Comedian and actress Pat Carroll, a television pioneer and an Emmy, Drama Desk and Grammy winner, died at her home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts on July 30 while recovering from pnuemonia.
A frequent film actress and television guest star and series regular starting in the late 1940s, her work was seen on the Jimmy Durante Show, The Danny Thomas Show, Laverne & Shirley, ER and many other programs. She voiced Ursula in The Little Mermaid and in several cartoon series.
Patricia Ann Carroll was born May 5, 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was five years old, and she soon began acting in local productions. She graduated from Immaculate Heart High School, and then attended Catholic University of America after enlisting in the US Army.
Carroll’s acting career started in 1947 with the film Hometown Girl. In 1956, Carroll won an Emmy Award for her work on Sid Caesar’s House, and was a regular on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy from 1961 to 1964.
She also appeared on many variety shows of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, including shows headlined by Steve Allen, Red Buttons, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton and Carol Burnett. In 1965 she costarred as “Prunella,” one of the wicked stepsisters in the 1965 production of the musical version of Cinderella.
Carroll also won several theater awards for her one-woman show on Gertrude Stein, and the recorded version won a 1980 Grammy for Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama.
In early 1976, Carroll was cast as Lily, the mother of Shirley Feeney in the episode “Mother Knows Worst” on the hit ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. She also was in the CBS sitcom Busting Loose, The Ted Knight Show, and the syndicated She’s The Sheriff.
In 1989, Carroll portrayed the sea witch Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” She called the role one of her favorites, and reprised it in several other productions in various media.
Survivors include daughters Kerry Karsian, Tara Karsian and granddaughter Evan Karsian-McCormick. No memorial plans have been revealed.
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