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This Article Contains Spoilers - WARNING: This article contains major spoilers. If you do not wish to know vital information on plot / character elements in a story, you may not wish to read beyond this warning: We hold no responsibility for any negative effects these facts may have on your enjoyment of said media should you continue. That is all.

You certainly have the talent, but whether or not you have the killer instinct is the big question...
~ Baroness von Hellman's most famous quote when talking to Estella/Cruella.
Cruella De Vil: You killed my mother!
Baroness von Hellman: You're going to have to be more specific...
~ The Baroness revealing how evil she truly is after Cruella explains her motivation for trying to ruin her.
Idiot...
~ The Baroness taunting Cruella before supposedly killing her, in turn accidentally causing her own downfall.

Baroness von Hellman is the main antagonist of the 2021 black comedy crime film Cruella.

She is an esteemed fashion designer operating in London and the founder of the House of Baroness who is fiercely protective of her position and reputation. She is also the biological mother and arch-nemesis of Cruella De Vil.

She was portrayed by Emma Thompson, who also played Lesa in Hoodwinked!, Karen Eiffel in Stranger Than Fiction, The Woman in Lutins, Sarafine Duchannes in Beautiful Creatures and The Yeti Elder in Missing Link.

History

In the past, Baroness Von Hellman married Baron Von Hellman and eventually carried his daughter. While the Baron was a benevolent man and a caring father to his unborn child, The Baroness did not take her pregnancy with joy, and instead she wanted to get rid of the baby.

After Estella was born, the Baroness was unable to handle the possibility of her own daughter upstaging her, so she ordered her butler John to kill Estella in secret. John was unable to kill a newborn baby, so he gave it to the kind-hearted maid to raise her. The Baroness lied to the Baron that she had suffered a miscarriage, causing the Baron to die from a broken heart.

The Baroness Von Hellman is a notorious fashion designer and the owner of the couture company, House of Baroness. Her notoriety made her a public figure and a role model of sorts to a young Estella. During a surprise visit to one of her many stores in London, the Baroness notices the wild window display.

She also witnesses Estella and her two friends Jasper and Horace being arrested. Baroness learns that Estella is responsible for the window display and commends her talent, coldly telling the shop owner that it's the best display the store has in years. She promptly hires Estella as a designer at House of Baroness.

She quickly becomes impressed by Estella's designs and sees promise in her talents. One day, Estella recognizes her mother Catherine's necklace around the Baroness’s neck. Baroness spins a tale of a former employee who stole it from her. Estella realizes that Catherine went to see the Baroness the night of her death, and it was her gala they attended.

Estella hatches a plan to steal the necklace, which includes turning herself into her alter-ego Cruella to distract Baroness while Jasper and Horace work to steal the necklace. Baroness loves the center of attention and demands that everyone in attendance wear black and white, though she wears a stunning and far more superior dress to her guests.

Cruella crashes the gala in a white cloak that goes up in flames to create a red dress. Baroness' interest piques at the masked guest, and they quickly start talking about who Cruella is. Cruella notices the necklace around Baroness' neck, so Jasper releases rats to distract her while Cruella steals the necklace.

In the ruckus, the Baroness uses a dog whistle to command her Dalmatians, and Estella realizes that Baroness used the same whistle to direct her dogs to kill Catherine. One of the Dalmatians eats the necklace while Cruella, Horace, and Jasper flee in a stolen Panther de Ville.

The following day, Cruella orders the men to kidnap the three Dalmatians until one of them gives up the necklace. Baroness is outraged at the abduction of her dogs and demands the police find, identify, and arrest Cruella.

Now with a proper motivation for revenge, Cruella plans to avenge her mother’s death by ruining the Baroness’s life. She taunts the Baroness by appearing at her gatherings in lavish outfits. All the while, Baroness' sales continuously drop as Cruella rises in fame. She becomes unhinged in her efforts to identify Cruella, even firing her lawyer for failing to do so.

The Baroness pieces together that Cruella is Estella, locates her hideout, and captures Jasper and Horace. Baroness attempts to murder Cruella in a fire that she pins on Jasper and Horace. Estella is rescued by John, the Baroness's right-hand-man and valet, who overheard Estella tell the Baroness of Catherine's murder at the Baroness’ hand.

Baroness plans her final gala of the season, but is extremely annoyed to see all her guests donning black and white wigs that resemble Cruella's hair, though she pretends that it's her idea to appease the crowd. Estella lures Baroness outside to the cliffs, and Baroness orders her dogs to attack Cruella, though the latter easily commands them to her sides. Estella then reveals her identity as Baroness' daughter.

Baroness feigns remorse for Estella for abandoning and trying to kill her, though when they embrace, she pushes Estella over the cliffs to her death. Horace and Jasper had guided the guests outside so the entire debacle is witnessed by police officers, security guards, and guests alike.

Meanwhile, Estella survives with a well-trimmed skirt made into a parachute. With Estella's murder, Baroness is arrested and the family’s fortune is inherited by Cruella de Vil per Estella’s will. As she is taken to jail, Baroness screams about Cruella being Estella, though no one believes her. She then swears revenge against Estella. It's completely unknown what happened with the Baroness afterwards or if she ever enacted her revenge on Cruella, but given her crimes, it's highly likely that the Baroness was sent to prison for life.

Personality

The Baroness was a psychopath, plain and simple. She had virtually no care or affection for anyone but herself, was incredibly superficial, spiteful and cruel to an insane degree, going as far as ordering her own child killed so she didn't have to raise her while also being perfectly capable of murder by herself if it was in her best interest. She was also extremely egotistical, being described by her butler John as being a narcissist and she proves this herself with the only real approval she gives anyone being when she begrudgingly or apathetically showing admiration for the talent in others. She is also quite cutthroat, being more than willing to take credit for the work of others and abuse those who work under her.

Appearance

The Baroness was a middle aged woman with pale skin, striking features and a slender figure. She has short, thick brown hair which she wore in a variety of styles and brown eyes. She also has an expensive and extravagant taste in fashion which is to be expected given her profession, with her wearing a variety of different high fashion suits and dresses over the course of the film.

Trivia

  • The Baroness is a much more fleshed out character than Cruella De Vil's mother in the 101 Dalmatians TV series.
  • The Baroness is implied to have killed multiple people in a similar fashion to how she did to Catherine throughout her life, given her response to Cruella's declaration that she killed her mother.
  • Baroness von Hellman is the first main antagonist of a 101 Dalmatians movie who isn't Cruella De Vil. In all other movies of the franchise, animated or live-action, Cruella was always the main antagonist. However, in the 2003 direct-to-video film 101 Dalmatians: Patch's London Adventure, Cruella shared the main antagonist role with Lil' Lightning.
  • Nicole Kidman was originally the leading choice for playing the role of The Baroness.

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See Also
101 Dalmatians Villains | 2010 Marvel Animated Universe Villains | 20th Century Studios Villains | A Twisted Tale Villains | Air Bud Villains | Aladdin Villains | Alice in Wonderland Villains | Amphibia Villains | Artemis Fowl Villains | Atlantis Villains | Beauty and the Beast Villains | Big Hero 6 Villains | Buena Vista International Villains | Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Villains | Cars Villains | Cinderella Villains | Club Penguin Villains | Darkwing Duck Villains | Descendants Villains | DuckTales Villains | Fantasia Villains | Fillmore! Villains | Frozen Villains | Gargoyles Villains | Gravity Falls Villains | Hamilton Villains | Haunted Mansion Villains | Hercules Villains | Incredibles Villains | Kim Possible Villains | Kingdom Hearts Villains | Lilo & Stitch Villains | Little Einsteins Villains | Marvel Animated Movie Universe Villains | Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains | Medfield College Villains | Mighty Ducks Villains | Milo Murphy's Law Villains | Mulan Villains | Muppet Villains | Narnia Villains | Peter Pan Villains | Phineas and Ferb Villains | Pinocchio Villains | Pirates of the Caribbean Villains | Pixar Villains | Recess Villains | Robin Hood Villains | Sleeping Beauty Villains | Snow White Villains | Sofia the First Villains | Star Wars Villains | Star vs. the Forces of Evil Villains | Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Villains | Tangled Villains | Tarzan Villains | The Hunchback of Notre Dame Villains | The Jungle Book Villains | The Lion King Villains | The Little Mermaid Villains | The Owl House Villains | The Princess and the Frog Villains | The Proud Family Villains | Toy Story Villains | Treasure Planet Villains | Wander Over Yonder Villains | Winnie the Pooh Villains | Wreck-It Ralph Villains | X-Men Movie Villains | Yin Yang Yo! Villains | Zootopia Villains

           101DalmatiansLogo.png Villains

Movies
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961): Cruella De Vil | Jasper and Horace
101 Dalmatians (1996): Cruella De Vil | Jasper and Horace | Mr. Skinner | Alonzo
102 Dalmatians: Cruella De Vil | Jean-Pierre Le Pelt | Alonzo
101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure: Cruella De Vil | Lil' Lightning | Jasper and Horace
Cruella: Cruella De Vil | Jasper and Horace | Buddy | Wink | Baroness von Hellman | George | Jeffery

Television
101 Dalmatians: The Series: Cruella De Vil | Ivy De Vil | Judge Dimsdale De Vil | Jasper & Horace Badun
101 Dalmatian Street: Cruella De Vil | Hunter De Vil | Cuddles | Clarissa Corgi | Portia Poodle | The Canal Crew: (Fergus | Sid Squirrel | Big Fee) | Bessie the Cornish Cow