Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tony the Tiger Roars No More

Thurl Ravenscroft of Fullerton, whose voice was known worldwide through his work in movies, TV and at Disneyland, died Sunday from prostate cancer. He was 91.

Tony the Tiger?

That was Ravenscroft.

The Pageant of the Masters narrator?

Ravenscroft again.

Disneyland? Too many voices to mention, but Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room were all graced by Ravenscroft’s pliable, unique voice.

Movies? How about "Cinderella," "Dumbo" and "Lady and the Tramp"?

* * *

In 1952, Ravenscroft achieved a measure of immortality, thanks to a TV commercial.

"I’m the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: Grrrrreeeeat!" Ravenscroft roared in a 1996 interview with The Orange County Register. "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."

Ravenscroft's distinctive basso voice can also be heard on the familiar soundtrack of the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While Boris Karloff provided the narration, Ravenscroft sang the immortal line, "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch."

The breakfast cereal jungles have lost a mean roar.

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