Patricia Ann Carroll
May 5, 1927
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||July 30, 2022 (aged 95)|
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.
(m. 1955; div. 1976)
|Children||3, including Tara Karsian|
Patricia Ann Carroll (May 5, 1927 – July 30, 2022) was an American actress and comedian. She was known for voicing Ursula in The Little Mermaid and for appearances in CBS's The Danny Thomas Show, ABC's Laverne & Shirley, and NBC's ER. Carroll was an Emmy, Drama Desk, and Grammy Award winner, as well as a Tony Award nominee.
Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 5, 1927, to Maurice Clifton Carroll (d. 1963) and Kathryn Angela (née Meagher). Her family moved to Los Angeles when Pat was five years old, and she soon began acting in local productions. She graduated from Immaculate Heart High School and attended Catholic University of America after enlisting in the United States Army as a civilian actress technician.
Carroll began her acting career in 1947. She got her first acting credit as Lorelei Crawford in the 1948 film Hometown Girl. In 1952, she made her television debut in The Red Buttons Show. In 1955, her Broadway debut in Catch a Star! garnered her a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. In 1956, Carroll won an Emmy Award for her work on Caesar's Hour and was a regular on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy from 1961 to 1964. She guest-starred in the drama anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. Carroll also appeared on many variety shows of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, such as The Steve Allen show, The Danny Kaye Show, The Red Skelton Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. In 1965 she co-starred as "Prunella", one of the wicked stepsisters in the 1965 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical version of Cinderella.
In the late 1970s Carroll's successful one woman show on Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein (by playwright Marty Martin), won several major theater awards; her recorded version won a 1980 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama.
In early 1976, Carroll was cast as Lily, the mother of Shirley Feeney (played by Cindy Williams) in the episode "Mother Knows Worst" on the hit ABC situation comedy, Laverne & Shirley. She portrayed Pearl Markowitz, the mother of Adam Arkin's character Lenny Markowitz, in the 1977 CBS situation comedy Busting Loose. Her frequent television roles in the 1980s included newspaper owner Hope Stinson on the syndicated The Ted Knight Show (the former Too Close for Comfort) during its final season in 1986; and as Gussie Holt, the mother of Suzanne Somers's lead character in the syndicated sitcom She's the Sheriff (1987–1989).
From the late 1980s on, Carroll had a great deal of voice-over work on animated programs such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Galaxy High, and Foofur, and the film A Goofy Movie. On TV's Pound Puppies, she voiced Katrina Stoneheart. On two Garfield television specials (A Garfield Christmas and Garfield's Thanksgiving), she portrayed Jon's feisty Grandmother. She also voiced the character of Granny in the 2005 re-release of Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
In 1989, Carroll portrayed the sea witch Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid and sang "Poor Unfortunate Souls". In interviews, Carroll referred to the role, her first as a villain, as one of the favorites of her career. She later reprised the role in other forms of media, including the Kingdom Hearts series of video games, the spinoff television series, the Disney+ series The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, and various Disney theme parks attractions and shows, as well as voicing Ursula's sister Morgana in the direct-to-video sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
Carroll also appeared on a variety of game shows including Celebrity Sweepstakes, You Don't Say, To Tell the Truth, Match Game 73, Password, and I've Got a Secret.
A member of the Actors Studio, she also enjoyed a successful career in the theater, appearing in numerous plays including productions of Our Town and Sophocles's Electra. In 1990, she starred in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger in the role of Sir John Falstaff, a balding knight with whiskers.
When drama critic Frank Rich of The New York Times reviewed her performance he wrote, "Her performance is a triumph from start to finish, and, I think, a particularly brave and moving one, with implications that go beyond this one production. Ms. Carroll and Mr. Kahn help revivify the argument that the right actresses can perform some of the great classic roles traditionally denied to women and make them their own. It's not a new argument, to be sure; female Hamlets stretch back into history. But what separates Ms. Carroll's Falstaff from some other similar casting experiments of late is that her performance exists to investigate a character rather than merely as ideological window dressing for a gimmicky production."
Carroll married Lee Karsian in 1955 and they had three children, including actress Tara Karsian. The marriage ended in a divorce in 1976. In 1991, Carroll received an honorary doctorate from Siena College in Albany, New York. Carroll, a practicing Roman Catholic, cited that her religious views helped her to determine what projects to accept. She was a lifelong Republican as of 1992.
In 1963, Carroll filed a $12,000 lawsuit against Hanna-Barbera for breach of contract, claiming that she had been cast and signed on to the role of Jane Jetson on The Jetsons. Morey Amsterdam, who alleged that he had been cast as George, was also a plaintiff in the same suit. Although her contracts stipulated she would be paid US$500 an episode with a guarantee of twenty-four episodes (i.e., a full season), she recorded only one episode before being replaced. Several sources claimed the change had occurred as a result of sponsor conflict with Carroll's Make Room for Daddy. The case had been closed by early 1965. Carroll stated in an interview in 2013 that the court had ruled in favor of Hanna-Barbera.
Carroll died of pneumonia at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on July 30, 2022, at the age of 95.
|1948||Hometown Girl||Lorelei Crawford||film debut|
|1951||Up Front||Italian Girl||Uncredited|
|1967||The Ballad of Josie||Elizabeth|
|1968||With Six You Get Eggroll||Maxine Scott|
|1973||The Brothers O'Toole||Callie Burdyne|
|1984||Racing with the Moon||Mrs. Ruth Spangler|
|1988||My Neighbor Totoro||Granny||Voice, Disney English dub|
|1989||The Little Mermaid||Ursula||Voice|
|The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea||Morgana||Voice; direct-to-video|
|2001||Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse||Ursula||Voice; direct-to-video|
|2002||Mickey's House of Villains||Ursula||Voice; direct-to-video|
|2005||Once Upon a Halloween||Performer of "Sidekicks and Henchmen"||Voice; direct-to-video|
|2007||Freedom Writers||Miep Gies|
|1955||Catch a Star!||performer||Broadway debut
Tony Award nomination
|1973||Anything Goes||Reno Sweeney|||
|1979||Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein||Gertrude Stein||Drama Desk Award|||
|1984||Dancing in the End Zone||Madeleine Bernard|||
|1986||Romeo and Juliet||Nurse|||
|1990||The Merry Wives of Windsor||Falstaff|||
|1992||The Show-Off||Mrs. Fisher|||
|1993||Mother Courage and Her Children||Mother Courage|||
|1998||Grace and Glorie||Grace|||
|Electra||Chorus of Mycenae|||
|2000||Thoroughly Modern Millie||Mrs. Meers||Pre-Broadway production|||
|2002||Our Town||The Stage Manager|||
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Lucas, Eddie (2011) "Livingroom Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces: Interview With Pat Carroll".[dead link]