crusader_rabbit_button crusader_rabbit_button
Cartoon Culture

Lucille Bliss (1916-2012)

Animator Dave Nimitz has informed me that Lucille Bliss passed away on Thursday night (November 8th). Bliss was a pioneering television voice actress who’s vocal career began by voicing TV’s first cartoon character, Crusader Rabbit (1949), and crowned her extensive experience as the memorable “Miss Bitters” on Nickelodeon’s popular Invader Zim.

Other notable roles Bliss voiced included step-sister “Anastasia” in Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) and playing “Smurfette” in nine seasons of Hanna Barbera’s The Smurfs.

A New York City native, she settled in San Francisco in the 1950s as the hostess of a live local children’s TV show, ABC/KRON-TV’s The Happy Birthday To You Show.

Her vocal career brought her roles in Disney features (Alice In Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians), Hanna Barbera cartoons (The Flintstones, Space Kidettes), Don Bluth’s The Secret of Nimh (1982) and Blue Sky’s Robots (2005). Bliss appeared in several Warner Bros. and MGM theatrical cartoons in the 1950s. She was Suzanne in Friz Freleng’s A Kiddie’s Kitty (1955) and voiced characters in A Waggily Tale (1958). She was Jerry’s companion “Tuffy” in the MGM cartoon Robin Hoodwinked (1958), and played the Leprechaun in MGM’s Droopy Leprechaun (1958).

Needless to say, her unique vocal stylings will be missed. Click here for an extensive interview with Bliss, conducted in 2005 by Television Academy. Below, a gallery of her most famous characters, followed by the first episode of Crusader Rabbit.

  • Wow, talk about a good variety of work. It’s amazing when someone can last that long in any business.

  • That’s a shame. Looking at the voices that she did, some are real classics! But she will probably be remembered best as Smurfette. WE have lost so many great voice actors this year.

  • What a career, and what a voice! RIP

  • James Madison

    Great talent!

    Thanks, Lucille. RIP

  • Jody Morgan

    Smurfette and Miss Bitters. Between those two characters alone, that’s more range than most voice actors (even some very good ones) take on nowadays.

    Thanks for all the memories, Lucille Bliss. RIP

  • The Cartoon Network had planned on broadcasting “Robots” (with Lucille Bliss’ performance as a “pigeon lady”) on Saturday, November 10th before Lucille Bliss’ death. It was scheduled to be broadcast again on the next day also (the Cartoon Network usually rebroadcasts Saturday features such as “Robots” on the following Sunday).

  • Gray64

    Actually, I know of at least one part she did post-Invader Zim; she was the voice of the Northern Water Tribe’s healer in Avatar: The Last Airbender’s “The Waterbending Master.” Miss Bitters was a larger part, though.

  • Glowworm

    Her voice work ranges were incredible. Who knew the same woman responsible for voicing the very sweet Smurfette also voiced the aptly named Miss Bitters from Invader Zim?

  • Sarah

    Thank you Mrs. Bliss. From Anastasia to Smurfette, you were one of the greatest. I didn’t grow up with Crusader Rabbit, but right now I’ll watch some of it to honor her memory.

  • RIP! I will miss all the awesome voices you’ve done in animation history!

  • Mike

    The biggest reason I could not get into the recent Smurfs
    movie was the different voices. Most notably Smurfette.
    Lucille’s voice was so unique! Why must life be so brief.
    Thank you Lucille Bliss, for memories that will last beyond your lifetime and for the rest of mine.

  • Big bucket of win – She will be missed :(

  • Bill Turner

    Great to see her at the guild party a couple of years ago. A friend called her a couple of months ago and helped her recall many good memories. She was a friend to ASIFA – a life member and Winsor McCay honoree. She is missed.

  • She’ll always be a Bliss-ful memory for all cartoon lovers every where. May she forever rest in peace.

    I apologize for the pun.

  • Polecat

    Does anyone know which character she played in the Secret of NIMH?

  • You forgot that she also played Samwise Gamgee in an audio production of Lord Of The Rings…

    “Yes, they actually cast Lucille Bliss, the voice of Smurfette, as Sam.” –

  • As Kevin Smith would say. Big… or HUGE bucket of win! I couldn’t agree more! What a great list of accomplishments!

  • I was grateful to be first a student and then a friend of Lucille Bliss during the 70’s and 80’s. She was so loving and kind and taught me well. We had great times together in S.F. and L.A. I will greatly miss this precious woman.

  • V.E.G.

    Rest in peace, Lucille Bliss!

  • ekuska

    In the early 90’s I met her at a gallery in Illinois. I was a student out there and had portfolio in hand. She was such a kind lady and so supportive. Much nicer than she had to be. It was her night to be featured as ‘the voice of Smurfette’ but she looked through my work and gave some great advice about perseverance and finished by giving me a big hug, smile and her card and asked me to stay in touch. I was very flattered. When I got hired for my first gig, or later hired at Disney, Id check in with her. Always so warm and positive. I remember her fondly and will always do so.

  • Kevin S.Butler

    I’ll remember her as the first performer to do”Crusader Rabbit’s”voice for the very first cartoon series created and produced for tv. (Crying)Goodbye Lucy.