Ten Things You May Not Know About Lumière
1. Lumière (and all of his servant counterparts) were created specifically for the 1991 Disney animated classic. None of the characters appeared in the original fairy tale, written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in 1740. In earlier versions of the story, the servants in the Beast’s castle were simply invisible!
2 Lumière was voiced by Jerry Orbach, once described as ““one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on television.” In addition to his work on Broadway, he was well known for his portrayal of Detective Lennie Briscoe on the long-running TV series Law & Order (a role which he played until his passing in 2004). Unlike many other voice actors, Orbach provided both the speaking and singing voices for Lumière. He would reprise his role numerous times, including Disney’s House of Mouse , the film’s direct-to-video sequels, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic in the Magic Kingdom.
3. “Lumière” is French for light…fitting for a candelabra!
4. Curiously, Lumière wasn’t always going to be the character’s name. Producer Don Hahn and lyricist Howard Ashman created many of the film’s characters while in a hotel in Fishkill, New York. Lumière was originally named Chandal, in keeping with his persona as a chandelier, but they soon changed it to Lumière because it was easier to say. (Similarly, Mrs. Potts was originally named Mrs. Chamomile, but the name proved to be too difficult to pronounce so they changed it to Mrs. Potts.) Lumière was also named after the Lumière brothers, who were pioneers in early film and photography.
5. Lumière was animated by Nik Ranieri, who also created Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Wilbur from The Rescuers Down Under, and Hades in Hercules (for which he won the 1997 Annie Award for “Individual Achievement in Character Animation”). Ranieri would also go on to contribute his masterful hand-drawn animation style to 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.
6. In the ABC series Once Upon a Time, Lumière can be seen as an inanimate candelabra on a table (alongside a clock resembling Cogsworth) in the first season episode “Skin Deep.” He made a more prominent appearance in the third season episode “Quiet Minds,” in which he appears as a face in the flames of a candelabra, having been trapped there by Rumplestiltskin.
7. OK, go with me here folks! The “face in the flames” plot device was also notably used in the Harry Potter film series (it being the only way that Sirius Black, who was in hiding, could communicate with Harry Potter at Hogwarts). The live-action film starred Harry Potter’s very own Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) in the role of Beauty.
8. Sharp-eyed viewers can also spot an homage to the loveable candelabra in Enchanted . Keep an eye out for the woman dressed up as a candelabra in one the of the liveaction scenes!
9. In addition to his larger-than-life role in Mickey’s PhilharMagic, you’ll also find Lumière in the Magic Kingdom’s Enchanted Tales With Belle, where he is brought to life through one of the most advanced Audio-Animatronic figures ever created.
10. In the animated film, the human Lumière served as the castle’s maître’d, and curiously was one of the few residents of the castle to speak with a French accent.