Better known for the voice of Tony the Tiger, the Grinch song, etc.
THURL RAVENSCROFT, 91
Singer was voice of Tony the Tiger
The Orange County Register
Published May 24, 2005
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Thurl Ravenscroft, whose voice was known worldwide through his work in movies, television and at Disneyland, has died of prostate cancer. He was 91.
Tony the Tiger?
That was Mr. Ravenscroft.
Disneyland? Too many voices to mention, but Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room were all graced by Mr. Ravenscroft's pliable, unique voice.
Movies? How about "Cinderella," "Dumbo" and "Lady and the Tramp"?
"Disneyland wouldn't have been, and wouldn't be, the same without him," said former park President Jack Lindquist. "It's all part of the experience. You can't go home with a ride, but you can go home with a memory, and part of that is the audio--the sound part of it. His voice was one of the things that made it all come alive."
Mr. Ravenscroft's involvement with Disneyland goes back to opening day in 1955. His voice has been heard on numerous Disneyland attractions.
Mr. Ravenscroft, who died Sunday, moved to California in 1933 to study interior design at the Otis College of Art and Design. While in school he was encouraged to go into show business and auditioned at Paramount studios to be a singer.
By the mid-1930s, he was appearing regularly on radio, first on a program titled "Goose Creek Parson." In the late 1930s, he appeared on the "The Kraft Music Hall" with Bing Crosby, singing backup in a group called the Paul Taylor Choristers.
After World War II, he returned to Hollywood and began a career in radio, movies, television and commercials.
In 1952, Mr. Ravenscroft achieved a measure of immortality, thanks to a television commercial.
"I'm the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: Grrrrreeeeat!" Mr. Ravenscroft said in a 1996 interview. "When Kellogg's brought up the idea of the tiger, they sent me a caricature of Tony to see if I could create something for them. After messing around for some time I came up with the `Great!' roar, and that's how it's been since then."
In 1966, Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones teamed up to do "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for CBS. Mr. Ravenscroft was the voice behind the song "You're a Mean One." He recalled the Grinch fondly, saying, "That was my chance to prove I could really sing." The success of the Grinch led to other projects with Dr. Seuss, including "Horton Hears a Who" and "The Cat in the Hat."
His singing career continued into the 1970s as a member of the Johnny Mann Singers.
Mr. Ravenscroft's wife of 53 years, June, died in 1999 at age 80. He is survived by two children and four grandchildren.