Olive Oyl, carried by Popeye.


Olive Oyl


Elzie Crisler Segar

First appearance (cartoon)

Popeye the Sailor 1933

First appearance (comic)


film Actor

Shelly Duvall

Voice Artists

Bonnie Po (Debut)
Mae Questel (1933-1938,1944-1962)
Marge Hines (1938-1944)
Marilyn Schreffler (1978-1988)
Tabitha St. Germain (Present)

Olive Oyl is a fictional character created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1919 for his comic strip Thimble Theatre.Best known as Popeye's girlfriend


In the Thimble Theatre strip, as written by Segar, Olive was something of a coy flapper whose extremely thin build lent itself well to the fashions of the time. Her long black hair was usually rolled in a neat bun, like her mother's. She was the more-or-less fiancée of Harold Hamgravy, a "lounge lizard" or slacker type who did as little work as possible and was always borrowing money. His attraction to other women—particularly if they were rich—naturally incensed Olive, and she once succumbed to a fit of "lunaphobia" (a kind of angry madness) over one of his amours. (When she recovered, she continued to pretend to have the disorder to win him back.) She was not immune to flattery from other men, but remained committed to Ham until Popeye's appearance. The two did not fall in love at once (her first words to him were "Aw, shut up, you bilge rat!"), but instead fought bitterly (and hilariously) for weeks, before realizing they cared for one another.

The version of Olive Oyl most widely familiar is the version from the theatrical animated cartoons, first created by Fleischer Studios, and then produced by Famous Studios.
Unlike most modern damsels in distress, Olive Oyl is tall and skinny, with tightly wound hair and enormous feet. In the films and later television cartoons, Olive Oyl is Popeye's girlfriend, although she could be extremely fickle, depending on who could woo her the best or had the flashier possessions, and was prone to get angry over the tiniest things. She constantly gets kidnapped by Bluto, or during later incarnations Brutus, who is Popeye's archrival for her affections, but Popeye always rescues her, winning her affection in the end.

In the cartoons, she helps take care of a baby named Swee'Pea; it is not made clear if Swee'Pea is Olive Oyl's own son or an adopted foundling. In the comics, Swee'Pea is a foundling under Popeye's care. Later sources (mostly in the cartoon series) say that Swee'Pea is Olive Oyl's cousin or nephew that she has to take care of from time to time.


Olive Oyl is named after olive oil, used commonly in cooking. Segar's newspaper strips also featured a number of her relatives named after other oils, including her brother, Castor Oyl, their mother, Nana Oyl and their father Cole Oyl.


The first two Popeye cartoons, Popeye The Sailor and I Yam What I Yam, featured Bonnie Poe as the voice of Olive Oyl. She was thereafter voiced by character actress Mae Questel (who also voiced Betty Boop and other characters). Questel styled Olive's voice after that of actress ZaSu Pitts. In 1938, Margie Hines took over as the voice of Olive Oyl, starting with the cartoon Bulldozing The Bull. Questel returned as her voice in 1944, starting with the cartoon The Anvil Chorus Girl; she would remain so until after the King Features Syndicate made-for-TV Popeye shorts in 1960.

Marilyn Schreffler replaced Mae Questel as Olive when Hanna-Barbera obtained the rights to produce new made-for-TV Popeye cartoons for The All-New Popeye Hour in 1978.

In the 1980 film version, Olive is portrayed by Shelley Duvall.

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