If you remember the Talkartoon films, you’ll know Betty Boop! She was created by Max Fleischer with the help of Grim Natwick. She later starred in several films produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. This article highlights the three best actresses who played Betty Boop. Read on to discover the other great actresses. Let’s dive into each one of them!
There are countless reasons why the chemistry between Esther Lee Jones and Betty Boop is so irresistible. While Jones is most famous for her work as Little Esther, she was also known as Baby Esther, and Little Esther on stage. Both of these women shared an uncanny ability to interpret popular songs with both seriousness and a bit of childish mischief. The two were destined for the spotlight, and their mutual adoration for each other was undoubtedly one of their greatest strengths.
The love affair between Esther Jones and Betty Boop started during her time on Broadway. She starred in the musical Baby Esther. Betty Boop’s popularity soared, and her scat voice was so distinctive that fans even mistakenly thought that she was Helen Kane. This story was widely contested, but the Betty Boop Wikia finally found out that Esther Jones was a Florence Mills impersonator.
Although Jones was an international star in her prime, her success in Hollywood led to her being sued by white singer Betty Boop. While both women were successful and achieved success, Jones never received royalties or credit for her work. This left her life shrouded in mystery. Few recordings of her live performances exist. The lawsuit reveals that Betty Boop’s real life story inspired the iconic cartoon character. However, it’s unclear if the two women ever got their due.
Both women were born in the south of France, and their parents came to America when they were toddlers. They studied with the NAACP and worked for Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The two were reunited in 1934, but later grew up and stopped performing in public. They eventually married and became full-time acrobats. Neither woman achieved the success that they desired, and other black child stars followed them.
After the censorship of the National Legion of Decency Production Code banned sexuality in movies, the character Betty Boop was a relic of the past. The character was revived in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which triggered a renewed interest in her history. It’s not surprising that fans of the cartoon found her story fascinating. In the process, they learned about the Black girl who gave her character such a unique voice.
The first lawsuit involving this cartoon was filed by Helen Kane, the actress of “Baby Esther”. The actress filed a lawsuit against the cartoon, alleging that it infringed upon her persona and profited from her artistic creation. This case even made it to the Supreme Court in New York. In the case, Walton admitted that she had seen Esther Jones perform before she began using the term “boop-oop-a-doop” and even provided footage of Baby Esther performing. Ultimately, the judge dismissed the suit against the cartoon and Paramount Publix Corp.
Despite the differences between Esther Jones and Betty Boop, their similarities are evident. Both were born in Chicago, Illinois, and had a long history of success. Their signature songs were “Sonny Boy” and “My Mammy.” In the early 1920s, they were living in a “colored” neighborhood of Chicago. While their parents encouraged their daughter to compete, she won the first prize at a Charleston dance competition at a young age. The show attracted the attention of Lou Bolton, a Russian-American theatrical manager.
Helen Kane was an American actress and singer. Her signature song, I Wanna Be Loved By You, was featured in the 1928 stage musical Good Boy. The song was written by Kalmar and Ruby. It has become one of the most recognizable songs of all time, and has been covered by many artists. The song is a favorite among many children, and Kane used it to inspire their love lives. In addition to her singing, Kane was a popular actress, and she had a career spanning more than eight decades.
After the film’s release, Helen Kane went on to have a life of her own. She owned a restaurant in New York City, Healy’s Grill. Eventually, she died of cancer, but her legacy lives on. In 1939, she changed her character into the playful Betty Boop. Initially, she was overdressed in housemaid clothes, and it was considered the beginning of the end for hats, dancing, and other feminine traits. Luckily, Marilyn Monroe would not have to deal with such a fate.
However, Helen Kane never patented her scatting technique. As a result, her original scat sounds were pronounced as Poop, rather than Boop. Despite the fact that her original scat vocal technique was called Poop, she went on to popularize the term “Boop.” In fact, the phrases, such as “boop-boop-a-do,” were not credited to Kane; they were invented by others.
Besides her famous cartoon, Kane had a very colorful and diverse showbiz career. She appeared in films like Sweetie (1929), Paramount on Parade (1930), Heads Up, and A Night in Spain (1927). Her career began to wane during the Great Depression, but she returned to the silver screen in 1950. Her final appearance on TV was in the musical “Wonderland” in which she sang over Debbie Reynolds. She battled breast cancer and passed away at age 62.
After the performance, Helen returned to the United States. She continued to work at various dance agencies. She also took on chorus and nightclub work to tide her over until she found a suitable engagement. This experience led to her becoming known as Betty Boop. But she was not content with this ‘boop’. It’s worth noting, Helen’s first professional acting role was with the Marx Brothers in On the Balcony.
Although Helen Kane died from breast cancer in 1966, she endured the disease for years. After two surgeries at Memorial Hospital, she received over 200 radiation treatments. Her death on September 26, 1966, in her home in Queens, NY, was accompanied by her husband of 27 years. Her life was made even more difficult by the fact that her song, “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” became a hit in 1928. Similarly, the scat-singing of Betty Boop led to a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and Boop animator Max Fleischer, which was settled in favour of the actress.
Taraji P. Henson
The 2021 BET Awards featured host Taraji P. Henson and multiple looks to celebrate legendary Black women. The evening was themed “The Year of the Black Woman,” and Henson wore a gold ensemble in tribute to Diana Ross, Dorothy Dandridge, and Tina Turner. In her opening monologue, Henson paid homage to these legendary women, and she managed to play many instruments at the same time.
Taraji P. Henson wore a black Afro-inspired hairstyle for the BET Awards 2021. She used a micro iron to define the curls and a detangling brush to add volume and thickness. She finished her look with a pair of black stilettos and large sunglasses. She also wore her signature face mask. In addition to her bold ’70s outfit, Henson paired her wig with a plum-colored LBD.
A recent PBS article claimed that the character Betty Boop was based on a Black Jazz Age performer. PBS should have withdrawn the article, but the content was widely circulated. The company should also have removed the article from their website after it was posted online. As a result of this controversy, PBS became a popular source of news and quoted the incorrect information.
In addition to the movies she’s starred in, Taraji P. Henson has also appeared in a few stage productions, including August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and the Pasadena Playhouse’s Above the Fold. Henson also has a foundation named after her father called the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. She has also appeared in other films, such as the remake of the classic film The Karate Kid.
The actress who played Betty Boop, Taraji P. Henson, also paid tribute to the real-life Betty Boop, Esther Jones, and Helen Kane. Henson was the only person who successfully sued Paramount and Fleischer Studios when Betty Boop was introduced. While the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, Betty Boop’s popularity remained and Fleischer Studios made money from the movie.
The character of Betty Boop has become somewhat of a cultural icon and the character was created by Taraji P. Henson, who played the character in her hit TV show. Her role as a black woman is so iconic that she’s arguably the most famous black actress of the 20th century. Aside from Betty Boop, Henson’s other roles included Erykah Badu and H.E.R.