Pat Carroll, The Little Mermaid's Ursula, Is Dead At 95

Ursula in The Little Mermaid Animated Movie
(Image credit: Disney)

For millennials, there are few animated villains considered more iconic than Ursula, the sea witch from the 1989 Walt Disney Animation classic film The Little Mermaid. Thirty-three years after that memorable performance, the actor who brought the character to life has died. Pat Carroll, who was also an Emmy and Grammy Award winner, passed away this weekend at the age of 95.

News of Carroll's death has been reported by Deadline, which says that she died at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She turned 95 this past May, and, per the trade, she is survived by family including her daughters Kerry Karsian and Tara Karsian, and granddaughter Evan Karsian-McCormick.

In addition to her memorable work with Disney, her career highlights include The Danny Thomas Show and the Sid Caesar variety show Caesar's Hour – for which she won a Primetime Emmy in 1957. In the late 1970s she performed in a one woman show called Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein (in which she portrayed Gertrude Stein), and she won a Grammy in 1980 for the recorded version of the performance (in the category "Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama").

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Pat Carroll's first credit was the 1948 film Hometown Girl, though the vast majority of her work in the late 20th century was on television. She was cast on The Danny Thomas Show in 1961, and was in 40 episodes thar aired until 1964. The found regular work on the small screen, both in recurring roles and one-off appearances, and started getting more into voice work in the mid-1980s. 

She voiced Ms. Biddy McBrain in 13 episodes of the Saturday morning cartoon Galaxy High School (created by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone director Chris Columbus), and she followed up that title with episodes of the Yogi Bear series Yogi's Treasure Hunt and playing Katrina Stoneheart in Pound Puppies.

After originally voicing Ursula in 1989's The Little Mermaid, she continued to play the role for decades – her last performance being an episode of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse on Disney+ in 2020. In addition to her time as the sea witch, Carroll also worked on other Disney projects including A Goofy Movie (another movie that's been beloved for decades) and the Disney Channel series Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure (on which she voiced Old Lady Crowley). 

Pat Carroll mostly did voice work in the last 20 years, but she continued doing live-action film and television as well. In 2005 she did three episodes of ER when the medical drama was in its 11th season, and in 2007 she had a supporting role opposite Emma Roberts in Nancy Drew.

We here at CinemaBlend extended our condolences to her friends, family, and fans. In her memory, you can watch a number of her TV appearances and movies streaming on Disney+

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.