Pat Carroll, the acclaimed television, theater and voice actor who is best known for voicing Ursula in The Little Mermaid, died on Saturday, July 30. She was 95.
Her daughter, Kerry Karsian, confirmed that Carroll passed away at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, writing on Instagram, "We ask that you 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."
Carroll is survived by her two daughters, Kerry and Tara Karsian, and a granddaughter.
Born on May 5, 1927, in Shreveport, Louisiana, Caroll had been acting since her 20s, earning her first screen credit in 1948's Hometown Girl. Less than a decade later, she became known as a television comedian, appearing on game shows such as Password and I've Got a Secret, along with the sketch comedy show Caesar's Hour, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Emmy in 1957.
Carroll would go on to deliver memorable guest roles on popular series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1971), Laverne & Shirley (1976), and The Love Boat (1978).
Off-screen, Carroll appeared in four Broadway productions. For her 1955 Broadway debut in Catch a Star!, Carroll earned a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She won the GRAMMY Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1980 for a recording of her hit one-woman show, Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein.
Of all her work, however, Caroll will be most remembered for her performance as Ursula the sea witch, one of Disney's most iconic villains. She began her voice-acting career in 1966 with an episode of The Super 6, but it was the '80s that cemented her legacy in feature animation, first voicing Granny in the English version of My Neighbor Totoro and then Ursula in The Little Mermaid.
The latter was the role she is most proud of and would reprise multiple times throughout her, most recently, in a 2020 episode of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse.
"I don't care if, after I'm gone, the only thing that I’m associated with is Ursula," she told The New York Times in an interview. "That’s okay with me, because that’s a pretty wonderful character and a pretty marvelous film to be remembered by."
Following news of Carroll's passing, Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel, paid tribute to her former co-star. "My heart is broken. Pat was an incredible woman. Kind, generous, hysterically funny, & immensely talented," she captioned a photo of the two posted to Instagram. "She lived an amazing and full life filled with love, family and a remarkable career. I will miss her so much."
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