Its a sad and heartbreaking day for Disney and its fans as Pat Carroll - a comedic television mainstay for decades, Emmy-winner for Caesar’s Hour and the voice Ursula in The Little Mermaid - died at 95.
Patt’s daughter, Kerry Karsian, a casting agent, confirmed of Patt Carroll’s death and said that she died at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
Her elder daughter Tara Karsian took to Instagram and wrote that they want everyone to “honor her by having a raucous laugh at absolutely anything today (and everyday forward) because 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.”
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1927, Patt Carroll and her family relocated to Los Angeles when she was 5 years old.
She made her debut in films in Hometown Girl (1948) but, found her stride in television. She has also won an Emmy for her work on the sketch comedy series Caesar’s Hour in 1956, and she was a regular on Make Room for Daddy with Danny Thomas, a guest star on The DuPont Show with June Allyson and a variety show regular stopping by The Danny Kaye Show, The Red Skelton Show and The Carol Burnett Show.
Interestingly, Carroll also played one of the wicked stepsisters in the 1965 television production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren. She also won a Grammy in 1980s for the recording of her one woman show Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein.
Carroll often said that Ursula was one of her favorite roles. She said she saw her as an “Ex-Shakespearean actress who now sold cars.”
“She’s a mean old thing! I think people are fascinated by mean characters,” Carroll said in an interview. “There’s a fatal kind of distraction about the horrible mean characters of the world because we don’t meet too many of them in real life. So when we have a chance, theatrically, to see one and this one, she’s a biggie, it’s kind of fascinating for us,” quoted as saying by Indian Express.
Patt Carrol wasn’t the first choice of directors Ron Clements and John Musker or the musical team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who reportedly wanted Joan Collins or Bea Arthur to voice the sea witch - Ursula in The Little Mermaid.
Elaine Stritch was even cast originally before Carroll got to audition. And her throaty rendition of Poor Unfortunate Souls would make her one of Disney’s most memorable villains.
Image Source: TMDb/Instagram