Mae Questel

Mae Questel

89 (passed away Jan. 4th, 1998)
Sep. 13th, 1908
Born in
The Bronx, New York, USA

Mae Questel's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Popeye TV Show
The Corner Bar TV Show
The Corner Bar

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


When Mae was 17 and living in the South Bronx when she won a local contest to find the girl who most resembled Helen Kane, a popular singer known as the "Boop-Oop-A-Doop Queen." She was promptly signed by an agent and began performing in the Vaudeville circuit. Betty Boop creator Max Fleischer heard Mae doing her "boop-oop-a-doop" routine and hired her to do the character's voice in 1931. She served as the voice on more than 150 Betty Boop animated shorts until the character was retired in 1939. Her recording of "On The Good Ship Lollipop" sold more than 2 million during the Depression.

  • Studied drama with the Theatre Guild in New York City and at Columbia University. Also belonged to the American Theatre Wing.
  • The talented mimic also provided duck, dog, chicken, owl, monkey, lion and baby sounds for radio.
  • Best known as the voices of "Betty Boop" and "Olive Oyl"
  • Best known in film as the matchmaking Mrs. Strakosh, one of Barbra Streisand's card-playing neighbors, in "Funny Girl."
  • Returned after a nearly 50-year hiatus to voice Betty Boop for _Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)_ (qv).
  • Billing herself in vaudeville as "Mae Questel - Personality Singer of Personality Songs." She performed dead-on vocal imitations of Maurice Chevalier, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and Helen ("Boop-Boop-a-Doop") Kane, among many others.
  • She not only provided the voice of Olive Oyl in the 'Popeye' cartoons, but the toddler Swee'pea as well. She based Oyl's quivery, nervous-nellie voice on comedic actress ZaSu Pitts.
  • Spokeswoman for Scott Paper Company as Aunt Bluebell for the duration of the 70s.

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