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Reviewed by Diana Lopez for Readers' Favorite
The Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story is a compilation of information and anecdotes about Betty and the history of radio. She was a pioneer in the entertainment industry and had an extensive career. One of the roles for which she is best known is the villain's voice for Cruella de Vil in 1961's 101 Dalmatians. Dr. Lona Bailey begins by showing us the historical context as the story takes place in the United States during the industrial revolution. Betty's family had the resources to give her a good education. From a young age, Betty demonstrated a rebellious attitude and great emotion for the world of acting and we follow her as she works her way toward the independence she wants to achieve in theater, radio, film, and television.
I liked how Dr. Lona Bailey describes the details of the era. The story also explains how society was changing along with the media. The narration describes the origins of radio soap operas and how, gradually, cinema and television emerged. Betty was part of this process, and throughout she showed herself to be a multifaceted actress who could act in both comedy and drama. I found her to be a creative woman with a feminine and positive attitude. She knew how to take advantage of opportunities and this is why she could always keep herself updated throughout her career. One of my favorite parts is where she describes the process of creating Cruella's character, changing the stereotype of villainesses away from just witches in fairy tales. The Voice of Villainy: The Betty Lou Gerson Story is a source of inspiration, which shows us that dreams can be achieved.