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Cruella de Vil is the main villain in Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Disney's 1961 animated film adaptation One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Disney's live-action film adaptations 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians. In all her incarnations, Cruella kidnaps dalmatian puppies for their fur. In the live-action version, it is revealed that the reason Cruella chooses to skin puppies is that when short-haired dogs grow older their fur becomes very coarse, which does not sell as well in the fur fashion industry as the fine, soft fur of puppies.

Cruella de Vil ranked 39 on AFI's list "100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains".