Throughout the vast ocean you will not find a fish more hospitable, more friendly, and more sociable than Dory. She would love to chat with you all day and tell you her life story... but she can't. Dory suffers from short term memory loss. Dory is the aquatic Good Samaritan who offers to help Marlin on his journey to find his son. She is certainly an odd partner for such a quest, but her optimism proves an invaluable quality to help overcome the impossible. To Dory, the glass is always half-full.
Dory is a very optimistic, kind, ditzy but forgetful fish. This is due to the fact that she suffers from short term memory loss, which is implied to have frustrated her friends and family to the point that they left her. She has a heart of gold though, and willing to go full lengths to help Marlin find his son (even though she can never remember his name).
After hearing about Marlin and how his son was captured by divers, she was willing to accompany and help him. She was always supportive and helpful to him throughout the journey, though her short term memory loss and playful personality could sometimes cause Marlin to lose his patience with her. She can be very talkative and loved to play games throughout her and Marlin's journey, taking detours and getting easily distracted. She can also be naiive and oblivious, as shown when she did not realize the danger of going to a Sharks only club and when an Marlin was fighting with an Anglerfish and seemed oblivious to Marlin's struggle (insisting he help move the light closer to her so she could read the address on the diver's goggles).
She is also very friendly and makes quickly makes friends with her warm hearted and fun personality. Her kindness was shown as she continued to accompany Marlin on his journey despite his lack of patience with her and his sometimes harsh comments. She developed such a close relationship with Marlin that her short term memory loss seemed to have improved, as she herself states "Please don't leave me. No one has ever stayed with me this long and when I look at you, I remember stuff better." The two remain close friends by the end of the film.
Despite her ditzy personality, Dory has shown to be somewhat intelligent, as she was capable of reading "human" (English and possibly other languages) and even communicate with whales. She also helped Marlin realize that he needed to give Nemo more freedom to grow up and become his own person and experience life. Dory also possesses something of a ruthless side, while trying to get information from a crab she threatens to feed him to seagulls if he didn't tell her and Nemo what they wanted to know.
Dory helps Marlin on his journey to rescue Nemo while heading to Sydney. She suffers from short-term memory-loss. The friendly female can read and is very happy to have a companion. Marlin takes advantage of her short attention span, but he later regrets it when it physically hurts her. Dory never remembers Nemo's name. However, she does seem to care about the little fish.
Additionally, Dory comforts everybody she sees. The words "There, there. It's all right. It'll be okay" are used by Dory twice in the movie. Once when she first met Marlin, because she thought his head was hurting and again in the whale when Marlin was worried about Nemo. That being said, nearly at the end of the movie, after Nigel puts Marlin and Dory back in the ocean, a depressed Marlin barely kept his distance from Dory when she swam to him. After Dory tried so hard to comfort him, Marlin suggested that if Dory never took care of him along the way, he never would have even made it to Sydney.
Despite her sunny outlook and demeanor, there is some tragedy to Dory. Because of her short term memory loss, there's no telling how many life experiences have eluded her, or how many loved ones she lost that she couldn't remember. When she starts travelling with Marlin, her memory starts improving, as indicated when she can repeat the address 'P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney'. When Marlin thinks that Nemo is dead, and starts to go home, Dory doesn't want him to leave, because she is afraid that if she can no longer see him, then she'll forget everything and with Marlin, she can remember things. This fear is founded, as when the hopeless Marlin leaves her, not a few minutes afterwards her entire adventure has been temporarily wiped clean from her mind.
After Marlin leaves, Dory meets Nemo who had escaped alive and at first she doesn't remember him but when she hears the word Sydney again all her memory comes back and she takes Nemo to his father. After finding help from some crabs although only by blackmail of feeding them to seagulls, Dory and Nemo find Marlin, resulting in a happy reunion between Nemo and Marlin that is cut short when Dory gets trapped with a school of fish in a fisherman's net. Nemo rushes to help a distressed Dory, they tell the other fish to swim down together, and they all manage to escape the net.
Dory will be the main character in this upcoming movie in 2016. Her backgrounds will be explained in this new film and she will go on an adventure to reunite with her long lost family.
Dory appears in the submarine ride in Disneyland. In the ride, riders enter the world of Finding Nemo and experience Dory and friends in their own home.
Dory occasionally cameos in the interactive show, mainly to give Guests a special treat.
- One of Dory's lines in the film, "What'cha doin'?", is made famous later by the character Isabella Garcia-Shapiro in the 2007 Disney Channel Original Series, Phineas and Ferb.
- According to director Andrew Stanton on the audio commentary for the Finding Nemo DVD, in the original story Dory was going to be a male character, but when Stanton went home to write the script his wife was watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and when he heard DeGeneres' voice he decided to change Dory to a female and cast her in the role, to which she accepted.
- Dory has made cameos in several of Boom! Studios' Disney comics including The Incredibles, where she appears in an underwater scene, and Darkwing Duck (on the last page of issue 7), where she and other Disney sea creatures react in fear to the return of the villainous Paddywhack.
- On the Disney website, they mistakenly refer to Dory as a Yellowtail Tang. Although she does have a yellow tail, this is a different species of fish.
- The nicknames Dory gave to Nemo (in order of appearance) are Chico, Fabio, Bingo, Harpo and Elmo. The first four are a reference to the Marx Brothers (excluding Groucho), while the fifth is a reference to the red Muppet monster from the children's puppet show Sesame Street.
- Many people think that goldfish have poor short term memories. Even though she's not a goldfish, this point might be linked to her amnesia-like condition.
- In Finding Nemo: The Musical, Dory wears mismatched socks.