Thurl Ravenscroft, RIP: voice of Haunted Mansion and Grinch song, Tony the Tiger

Thurl Ravenscroft has died at 91. Ravenscroft sang lead on the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" theme for the Haunted Mansion, as well as "You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch." He was also known as the voice of Frosted Flakes's Tony the Tiger. Ravenscroft died from causes related to colon cancer.

Thurl was, in a way, the oldest working cartoon voice actor in the business. During the thirties, he was heard on radio as part of several different singing groups that eventually came to be known as The Sportsmen and later, he was in The Mellomen. One of his groups recorded voice tracks for a couple of Warner Brothers cartoons, such as the 1939 Sioux Me. Soon after, he began appearing in shorts for Mr. Disney, such as The Nifty Nineties (1941) and Springtime for Pluto (1944). Walt evidently liked the Ravenscroft sound because not only was he heard throughout the theme parks but he was also a voice in Dumbo, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins and many more.

All of this was in addition to Thurl's many, many credits as a studio singer. His most famous hit may have been backing up Rosemary Clooney on "This Old House," but he was also heard in many records for Spike Jones (like "Wyatt Earp Makes Me Burp," a Dr. Demento fave) and The Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby and even Elvis. He was also called upon often to dub singing voices for other actors. All throughout the 1958 movie of South Pacific, there's a handsome sailor with a rich, deep singing voice. The voice is that of Thurl Ravenscroft. In the seventies, he did a lot of work for arranger Johnny Mann and was featured often as "Pappy" on the TV show, Stand Up and Cheer.


(Thanks, John!)