Pat Carroll, the Emmy-winning comedian who was a television mainstay for decades before pursuing a voice-over career that included portraying the evil sea witch Ursula on The little Mermaid, has died. It was 95.
Carroll died Saturday of pneumonia at her home in Cape Cod, Mass., her daughter Kerry Karsian said. The Hollywood Reporter.
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Carol’s bubbly personality, intelligence and impeccable timing made her a wonderful second banana and Red Buttons, Jimmy During, Mickey Rooney, Steve Allen and Charlie Weaver were among those who called on her to make their shows funnier. Her antics Caesar’s time it won her an Emmy in 1957 and she was nominated for her work on the variety show classic the following year.
In a 2013 interview with Cliff NesterovCarroll compared Howard Morris, Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar Caesar’s time in the legendary Chicago Cubs double play combination of Tinkers to Evers to Chance.
“I learned so much about comedy from watching these three work together. It was inevitable,” Carroll said. “They had been working together for so long that they had this innate sense of each other’s timing. It was impossible for them to fool around. We did two shows every Saturday night because one was for the West Coast and one was for the East Coast. If they absolutely hated a sketch they were doing, these three would sit in Sid’s dressing room with the writers and write a brand new sketch. Yes, amazing.”
For the next two decades, the bubbly blonde always seemed to appear on television.
Carroll played Bunny Halperthe wife of nightclub owner Charley Halper (Sid Melton), in his three seasons The Danny Thomas Show at the beginning60s; was Hope Stinson, who shared ownership of a newspaper with Ted Knight’s character, in the final season (1986-87) of Too close for comfort; and appeared opposite Suzanne Somers in the 1987-89 series It’s the Sheriff.
Carroll stood out as a frantic patient sharing a hospital room with Mary Richards (the latter was there to have her tonsils removed). The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1971, and played Lily Feeneymother of Cindy Williams’ character, in a 1976 installment Laverne & Shirley.
Her TV credits were also included Cinderella, Please don’t eat the daisies, Love, American style, My Three Sons, Police woman, Busting Loose, The Love Boat, Trapper John, MD, Evening shadow, Drawing Women and ER.
Carroll was also a favorite game show. To be honest, The match game, I have a secret, All-Stars code, You do not say and The $10,000 Pyramid — you name it, he played it.
And she played Doris Day’s sister With Six You Get Egg roll (1968).
Carroll’s luscious laugh and lively tones made her a natural for cartoons.
He first slipped into the recording booth in 1966 for the animated series The Super 6. But it was during ‘80s That her voiceover career skyrocketed. was heard in the cartoons Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, Galaxy High School, Foofur, Pound puppies and Supern.
Undoubtedly, her most memorable character was Ursula for the 1989 Disney film The little Mermaid. It would prove to be one of her favorite roles. “It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to make a Disney movie,” he told writer Alan Neuwirth in Makin‘ Toons: Inside the most popular animated TV shows and movies. “Well, I was theirs hook, line and sinker.”
Carol’s enthusiasm made the octopus-like character uniquely her own, and Ursula would become one of Disney’s most memorable villains. However, he only landed the part after a painstaking search from the studio.
Little Mermaid producer and lyricist Howard Ashman he was a big fan of television Dynasty and envisioned Ursula as a Joan Collins type. And who better to play her than Collins herself? Alas, her agent quickly shot down the idea.
Writer-directors Ron Clements and John Musker he saw Ursula as more of a dazzling aquatic version of Bea Arthur, but her agent took offense when the script likened the actress to a witch – and passed. Roseanne, Heart’s Nancy Wilson and Nancy Marchand of The Sopranos Rumors at the time reportedly read for the role, but none were right.
Charlotte Rae and Elaine Stritch auditioned, but Ray lacked the vocal range for Ursula’s signature song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and Stritch could not perform the song in the manner Ashman wanted.
Carroll, however, understood immediately of Asman getting closer. The key was a recording of him singing the song. Once Carroll heard and saw it, the rest was easy.
“He gave me this show! Come, I’m honest enough to say that,” he said inside Makin‘ Toons. “I got the whole attitude from him … his shoulders would hunch a certain way and his eyes would go a certain way … I got more of that character from Howard singing that song than anything else.”
Carroll won the role and went on to voice the character in several video games and a 1993 Little Mermaid CBS series. (He also provided the voice for Morgana in its 2000 direct-to-video release The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea.)
Patricia Ann Carroll was born on May 5, 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana. When she was 5 years old, she moved with her family to Los Angeles. At age 20, he served as a Political Actor Technician for the military, writing, producing and directing productions exclusively for soldiers. He graduated from Catholic University in Washington, DC in 1949.
Carroll’s first professional appearance had come in 1947 alongside Gloria Swanson in a regional stock production of A Goose for a Gander. This led to more roles in stock companies, and she also sharpened her comic chops by performing in nightclubs and resorts.
Carroll’s off-Broadway debut came in 1950 Come on May. Shortly thereafter, he began working on television Goodyear Television Playhouse, The show with the red buttons and The Saturday Night Revue.
Carroll first starred on Broadway in 1955 in the musical revue Catch a star! written by Danny and Neil Simon. Her performance earned her a Tony nomination. Decades later, Carroll received rave reviews for her off-Broadway one-woman show Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein: A One-Character Play.
In his 1979 review of The New York TimesWalter Kerr wrote: “Miss Carroll, working from a text prepared by Marty Martin, gives us the strange, truncateda richly dressed woman who could – and did – be mistaken for a bishop with a great sense of humor… I don’t know exactly how Miss Carroll can do it, but she manages – without any effort at all – to make us share Gertrude Stein’s attitude for herself.”
Carroll received a Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of the writer. beat candidates Moore, Susan SarandonPhyllis Frelich and Blythe Danner for the price.
Carroll was married to Lee Karsian from 1955 until their divorce in 1976, and they had three children: Tara, an actress; Daughter Kerry, casting director. and his son Sean (died on the same date as his mom 13 years ago).
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