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Voice of Betty Boop Dies

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Mae Questel, who provided the loopy childlike voice of cartoon characters Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, has died at 89.

Questel who died Sunday at her home in New York was a veteran of stage, screen and vaudeville, She played Woody Allen's intrusive, omnipresent mother in "New York Stories."  

Born in the Bronx, Questel was discovered at 17 when she was signed to perform on the vaudeville circuit.  She did imitations of popular performers such as Mauriece Chevailer, Marlene Dietrich and Rudy Vallee.

When animator Max Fleischer heard one of Questel's performances, he signed her to take over the sqeaky voice of Betty Boop.

The sound was actually modeled on the voice of another actress Helen Kane, who created a sensation on Broadway in 1928 with a "boop-boop-a-doop" rendition of the hit song "I Wanna Be Loved By You."

The Betty Boop character was retired in 1939.  

In 1933 Questel, created the voices of Olive Oyl and Swee'Pea for the "Popeye" cartoons.

She is survived by a son and three grandaughters.

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