Ellen McLain (born December 1, 1952) is an operatic soprano, stage actress, and voice-over artist, who is most famous in the latter field for her work with Valve, and in particular for her portrayal of GLaDOS, the Breakout Character and Fountain of Memes from the Portal series.
She is married to John Patrick Lowrie, also a voice actor who has done extensive work with Valve, and it was he who encouraged her to get into voice-over work. Her training on the stage - and, most importantly, her skill in acting and singing - made her perfectly suited to play the character of GLaDOS, a role which has brought her great praise.
In addition to continuing to work in theatrical productions, she is now a permanent member of the Valve repertory, having appeared in all of their games since Half-Life 2. Surprisingly, and despite her popularity and critical acclaim, she's done little voice acting outside of her work with Valve.
Her commentary track for Portal is a great listen, and forever endeared her to the game's fanbase. Also, a very good full-length interview can be found here. She performed her two Portal songs, "Want You Gone" and "Still Alive", live for the very first time at the Midwest Anime Convention on July 16, 2011, accompanied by Lowrie on banjo, with the two of them leading a sing-along the following day. She has also written and performed a song for GLaDOS.
She and Lowrie have been far more active in the convention circuit as of late, appearing all over the United States (and even in the UK) since the summer of 2011. McLain continues to appear in Video Games, and is gradually spreading her wings beyond Valve; it has been confirmed that she will appear in the new game by the creators of Space Quest (along with Lowrie) due to their sharing the same agent.
Roles performed by Ellen McLain:
- GLaDOS and the Turrets from Portal and Portal 2.
- GLaDOS in Defense Grid: The Awakening
- GLaDOS in LEGO Dimensions
- The Administrator/Announcer from Team Fortress 2.
- The Combine Overwatch from Half-Life 2.
- Broodmother and Death Prophet from DOTA 2.
- The Witch from Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2
- Jaeger AI from Pacific Rim.
- The Fairy Godmother from Wish It Inc.
Tropes for Ellen McLain's Career :
- Tough Act to Follow: She and everyone at Valve very much felt this way about the original Portal while they were making the sequel.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: She provided her voice as GLaDOS, free of charge, for the Gary Hudston Project.
- Word of St. Paul: Because she was made privy to the story of Portal 2 throughout its development, she's been able to confirm or deny fan theories. For example, she's the one who officially revealed that Caroline is the woman in the picture with Cave Johnson.