Susan Bennett (birth name – Susan Cameron) is an American voice actor, keyboard player, and singer, who is best known as the original voice of Siri – a computer program that was acquired by Apple Inc. in April 2010 under the instructions of Steve Jobs.
Siri works as an intelligent personal assistant on iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
Apple has not publicly acknowledged Bennett as the voice of Siri. She once said:
”I’m just the voice of Siri. I’m not Siri. Siri is a piece of technology.”
Susan is also a trusted voice for brands including Ford, Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s.
She was born on July 31, 1949, in Clinton, New York, USA. Since she was a little girl, music was part of her life. Bennett declared:
”I’ve been playing piano since I was 4 and I took lessons for many years. I ultimately became a professional musician, a singer and keyboard player.”
She went to Clinton Central High School in Clinton, New York.
In 1971, Susan graduated from Brown University.
At age 25, she sang a jingle for First National Bank Atlanta’s first-ever ATM machine. Bennett said in a podcast:
”A very enterprising ad agency in Atlanta named McDonald & Little decided ‘We need to personalize this machine.’”
Susan went on to say:
”So they called her Tillie… and they had me sing the jingle as Tillie. That ATM became the first successful ATM in the country.”
In June 2005, the software company ScanSoft picked Susan to be the voice for a database project involving speech construction.
Bennett spent four hours a day, five days a week for the entire month of July, reading out phrases and sentences.
The recordings from her session were used to create Apple’s Siri.
Note – Siri is a virtual assistant that is part of Apple Inc.’s iOS, watchOS, macOS, iPadOS, and tvOS operating systems.
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Susan said about the recording process:
”[We had] scripts with thousands of phrases and sentences that were created to get all the sound combinations in the language.”
”The sentences didn’t make any sense. I was reading sentences like ‘cow hoist in the tub hut today.’ ‘Militia oy hallucinate buckra okra ooze.’”
These snippets were then synthesized in a process called concatenation that builds words, sentences, paragraphs.
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Susan never knew exactly how her voice would be used. In October 2011, after Apple released iPhone 4S (the first Apple device to use Siri), Bennett found out that her voice is actually Siri after a friend e-mailed her and said:
”Hey, we’ve been playing around with this new Apple phone. Isn’t this you?’”
In July 2016, she appeared on Anthony Anderson’s ABC game show ”To Tell the Truth.” During the game show, it was revealed that she was indeed the true voice of Siri.
Susan also said:
”Even after all these years, some people are surprised that a human voice is behind the app.”
Note – Apple has changed the voice for iOS7. She said:
”Most people can’t hear a difference. I promise you, it’s not me.”
Susan Bennett married Curt Bennett, a former professional ice hockey player who played for New York Rangers, Atlanta Flames, and the Blues.
In 1978 and 1979, Curt was a member of the United States national team during the Ice Hockey World Championship.
After their marriage, she moved to Atlanta, where her husband played for The Atlanta Flames. Eventually, the pair got divorced.
She later married Rick Hinkle, an audio engineer and guitarist.
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Susan has a son, named Cameron Schuyler Bennett, who works for a social media company, Fanbase.
”The fact that I was the original voice of Siri! It had a lot of repercussions on my career and it took me many months to get used to it.”
”My generation didn’t grow up with computers. I think there’s a part of us that still wants to stay a little distant from them.”
”I’m not just “Siri,” I’m fortuneteller Madame Francesca, Malicia the Evil Queen, …and many more.”
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Susan is friends with famous voice actors, including Britan’s version of Siri called Daniel, who is voiced by John Briggs as well as Australia’s Siri, Karen Jacobsen. She said about them:
”I consider them friends. I’ve had lunch with Karen and did an interview and dinner with John Briggs.”
In 2015, Bennett has appeared as herself in an episode of Adult Swim’s The Jack and Triumph Show, titled “Siri.”
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Susan Bennett – Net Worth & Salary
Bennett earned most of her wealth from voice acting. Her voice has been used in advertisements for companies such as Cartoon Network, Ford, Club Med, Coca-Cola, Hot Pockets, Fisher-Price, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Visa, Goodyear, and The Home Depot.
For her work as Siri, Susan was paid by the hour by ScanSoft, but, the amount was not released to the public. Also, Apple wasn’t legally bound to compensate Bennett for using her voice from 2011 to 2013. Therefore, Susan Bennett has an estimated net worth of $1.2 million.
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