A native of Los Angeles, Mary Kay had been a working actress for fourteen years, specializing in voice-overs for the past twelve.
Through her talent for Vocal Matches, Mary Kay performed the classic voice of Snow White (since 1989) for countless toys, children's books on tape, ice shows, attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, etc. Other classic Disney Characters include both Anita and Perdita (plus dog and puppy sounds) from 101 Dalmatians, and Drizella, the evil stepsister from Cinderella. Also for Disney, Mary Kay voiced Bimbettes 2 & 3 in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, as well Ariel's sister Arista in The Little Mermaid animated series. In other Disney features, she's the voices of Quasimodo's Mother, several townswomen, and some of the goat bleats for Djali in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And recently, the "Earthquake Lady," 4 of Hercules' teenaged fans, and 3 giggling nymphs in Hercules. In Mulan, she's two of the Ancestors (the last one to speak and the one with the "cross-dressing" line).
She is also the voices of Jay Jay, Herky, Savannah and Revvin' Evan in Jay Jay the Jet Plane for the Learning Channel, Mitzy and many others in Fox Kids' The Secret Files of the Spydogs, and almost every female character in the wildly popular Comedy Central series South Park (she's credited as Shannen Cassidy for the first season and part of the second season episodes). "It was a creative decision (to use a pseudonym). I wanted to "reinvent" myself. The anonymity was so freeing for me. None of us, Matt and Trey included, thought South Park would be the monster success its turned out to be. Now that Shannen's starting to get fan mail, we figured it's time to let everyone in on the facts."
Mary Kay spent six seasons as the sexy but evil Dr. Blight in The New Adventures of Captain Planet and the Planeteers for Hanna-Barbera (replacing Meg Ryan). She was the official voice of Daphne in a new video Scooby Doo on Zombie Island and for Cartoon Network promos. She has also been heard on I Am Weasel, Rugrats, Twisted Tales of Felix The Cat, The Fantastic Four, The Tick, Spiderman, Sing Me A Story With Belle, Extreme Ghostbusters, The Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, Adventures from the Book of Virtues, and Zorro. Her barks and whines were chosen by Steven Spielberg, himself, for the role of Katie on his cartoon series, Family Dog. On home video she is featured as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon in Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero.
Mary Kay's versatility has been featured in over 400 commercials, including National spots and major campaigns for Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup (The official voice of Mrs. Butterworth, herself!) C & H Sugar, Kellogg's Froot Loops, American Express, Honda, etc.
Multi-media, CD-Rom & computer games have included: Gabriel Knight (with Mark Hamill, Tim Curry and Michael Dom), Stunt Island, 101 Dalmatians Animated Storybook, The Hunchback of Notre Dame Animated Storybook, Escape From DeVil Manor, Hercules Animated Storybook, Ready to Read with Pooh, Ready for Math with Pooh, Little Mermaid Animated Storybook, Disney's Math Quest with Aladdin, Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! and Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! (playing no less than 25 different characters!), Someone's In The Kitchen, Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant, (Dreamworks Interactive), Curse of Monkey Island (Lucas Arts) and The X Fools, a parody of the popular X-Files t.v. show, matching Gillian Anderson and Helen Hunt's voices. Mary Kay also taught her Vocal Match* method in her popular animation class at Kalmenson & Kalmenson. Sometimes, those who can do, teach!
Mary Kay had always dreamed of a career in show business; both her parents were singers and musicians (her father did impressions-probably where she got that talent from), figuring she'd have a film career. Mary Kay attended Van Ness Avenue Elementary School, Le Conte Jr. High and Hollywood High, graduating with top academic honors; immediately after high school, she was accepted to UCLA and became a theater arts major there for three years, but after getting cast in an Equity-waiver play outside of school, she decided to leave school, got an agent for on-camera commercials and film and t.v. and studied privately with acting coach Harry Mastrogeorge for several years. There were exciting nibbles (including a call-back for the cast of Saturday Night Live), but nothing happened.
For a short time, she left show business and got a "real job-" which she hated! She attended a housewarming party at one of her co-workers' houses, someone brought a karaoke machine and Mary Kay started "going wild," doing Ethel Merman and singing, just having a good time. One of the guests at this party was studying with a voice over coach (Kat Lehman) and came up to her after the party was over, saying he wasn't trying to "pick her up," he honestly felt she had talent and suggested taking a class with his teacher. She did; ending up taking ever class offered by Ms. Lehman, loving every minute of it; finally feeling she found where she belonged. (Years later, she was able to give this young man his first voice over job! Talk about karma).
Mary Kay continued taking voice over workshops for the next two years, studying with most of the top teachers, including Lou Hunt (commercials/Lou helped prepare and edit Mary Kay's first demo tape), Joannie Gerber (commercials), Sue Blu and Andrea Romano (animation voice over), Kathy Levin (commercials), Dick Orkin (commercials), Mickie McGowan (looping/ADR) and Cathy Segal-Garcia (singing).
Eventually Mary Kay had come full-circle; in teaching others, she learned new lessons herself. "Teaching really keeps me sharp. You have to be very clear on your own technique in order to get the point across to a student. In fact, sometimes I feel I'm learning more than they are."