Tinker Bell is the iconic tritagonist of Disney's Peter Pan franchise. She is a fairy who was created by Sir James M. Barrie for the play, Peter Pan. She is Peter Pan's assistant who helps him fly.
In her most widely known appearance in the 1953 animated Peter Pan film, the character was animated and had no dialogue. Tinker Bell has been one of Disney's most important branding icons for over half a century, and is generally known as "a symbol of 'the magic of Disney'." She has been featured in television commercials and program opening credits sprinkling pixie dust with a wand in order to shower a magical feeling over various other Disney personalities, though the 1953 animated version of Tinker Bell never actually used a wand. In the picture and the official Disney Character Archives, she is referred to as a pixie. She is also featured in the opening of all Disney films flying over the Magic Castle (in a counter-clockwise direction, right to left).
There is an urban legend that the original animated version of Tinker Bell was modelled after Marilyn Monroe. However, Disney animator Marc Davis's reference was actress Margaret Kerry. He illustrated Tinker Bell as a young, attractive, blonde haired, big blue eyed, white female, with an exaggerated hour-glass figure. She is clad in a short lime-green dress with a rigid trim, and green slippers with white puffs. She is trailed by small amounts of pixie dust when she moves, and this dust can help humans fly if they believe in happy thoughts. Some critics have complained that Disney's version of Tinker Bell is too sexually suggestive.
Since 1954, Tinker Bell has featured as a hostess for much of Disney's live-action television programming and in every Disney movie advertisements flying over Disneyland with her magic wand and her fairy dust, beginning with Disneyland (which first introduced the theme park to the public while it was still under construction), to Walt Disney Presents, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and The Wonderful World of Disney. In 1988, the same year The Wonderful World of Disney moved from ABC to NBC as The Magical World of Disney. That year, she also appeared in the final shot of the ending scene of Disney's Who Framed Roger Rabbit, along with Porky Pig; sprinkling fairy dust on the screen after Porky's trademark farewell as it goes black prior to the closing credits. She also starred alongside other Disney characters, such as Chip 'n Dale, in many Disney comics, where she was also able to speak. Tinker Bell also appears as a summon in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games.
At Disneyland, Tinker Bell is prominently featured in Peter Pan's Flight, a suspended dark ride based on the artwork from the animated film. Beginning in 1961, she was also featured as a live performer who flew through the sky at the climax of some of the nightly fireworks displays. She was originally played by 71-year-old former circus performer Tiny Kline, up until her retirement three years later.
On the 2008 Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade special on ABC, Disney announced that a Tinker Bell float would be added to the classic Disney's Electrical Parade at Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort, the first new float to be added since even long before the parade ended its original run at Disneyland in 1996.
Tinker Bell was part of the Disney Princess franchise, from which she was later extracted and converted into the central character of the new Disney Fairies franchise in 2005. In addition to an extensive line of merchandise, 2008's Tinker Bell film is the first of five direct-to-DVD features set in Pixie Hollow. Tinker Bell is voiced by Mae Whitman in these digitally animated DVD features. In addition, Disney announced in 2010 that Tinker Bell will have her own live-action comedy movie and actress Elizabeth Banks is cast as Tinker Bell. The movie will explore Tinker Bell's nature, and Elizabeth Wright Shapiro and McG are the screenwriters in this movie.
At Disneyland, a Pixie Hollow meet-and-greet area opened on October 28, 2008, near the Matterhorn, where guests are able to interact with Tinker Bell and her companions. A similar area called "Tinker Bell's Magical Nook" is in Adventureland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida.
In November 2009, Tinker Bell became the smallest waxwork ever to be made at Madame Tussauds, measuring only five and a half inches.
On September 21, 2010, Tinker Bell was presented with the 2,418th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the thirteenth fictional character and the sixth Disney character to receive this honor. Tinker Bell's star celebrated Hollywood Walk of Fame's 50th anniversary.
In the film Secret of the Wings, Tinker Bell was revealed to not be an only child and had a little sister, a twin, by the name of Periwinkle.