The Heartbreaking Death Of Pat Carroll, The Voice Of The Little Mermaid's Ursula

A beloved Hollywood talent has been silenced with the death of Pat Carroll. According to Variety, Carroll died at age 95 in Cape Cod after a bout with pneumonia. Carroll's face may not be familiar, but her voice definitely is: Carroll was best known for playing Ursula in the Disney classic "The Little Mermaid." Her deep, rich tones brought both glamour and evil to the Sea Witch who persuades the lovesick Ariel to sign away her voice. (We dare you to watch "Little Mermaid" as an adult and tell us that "Poor Unfortunate Souls" isn't the best song in the whole movie.) 

The Louisiana-born Carroll moved with her family to L.A. as a child, where she became a child stage actress. After serving in the Army during World War II, she launched her acting career in earnest, appearing on a slew of variety shows and sitcoms such as "The Danny Thomas Show," "Make Room for Daddy," and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She also showed off her singing as one of the stepsisters in a televised version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella."

Carroll won an Emmy for her recurring work on "Caesar's Hour," and three Helen Hayes theatrical awards, per The New York Times. One of those awards was for a gender-bending performance as Sir John Falstaff in Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Carroll also won raves for her one-woman show about the poet Gertrude Stein, which she had commissioned because she was tired of "playing mothers on TV."

Pat Carroll loved her iconic 'Little Mermaid' role

Unlike other actors who famously chafed at being associated with one character, Pat Carroll was enormously proud of playing "The Little Mermaid"'s delicious villain. (She's seen here with Jodi Benson, the equally famous Disney voice of Ariel.) "I don't even care if, after I'm gone, the only thing that I'm associated with is Ursula," she once said (per The New York Times). "That's okay with me, because that's a pretty wonderful character and a pretty marvelous film to be remembered by."

Carroll's family will also remember her for a lifetime of joy.  She is survived by her two daughters, Kerry and Tara Karsian, and by a granddaughter, Evan Karsian-McCormick (via Deadline). Her son, Sean, also by her ex-husband Lee Karsian, passed away in 2009 (via The New York Times). Both daughters shared heartfelt messages on the passing of their mother. Kerry told Entertainment Tonight, "She was deeply loved and will be much missed." 

Tara wrote a tribute on Instagram: "It is with a heavy heart that I write that my mother, Pat Carroll, has passed away at the grand old age of 95," she said. "We ask that you honor her by having a raucous laugh at absolutely anything today (and everyday forward) because besides her brilliant talent and love, she leaves my sister Kerry and I with the greatest gift of all, imbuing us with humor and the ability to laugh ... even in the saddest of times." 

The eulogy was accompanied by a meme of a photo of Carroll, captioned: "There is nothing more beautiful than Pat Carroll laughing."