Ellen McLain
Ellen McLain
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
December 1st, 1952
Voice Actress
First Work(s)
Half Life 2
Active Years
2004 - Present
Notable Work(s)
Portal, Half Life 2 and other Valve's games

Ellen McLain  is an American opera singer and voice actress from Nashville, Tennessee. She is best known for providing the voice of GLaDOS in the video game series Portal. She provides the voice of the Jaeger A.I. in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim.


McLain provides voices for many characters in several video games from Valve. Among them are GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence antagonist in Portal (for which she won an AIAS Interactive Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance) and Portal 2, the announcer in Team Fortress 2, and the voice of the Combine Overwatch for the 'Half-Life 2 series.[1]

McLain sang "Still Alive" and "Want You Gone", the ending credits songs to Portal and Portal 2, respectively, both of which were written by Jonathan Coulton.[2] She also sang the soprano song featured at the end of Portal 2, named "Cara Mia", and officially called "Cara Mia Addio". It is sometimes called the "Turret Opera."[3]

In December 2011, she won the Spike Video Game Award in the category "Best Performance by a Human Female" for her voice acting as GLaDOS in Portal 2. From August 3–4, 2013, Ellen was also a special guest at GaymerX in San Francisco, a dedicated gaming convention for LGBTQ issues funded by Kickstarter, as well as lending her public support to the event.

Role in Pacific Rim

McLain was cast by Guillermo del Toro because he was a fan of Valve's Portal series.[4] In an interview with the Toronto Sun, he stated he wanted her in the film "just as a wink. She's not cake-obsessed. She's not out to destroy humanity."[4]

McLain's voice was similarly modified and likened to GLaDOS' voice in the initial teaser trailers[5][6] and the theatrical trailers that followed after del Toro received permission to do so by Valve. However, he later stated that the modification to her voice would be different. "The filter we're using is slightly less GLaDOS. Slightly. The one in the trailer I wanted to be full-on GLaDOS".[4]


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