The Story of Kansas

Kansan gave voice to Olive Oyl, others

This is one in a series of vignettes celebrating Kansas history. The series’ name comes from the state motto, Ad astra per aspera: “To the stars through difficulties.”


Marilyn Schreffler’s name may not be recognized by most Kansans, but her voice is certainly familiar.

Think Saturday morning cartoons.

Remember Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl?

That’s Schreffler.

Schreffler was born in Wichita on June 14, 1945. She graduated from Topeka West High School in the early 1960s. She briefly attended Washburn University before moving on to Chicago and Cleveland, where she worked in several comedy groups, according to Dave Webb in his book “399 Kansas Characters.”

Schreffler died from liver cancer in Los Angeles in 1988. She was 42.

Although she has been dead more than two decades, her voice is still heard throughout the world.

Much of her work was done off camera because she was a behind-the-scenes actress.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Schreffler had moved to Los Angeles and began her career doing voice-overs for Hanna-Barbera’s animated TV programs.

She was Brenda and Daisy Mayhem in “Scooby-Doo,” Wendy in “Yogi’s Space Race” and Betty and Miss Twilly in “Fred and Barney.”

She also was a voice in Alka-Seltzer and Dole pineapple commercials and had voice parts in the 1987 thriller movies “Fatal Attraction” and “Jaws: The Revenge.”

She was best known as the voice of Olive Oyl in “The All-New Popeye Hour” from 1978 to 1983.