Mae Questel, a rubber-voiced veteran of stage, screen and vaudeville who played Woody Allen's mother in the film "New York Stories" and was the cartoon voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, has died. She was 89.
Ms. Questel, who died last Sunday in her Manhattan home, 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." Ms. Questel was signed by an agent that night and soon was performing on the vaudeville circuit.
When animator Max Fleischer heard Ms. Questel doing her boop-oop-a-doop routine in 1931, he signed her to take over the cartoon voice of Betty Boop in more than 150 animated shorts, until Fleischer retired the character in 1939.
Her recording of "On the Good Ship Lollipop," in Betty Boop's voice, sold more than 2 million copies in the 1930s.
In 1933, she created the voices of Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea for the "Popeye" cartoons and played Popeye's scrawny paramour in more than 450 cartoons until they went out of production in 1967.