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- "I Googled 'Portal in-game,' and I went to the trailer. And I just loved it! I loved hearing my voice! And as I told the production team, I have never played a computer game in my life. But I want to play this one!"
- ―Ellen McLain[src]
Ellen McLain is the voice actress for the Overwatch Voice in Half-Life 2 and its episodes, GLaDOS, the Sentry Turrets, the female Personality Cores, the Relaxation Vault toilet and Caroline in Portal, Portal 2 and Lego Dimensions and the Announcer in Team Fortress 2, making her the only voice actor to appear in every game of the The Orange Box. She also provided the narration of the trailer for The Orange Box, as GLaDOS.
McLain is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She was educated at The North Carolina School of the Arts and The New England Conservatory in Boston where she received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees with Honors in Music. She lives in Seattle with her husband, composer and actor John Patrick Lowrie, who also performs voice acting for Valve. Her vocal range is from Low E to High E.
McLain is above all an opera singer and she has had many stage parts and worked with some of the world's greatest conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, and Gunther Schuller.
On the concert stage she has appeared with the New York Choral Society, the Antonia Brico Symphony in Denver, the Nashville Symphony, Boston's Handel & Haydn Society, Cecelia Society, and Musica Viva, performing works ranging from Purcell's King Arthur to Mahler's Symphony N° 4, Kurt Weill's Frauentanz, and Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. In Seattle, she has sung with the Northwest Boychoir, premiering Rick Vale's Mass, with Orchestra Seattle in Handel's oratorios Samson and L'Allegro ed il Penseroso, and with the Northwest Sinfonietta in Mozart's Requiem.
McLain's opera credits include Hansel and Gretel with Sarah Caldwell's Opera New England, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore with New Orleans Opera, Norina in Don Pasquale with Chattanooga Opera, and she has created the roles of The Social Worker in Anthony Davis' opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia, and Sophia in Stan Hoffman's opera Twilight Voices at Chaspen Opera. With Seattle Opera she has sung principal roles in The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Merry Widow, The Cunning Little Vixen, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, Lakme and Mimi in The Bohemians, a modern adaptation of La Bohème. Her association with Tacoma Opera includes principal roles in Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Romeo and Juliet, Dido and Aeneas, and most recently Musetta in La Bohème and Despina in Così fan tutte.
Equally at home in theater and musical comedy, McLain has played Magnolia in Show Boat to sold-out houses in Europe, performed on Broadway in My Fair Lady with Sir Rex Harrison and with Peggy Lee in her show, Peg. She has toured nationally in Camelot with Richard Harris, and with Juliet Prowse in Mame. Northwest audiences may recall her as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, or as the tap dancing, sax playing Madame Pavlenko in A Day in Hollywood at the Fifth Avenue Theater. In 2001 she toured nationally as Edith in The Diary of Anne Frank and performed the role of Hannah Mae in A Coupla White Chicks..., and later portrayed Linda Loman on Montana Rep's national tour of Death of a Salesman. An award winner from the National Institute for Music Theater in Washington, D.C., she has also performed at The White House.