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Tony The Tiger Dies


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SANTA ANA, Calif. ? Thurl Ravenscroft of Fullerton, Calif., whose voice was known worldwide through his work in movies and television and at Disneyland, died Sunday 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 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. ... His voice was one of the things that made it all come alive."


Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft was born Feb. 6, 1914, in Norfolk, Neb. He 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. That group eventually became the Sportsmen Quartette.


After military service during World War II, he returned to Hollywood, later joining the Mellomen singing group, and beginning a career in radio, movies, television and commercials.


In 1952, Mr. 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!" Mr. Ravenscroft roared in an Orange County Register interview in 1996.


Mr. Ravenscroft's involvement with Disneyland goes back to opening day in 1955, when he was the announcer for many of the ceremonies and events. His voice has been heard on numerous attractions and rides.


In 1966, Dr. Seuss and animator Chuck Jones teamed up to do "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for CBS, and Mr. Ravenscroft was heard in the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." "That was my chance to prove I could really sing," Mr. Ravenscroft said.


His singing career continued into the 1970s. As a member of the Johnny Mann Singers, he sang on 28 albums and appeared on television for three seasons.




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