Lucille Bliss, Voice of Smurfette, Dies at 96

Smurfette - 1980s version - P 2012

The actress also voiced the title role of "Crusader Rabbit," the first animated series produced for television, along with characters in "The Jetsons" and "The Flintstones."

Lucille Bliss, the voice actress whose 60-year career including starring as Smurfette in the 1980s animated series The Smurfs, has died. She was 96.

Bliss died Nov. 8 of natural causes at an assisted living center in Costa Mesa, Calif., the Orange County coroner told the Los Angeles Times.

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Bliss worked steadily up until the time of her death after getting her start in 1950 with a voice role in Disney's Cinderella as the stepsister Anastasia. Her big break came with the title role in the original Crusader Rabbit, the first animated series to be produced specifically for television. The show, which originally aired on NBC from 1950-52, was co-created by Jay Ward of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right fame.

Bliss later voiced the original Elroy in the 1960s TV series The Jetsons (she reportedly lost that job when she refused to work under a stage name to cover up the fact the she was a woman voicing a little boy) as well as characters in The Flintstones and animated Star Wars spinoffs.

But she will perhaps be best remembered as the voice of Smurfette in the beloved '80s series. The character, as voiced by Bliss, also appeared in several TV movies and specials throughout the decade. (Katy Perry voiced the character in the 2011 big-screen version along with its upcoming sequel.)

More recently, she had voice roles in the movie Robots and the TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

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Bliss was born March 31, 1916, in New York to Frieda Siemens, a classically trained pianist who wanted Bliss to train as an opera singer, and James Francis Bliss. After her father died in 1928, she and her mother moved to San Francisco, where Bliss took acting lessons. She later borrowed $50 to move to Los Angeles for the Cinderella audition.

Bliss never married and has no immediate survivors.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.