Pat Carroll, voice of Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid,’ dies at 95
Actress and comedienne Pat Carroll passed away this weekend at 95 years old, concluding a life full of smiles and laughter
Award-winning actress and comedienne Pat Carroll passed away this weekend in her Massachusetts home. She was 95 years old. Carroll lost a bout with pneumonia on July 30, her daughter Kerry Karsian told the Hollywood Reporter, leaving behind a legacy on both stage and screen.
Patricia Ann Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 5, 1927.
She showed an early love of the arts and participated in several local theater productions in her youth. She also studied at the Catholic University of America after serving in the U.S. Army.
Carroll began her acting career in the 1940s with the film “Hometown Girl,” but it was her sketch comedy in the ’50s that was her ticket to fame. She appeared in countless variety shows alongside legends such as Danny Kaye, Carol Burnett and Mickey Rooney. In 1956, Carroll’s time on “Caesar’s Hour” won her an Emmy and soon after, she became a staple on the show “Make Room for Daddy” from 1961 to 1964.
Her role as one of the wicked stepsisters, Prunella, in the 1965 musical rendition of “Cinderella” was one of her most prominent stage roles. She appeared in the original Broadway cast of “Catch a Star!” and “Dancing in the Endzone,” as well as several other stage productions, according to Playbill. She would return to the stage later in her career to star in her one-woman show based on the life of Gertrude Stein. For this role, she won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress and the 1980 Grammy for "Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama."
She had experience in other corners of the stage and TV realm, too, appearing on game shows such as “Password” and talk shows like “The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show.” Carroll even became a Shakespeare veteran, playing Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and with a 1986 role as the Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet.”
But Carroll’s most indisputably memorable role would come later in the actress and comedienne’s life, after a spell of only playing maternal roles on television. She had dreamed of being in a Disney film and took on the role of Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Her vocal performance for the song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” would solidify her character as an iconic Disney villain, with the song being covered again and again.
That wasn't her last role with Walt Disney Studios. She reprised her role as Ursula in movies, television series and video games and took on new, supporting roles for Disney in various forms of media.
Carroll leaves behind her two daughters, Tara and Kerry, who both have pursued careers in Hollywood. Her son Sean passed away 13 years ago on the same date.
Her daughter, Tara Karsian, wrote on her Instagram about her mother’s passing: “We ask that you honor her by having a raucous laugh at absolutely anything today and everyday forward. Besides her brilliant talent and love, she leaves my sister Kerry and I with the greatest gift of all, imbuing us with humor and the ability to laugh … even in the saddest of times.”