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Thea White, Courage The Cowardly Dog's Muriel Actress, Is Dead At 81

muriel and eustace in courage the cowardly dog

While it may often seem like the majority of animation voice actors are constantly working on building up a prolific list of credits, that's not the case for everyone. For instance, Thea White became quickly became beloved amongst cartoon viewers everywhere solely for her work on the cult-y fave Courage the Cowardly Dog, and only took on two other voice roles in her long career. Sadly, a little over a month before fans will be able to enjoy her return to the role of Muriel Bagge, White passed away at the age of 81.

News of Thea White's death appears to have first been shared publicly by her nephew Brad Zitzner, who took to Facebook with a mournful post that was also very respectful and appreciative to someone who was a beacon of light for her family. In his words:

Sadly we lost our legendary Feefer (the voice of Muriel) on Friday morning after she fought hard with courage to try to beat her liver cancer and to resume life or to die trying. (She ended up with an infection after cutting out the damn cancer) . . . Feefer was the greatest cheerleader to me and my family. We just arrived back to Ohio to get home to Jackson and the pain is so deep. Thanks Feefer for your leadership of your family. The roll you have taken with my kids and all your family sadly can't be replaced. I can see hundreds of fan tributes already online so your love was shared far and wide.

According to Brad Zitzner, Thea White died on Friday, July 30, due to infection complications from a surgery aiming to bring her back to full health after liver cancer. Even though things ended so sadly, it sounds as if White passed her fighting spirit along to her family, and served as a major inspiration to everyone during her 81 years. It's presumably the same warm and understanding spirit that she brought to Muriel on Courage the Cowardly Dog during its four-season run on Cartoon Network from 1999-2002.

The spooky and surreal animated series gained a large following of fans both during its initial run and in the years since it ended, thanks to TV reruns, DVDs and an evolution in generation-spanning animated fare. In fact, Courage the Cowardly Dog's popularity is such that Thea White reprised the role of Muriel for the upcoming straight-to-video animated crossover feature Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog. It's the Scooby-Doo mash-up that fans have been wanting ever since Cartoon Network first grouped the two horror-centric mutts together during a shared marathon back in 2000, and Muriel's return was definitely part of the excitement.

That wasn't even the first time Thea White was involved with the Scooby-Doo universe, as she also voiced the character Aunt Margaret in the 2011 straight-to-video feature Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur. Beyond that, her other voice role was for the Canadian preschooler series Pecola.

Below you can watch the 2021 Galaxy Con panel for Courage the Cowardly Dog, for which Thea White shared fun and hilarious stories (virtually) along with fellow cast members Marty Grabstein and Paul Schoeffler, as well as show creator John Dilworth.

Born in 1940, Thea White was the daughter and granddaughter of Vaudevillian women, which sparked her interest in acting. She studied the craft after high school, attending Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts among other institutions, and later became the personal assistant of Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich. White also served as a librarian in later years, and was married to famed UK drummer Andy White from 1983 until his death in 2015.

Below is the full Facebook post from Thea White's nephew.

We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to Thea White's family and friends during this sad time.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.