|Born / Died||1927–|
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Emmy®-winner Pat Carroll (1927 - ) is perhaps best recalled for her small screen work, but earned a legion of new fans with her voice work in Disney movies and videos, most notably as the voice of the flamboyant sea witch Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989).
Patricia Ann Angela Bridget Carroll was born on May 5, 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana, the daughter of Maurice Carroll and Kathryn Angela Meagher Carroll. Her family briefly moved to Wink and El Paso, Texas, before finally settling in Southern California in 1933. Her father worked for the county water department and would later die in an accident at a reservoir in 1963. Her mother worked for many years as a real estate agent and office manager. Carroll was educated at Immaculate Heart High School and shortly after graduation began her theatrical career spending her first season in summer stock acting alongside screen legend Gloria Swanson in A Goose for the Gander . In 1948, she enrolled as a civilian actress technician in the US Army and was stationed in Washington, DC, where she began to take classes at the Catholic University of America. Over the next three years, Carroll appeared in over 200 stock productions around the country.
In 1950, the petite, blonde, full-bodied performer made her New York debut in the Off-Broadway revue Talent '50 and later performed in supper clubs and other nightlife venues. Her work was somewhat esoteric, including an impersonation of British poet Edith Sitwell. Spotted by comic Red Skelton, she was asked to appear on his variety show as a regular beginning in 1952. After leaving the Skelton show in 1953, Carroll appeared on Broadway in the 1955 revue Catch a Star! That led to her being cast as a regular on Caesar's Hour in 1956 as the wife of Howard Morris' character, for which she earned an Emmy® Award.
Carroll earned raves as the unlucky-in-love cab driver Hildy in the Broadway revival of On the Town (1959) and two years later joined the cast of The Danny Thomas Show, as the wife of the owner of the nightclub where Thomas' character worked. After her three-season run on that show, the actress appeared as one of the wicked stepsisters in the TV remake of Cinderella .
Howard Morris fondly recalled working with Carroll, so when he was hired to direct With Six You Get Egg Roll (1968) he cast the actress in her first big screen role. By this time, she was a familiar face to audiences, not only because of her series work, but also for her innumerable appearances on game shows ranging from Masquerade Party to Password and What's My Line? In fact, Carroll has dubbed herself the "dowager queen of the game shows." The 1970s and 80s saw Carroll appearing in supporting roles in several short-lived sitcoms including Getting Together, Busting Loose, The Ted Knight Show and She's the Sheriff.
In 1979, Carroll undertook her first one-woman show, portraying the titular expatriate writer in Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein. She acted the role for more than a year and a half in New York City and then spent four more years on the road. Carroll earned a Grammy® Award for the Caedmon recording of the production. Subsequently, she began working in classical theater, becoming associated with Washington, DC's Shakespeare Theater. In 1986, she played the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and four years later in a gender-bending turn portrayed Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor . She later earned acclaim for her take on the title role of Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children (1990), for her supporting turn in Electra in a 1998 Broadway mounting, and as the Stage Manager in a 2002 production of Our Town . Carroll has also toured extensively in Nunsense .
In 1989, the actress garnered new fans when she began a successful career as voice actor, lending her unique spin to one of the screen's more memorable villainess, Ursula, in Disney's The Little Mermaid, a role she has reprised in several videos including The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000), Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse (2001) and Mickey's House of Villains (2002). Her only live-action movie in this period saw her portray an Appalachian matriarch in Songcatcher (2000).
In 1955, Carroll married agent and manager Lee Karsian, with whom she had three children. The couple were divorced in 1975.
|Library of Congress Subject Headings||Actresses -- United States.
Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States.
Television actors and actresses -- United States.
Motion picture industry -- United States.