Pat Carroll (actress)

Patricia Ann Carroll (born May 5, 1927) is an American actress, voice actress, and singer. She is known for voicing Ursula in The Little Mermaid as well as having a long acting career, including appearances in CBS's The Danny Thomas Show, ABC's Laverne & Shirley, NBC's ER, other guest-starring and series-regular roles on American television as well as voice-acting in several cartoon series. Carroll is an Emmy, Drama Desk and Grammy Award winner and a Tony Award nominee.

Pat Carroll
Carroll in 1972
Patricia Ann Carroll

(1927-05-05) May 5, 1927
Other namesPat Ann Carroll
Patricia Carroll
OccupationActress, voice actress, singer
Years active1947–present
Notable work
Voice of Ursula the Sea Witch in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989)
TelevisionMake Room for Daddy, Laverne & Shirley, ER
Lee Karsian
(m. 1955; div. 1976)
Children3, including Tara Karsian

Early life

Carroll was born Patricia Ann Carroll in Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 5, 1927, to Maurice Clifton Carroll and Kathryn Angela (née Meagher)[1] 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.[2]


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 Red Buttons 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;[3] her recorded version won a 1980 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama.[4]

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.[5] 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 that of Gussie Holt, the mother of Suzanne Somers' lead character in the syndicated sitcom She's the Sheriff (1987–1989).

Since the late 1980s, Carroll has had a great deal of voice-over work on animated programs[5] such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Galaxy High, Foofur and 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.[1]

In 1989, Carroll portrayed the sea witch Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid and sang "Poor Unfortunate Souls".[5] In interviews, Carroll has referred to the role as one of the favorites of her career.[6] She has since reprised the role in other forms of media, including the Kingdom Hearts series of video games,[1] the spinoff television series, and in various Disney theme parks attractions and shows.

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.[1]

A member of the Actors Studio, she has also had a successful career in the theater, appearing in numerous plays including productions of Our Town and Sophocles' Electra.[7][8] 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.[9]

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."[9]

Personal life

Carroll married Lee Karsian in 1955 and they had three children[2] - two daughters, Kerry and Tara Karsian and a son, Sean.[1] In 1991 Carroll received an honorary doctorate from Siena College in Albany, New York.[10] Carroll is a practicing Roman Catholic citing that her religious views help her to determine what projects to accept.[11] She is a Republican.



Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Ballad of Josie Elizabeth
1968 With Six You Get Eggroll Maxine Scott
1985 The Trip to Bountiful Rosella
1988 My Neighbor Totoro Granny Voice, 2005 Disney redub
1989 The Little Mermaid Ursula Voice
1998 Slappy and the Stinkers Nancy
2000 Songcatcher Viney Butler
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea Morgana Voice
2001 Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse Ursula Voice
2002 Mickey's House of Villains Ursula Voice
2007 Freedom Writers Miep Gies
Nancy Drew Landlady[1]
2014 BFFs Joan



  1. "Pat Carroll Biography (1927-)". FilmReference.Com/City-Data.Com. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  2. "Pat Carroll". Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center Boston University. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  3. Casselberry Manuel, Diane (January 8, 1981). "Pat Carroll; Gertrude Stein was never a bore". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  4. "1980 Best Spoken Word, Documentary Or Drama". Grammy.Org/The Recording Academy. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  5. Hill, Jim. "Why (For) Pat Carroll wasn't actually Disney's first choice to voice Ursula in "The Little Mermaid"". JimHillMedia. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  6. Video on YouTube
  7. Simonson, Robert; David Lefkowitz (September 4, 1998). "Stephen Spinella Joins Claire Bloom & Pat Carroll in NJ Electra Sept. 15". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  8. "A Conversation With Pat Carroll at the High Falls Film Festival, May 14, 2009". The Film Panel Notetaker. May 21, 2009. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  9. Rich, Frank (May 30, 1990). "Review/Theater; Pat Carroll as Falstaff in 'Merry Wives' at Folger". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  10. "Honorary Degrees - Past Recipients". Siena College. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  11. "Pat Carroll". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved July 13, 2018.

Further reading

  • Young, Jordan R. (1989). Acting Solo: The Art of One-Person Shows. Beverly Hills: Past Times Publishing Co.

Lucas, Eddie (2011) Livingroom Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces : Interview With Pat Carroll.

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