Heather North, the actress behind the voice of the character “Danger-Prone” Daphne on the long-running TV and movie cartoon Scooby-Doo, has died at age 71. North passed away at her home in Studio City after a long illness, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Heather North was the second voice actress to voice the character Daphne Blake in the Scooby-Doo franchise, but it was a role she continued with on and off for 33 years. Heather took over as the purple dress-wearing Daphne in the second season of the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in September 1970 after original star Stefanianna Christopherson moved to New York. Heather also voiced the danger-prone character for The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972 and she continued in the role in the many spin-offs of the cartoon through 2003, including The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo in 1979, and, in what would be her final role, the straight-to-video release Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico in 2003.
In an interview, which you can see below, Heather North revealed that she auditioned for the role of Daphne after her roommate, Nicole Jaffe David, convinced her that she would be perfect for the part. Nicole voiced the role of Daphne’s pal Velma Dinkley on the Scooby-Doo cartoon series. You can see Heather North talking about her role as Daphne on the Scooby-Doo series at the 3:50 mark in the video below.
While Heather’s voice made her famous, her face also popped up sporadically on TV. In the early 1970s, North appeared on Days of Our Lives, a soap opera her Emmy-winning husband, Wes Kenney, produced for years. North also starred as Kurt Russell’s love interest in the 1971 Disney movie The Barefoot Executive, and she appeared on several TV sitcoms like Gidget and The Monkees.
The news of Heather North’s death comes just a few weeks after it was revealed that a live-action spin-off following Daphne and Velma is in the works. According to Variety, the movie spin-off, Daphne and Velma, will star Sarah Jeffery (The Descendants) as Daphne and Sarah Gilman (I Didn’t Do It) as Velma. The Scooby-Doo “prequel” will follow the female sleuths before they meet Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery Incorporated gang.