Mavis Beacon is a fictional character created for the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software. Developed to be a personification of a Software Toolworks instructional typing program, Mavis Beacon debuted as simply a photo of a model on the software’s packaging in 1987. The model chosen to be the face of Mavis was Haitian-born Renee Lesperance who was discovered by one of the software developers working behind the perfume counter at Saks 5th Avenue Beverly Hills in 1985. Mavis’s name comes from a combination of Mavis Staples (one of the software developer’s favorite singers) and the word beacon (an allusion to her role as a guide to typing).


Mavis Beacon is often thought to be a living or historical figure by the public. This confusion has led many to contact the software developers seeking to speak to, interview, or book Mavis for an event. Furthermore, as a result of Mavis Beacon’s continuous use in computer typing software, and her image on millions of software boxes, many consumers have reported confabulations (false memories and potentially a future FYI) of Mavis Beacon winning typing contests or appearing on talk shows.