Cruella de Vil is the main antagonist of 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 99 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 39th on AFI’s list “100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains”.
Cruella’s name is a pun of the words cruel and devil to turn them into a French-sounding woman’s name, an allusion which is emphasized by having her country house nicknamed “Hell Hall”. In some translations, Cruella De Vil is known as “Cruella De Mon” to change the play on the word “devil” to one on “demon” because the word “devil” in some languages does not have a clear meaning. An example is Italy, where she is called “Crudelia De Mon” (a pun on “crudele”, cruel, and “demone”, demon). In the French translation of the Disney’s animated movie, she is referred as “Cruella D’Enfer” (Literally, Cruella of Hell or from Hell). In Spanish her last name has been left as De Vil, but is not quite similar to diablo (their equivalent of devil), it is taken to be a play on their equivalent of “vile” or “villain”. In Dutch, the name remains “De Vil”, while by coincidence the Dutch verb for skinning is “Villen” and “Vil” is the conjugation of this verb for the first person singular.
Original Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruella_de_Vil