Aunt Sarah is the primary antagonist (though she isn't purposefully a villain) in Disney's 1955 animated feature Lady and the Tramp and a minor antagonist in its 2001 sequel. She was voiced by Verna Felton and later by Tress MacNeille in the sequel.
In earlier drafts of the first film, Aunt Sarah was written as an overbearing, meddling mother-in-law and showed antagonistic feelings towards Jim Dear. She came to the house to see her new nephew while Jim Dear and Darling were still at home and continously pushed for them to muzzle/kick out Lady as she was constantly found guilty of mistchief commited by Si and Am. Near the end, when Lady was found to be innocent of attacking the baby, Aunt Sarah angrily left after Jim Dear accused her cats of being cowards and was not shown to have redemption in the end.
Having such a deep appreciation for cats, Aunt Sarah dislikes dogs a lot and is very antagonistic towards them, being quick to blame them for any incidents that occur.
In the film, Sarah is put in charge of Lady and the newborn child while Jim Dear and Darling go on vacation. She takes an immediate dislike to Lady and shuts her out of the nursery when she tries to see the baby. While she is upstairs, her two cats, Si and Am, cause trouble downstairs and wreck the house, claiming it as their own. Although the cats caused all the trouble, Lady gains all the blame when they pretend she attacked them and ends up muzzled by Aunt Sarah. Luckily, Lady is able to wriggle out of Aunt Sarah's arms and run off.
After Lady is taken to the pound, she is picked up by Aunt Sarah, but she ties Lady to her doghouse as punishment for running away. Lady suddenly spots a rat climbing through a hole in the fence. While she barks at the rat, Aunt Sarah tells her to shush. Tramp hears Lady's barks and she tells him that there's a rat in the house. Tramp follows the rat to the baby's room and kills the rodent before he can harm the baby. The loud commotion alerts Aunt Sarah who notices Lady and Tramp. Believing they want to harm the baby, she locks Lady in the basement and forces Tramp into the closet. She then calls the pound and has Tramp taken away by the dogcatcher.
When Jim Dear and Darling return, Aunt Sarah reveals that a stray dog, Tramp, had been in the baby's room, and that she had him taken to the pound. After hearing Lady barking, they release her from the basement, where Aunt Sarah had locked her up. Jim Dear realizes that Lady is attempting to tell them something, and so he and Darling follow Lady to the baby's room. There, Jim Dear and Darling are able to find a dead rat. They realize that Tramp had been trying to protect the baby from the rat.
Aunt Sarah is not seen again afterwards, but is mentioned in the ending as having sent Lady and Tramp some dog biscuits as an apology.
Aunt Sarah returns in the 2001 sequel. She is first seen in opening of the film while Jim Dear and Darling are taking a stroll in town, where they meet up with Aunt Sarah. She claims she will be attending their family picnic, as Si and Am love Indepencence Day. She is later seen at the Independence Day picnic. Scamp disrupts the family's picnic by scaring Si and Am (who were hiding in the picnic basket, about to steal the chicken) into Aunt Sarah's arms. Scamp then steals the family's chicken, determined to prove to Buster that he is a Junkyard Dog. She then watches in horror as the other Junkyard Dogs ruin the Fourth of July picnic.
- Verna Felton, who voices Aunt Sarah in the first movie, is the mother of actor Lee Millar, who provided the voice of Jim Dear in the first movie.
- Aunt Sarah was usually never cited as a villain, being that she misunderstands things, such as not knowing her beloved Si and Am caused the trouble.
- Aunt Sarah was animated by Frank Thomas who did Mr. Toad, the main protagonist of The Wind in the Willows.
- Aunt Sarah is one of the Disney Villains to have redemption at the end.
- Aunt Sarah's overbearing behavior caused her to appear as the main antagonist, but she was not a true villain.
- It is unknown if Aunt Sarah is intolerant of dogs, but her pompous behavior usually gets the better of her.
- Aunt Sarah might not be an evil character, since she was just overbearing and got misunderstood, and was a little unaware of the trouble.
- Aunt Sarah shares some similarities with Sir Ector from the The Sword in the Stone and Amos Slade from The Fox and the Hound. All three are antagonistic to the protagonist (Aunt Sarah to Lady; Sir Ector to Arthur; and Amos Slade to Tod). However, they reform in the end of the film.
- Her name comes from a place called Aunt Sarah's Pancake House.
|Lady and the Tramp|
Characters: Lady | Tramp | Jock | Trusty | Aunt Sarah | Si and Am | Jim Dear | Darling | Jim Jr. | Tony | Joe | Policeman | Dogcatcher | Stray Dogs | Al the Alligator | Hyena | Mr. Busy | The Rat | Peg | Bull | Toughy | Boris | Pedro | Dachsie | Scamp | Angel | Annette, Danielle and Collette | Buster | Reggie | Francois | Sparky | Mooch | Ruby | Scratchy
Songs: Bella Notte | Jock's Song | What is a Baby? | La La Lu | The Siamese Cat Song | He's a Tramp | Welcome Home | World Without Fences | Junkyard Society Rag | I Didn't Know That I Could Feel This Way | Always There