Pat Carroll, Voice of The Little Mermaid Villain Ursula, Dies at 95

It was announced today that iconic comedienne Pat Carroll, who became best known later in life for giving a voice to Ursula the sea witch in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, has died at the age of 95. The star, who was a constant TV presence from the 1950s through to the end of the 1980s, passed away at home after suffering from pneumonia, as was reported by Deadline.

Born in 1927 in Louisiana as Patricia Ann Carroll, she and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was five years old. After getting into acting at a young age, her first work in acting came in 1947 in the film Hometown Girl, but it was in the world of television that she really made her name. With a career that spanned over 70 years, Carroll made her first major TV appearance in 1952 on The Red Buttons Show, one of the many classic shows of the 50s and 60s that hired her to make their shows funnier. She worked with some of the best known names in the business including Red Skelton, Mickey Rooney, Steve Allen, Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett, and picked up an Emmy Award for an appearance on Sid Caesar’s House in 1956.

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She continued to make regular appearances throughout the 1970s, appearing in shows such as Police Woman, The Love Boat and Laverne & Shirley, but in the 1980s she found a new lease of life as a voice-over artist and provided character voices for Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers among others. However, it was in 1989’s The Little Mermaid that she became the icon of a whole new generation when she provided the voice of Ursula, a performance that included singing the song Poor Unfortunate Souls. She would reprise the role a number of times, in sequels, a TV series, Kingdom Hearts video games and in a 2020 episode of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, which became her final role.

Pat Carroll Always Wanted To Work With Disney

It is no coincidence that Pat Carroll ended up making a Disney role one of her most prolific and best known as she almost made it her career purpose to work for the House of Mouse. In previous interviews, Carroll explained how since seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the theater, she made sure that she saw every Disney cinematic release and wanted to be part of the magic. She said:

“I had wanted all my life to work in a Disney film. So when I was contacted by the agent and he asked if I would like to audition I said “That’s an answer to prayer. Of course, I would!””

However, Carroll’s Disney role was not easy in coming. After tested several times for the role of Ursula, the part ultimately went to another actress, but a year later she was contacted to say that things weren’t working out and would she like to take on the part, which she obviously agreed to. Having since returned to voice the character 11 more times, it certainly became the role she had built up to and held onto for as long as she could. Our thoughts are with family and friends at this time, and here are some of the many thoughts shared on social media today.