12:22 2023

Manchester, TN – Dr. Lona Bailey, researcher, writer, and biographer, has released her latest book “Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story” – a fascinating and compelling look at the life of the actress who voiced one of Disney’s most infamous villainesses. With her husky timbre and unforgettable cackle, Betty Lou Gerson scared and delighted an entire generation as Disney’s original “Cruella de Vil” in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961). But there was so much more to Betty Lou than her famous voice, and this book is the first to tell her story.

Betty Lou Gerson was a pioneer of the entertainment industry. With a prolific radio career in both Chicago and Hollywood, she was featured in many popular television series in the 1950s and 1960s, including Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Hazel. Her voice in “Cruella de Vil” was just one of the many standout performances in her illustrious career. In addition to “Cruella,” she also performed in other beloved film classics such as Cinderella (1950), Mary Poppins (1964), and Cats Don’t Dance (1997).

Like many millennials, Dr. Bailey grew up with Betty Lou Gerson’s vocal portrayal of “Cruella de Vil” in Disney’s classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians. She was drawn to researching and writing about the talented actress when her oldest daughter became fascinated with the film. In reading about Betty Lou Gerson, Dr. Bailey discovered she was born near her hometown and was intrigued by her history and career. When she learned Betty Lou did not yet have a biography, she was inspired to research and write her story.

The great irony of Betty’s life is that, despite the menace she brought to the silver screen, off-camera she was no villainess. Betty Lou traversed the most volatile eras in American history, overcoming numerous personal tragedies. She was an iconic voice of feminism, one of the 20th century’s entertainment pioneers.

The biography delves deep into a veritable treasure trove of illuminating quotes, painting a vivid and evocative picture of Betty Lou Gerson’s spellbinding odyssey. Selected with utmost care and precision, these quotes serve as a testament to the inimitable spirit and timeless talent of the legendary voice behind the iconic Cruella de Vil. A glimpse into the book’s pages offers the following glimpses into the world of Betty Lou Gerson:

“By-and-large, “Cruella” is Betty Lou Gerson’s wicked animated alter-ego.”

“The legacy of “Cruella de Vil” lives on in part, because of the unforgettable voice of villainy provided by a culmination of Birmingham, Chicago, and Hollywood in the “husky” vocal cords of Betty Lou Gerson.”

“In just a few short years, Betty had jumped from soap queen to the voice of villainy.”

“‘Pardon me Miss, ain’t you Miss Bankhead?’ When inflamed, Betty’s sinuses mimicked Tallulah better than she ever intentionally could.”

“‘No sir, there is no reason whatever to suspect foul play. It was simply an accident. An unthinkable accident. He simply fell from the train, and that’s all there is to it,’ Jennie said to the investigator with a quivering lip she tried to mask with a handkerchief.”

“Voice of Villainy” is now available in both Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon ( This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who loves the classic Disney films and wants to know more about the incredible actress behind one of Disney’s most iconic villainesses.

For further information about “Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story” or to schedule an interview with Dr. Lona Bailey, please get in touch with her directly at [email protected]. For regular updates, follow Dr. Lona Bailey on Instagram.

About Dr. Lona Bailey

With an unwavering commitment to preserving the rich legacy of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Dr. Lona Bailey, Ph.D. stands as a foremost researcher, writer, and biographer. Possessing a passion for uncovering the untold stories of remarkable women, Dr. Bailey has brought to life the biographies of “Uncredited: The Life and Career of Actress Virginia Gregg” and “The Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story.” Her works are a testament to her meticulous research and candid, impartial writing style, offering a glimpse into the lives of women who were denied the chance to use their own voices.

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