For the millennial generation, few Disney villains are more feared than Ursula, the seaborne witch from 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Just over three decades on, Pat Carroll, the voice behind the iconic character, has died at the age of 95.
A press statement announcing Carroll’s death noted that she died at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She turned 95 in May and is survived by family, including her daughters Kerry Karsian and Tara Karsian, and granddaughter Evan Karsian-McCormick.
In addition to her defining role with Disney, her career highlights include The Danny Thomas Show, and the Sid Caesar variety show Caesar’s Hour, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award in 1957. In the late 1970s, Carroll performed in a one-woman show titled Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein (as one could guess, playing the role of Gertrude Stein), and she won the ‘Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama’ Grammy in 1980 for the recorded version of the show.
Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1927 and appeared in her first film in 1948 with Hometown Girl. In 1961, she was cast on The Danny Thomas Show, appearing in 40 episodes that aired until 1964. Her subsequent career was mainly rooted in television with occasional film roles, which were highlighted by her performance in The Little Mermaid in 1989.
She began her foray into voice acting in the 1980s, starting with the role of Ms Biddy McBrain for 13 episodes of the Saturday morning cartoon Galaxy High School (created by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus). This was followed by a run of episodes on the Yogi Bear series Yogi’s Treasure Hunt and a term portraying Katrina Stoneheart in Pound Puppies.
After her success with the original The Little Mermaid film, Carroll continued to portray Ursula in subsequent features, the latest being in a 2020 episode of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse on Disney+.
Carroll also worked on other Disney projects, including A Goofy Movie and the Disney Channel series Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Remember Pat Carroll through her defining role as Ursula in The Little Mermaid below.