'Grrrreeaat' Voiceover Artist Dies

Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger, is shown in this undated photo with the cereal cartoon character. Ravenscroft, who provided the rumbling "They're Grrrrreeeat!" for Kellogg's Tony the Tiger ads and voiced a host of Disney characters, died Sunday, May 22, 2005. He was 91. AP

Thurl Ravenscroft, who provided the rumbling "They're Grrrrreeeat!" for Kellogg's Tony the Tiger ads and voiced a host of Disney characters, has died. He was 91.

Ravenscroft died Sunday of prostate cancer, said Diane Challis Davy, director of Laguna Beach's Pageant of the Masters.

For more than 50 years, Ravenscroft was the affable voice behind Tony the Tiger, TV's popular cartoon pitchman for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

"I'm the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: Grrrrreeeat!" Ravenscroft told the Orange County Register in 1996. "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 `Grrrrreeeat!' roar, and that's how it's been since then."

He also narrated the summertime Pageant of the Masters at Laguna Beach for 20 years and lent his voice to characters on thrill rides at Disneyland, including the Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Haunted Mansion.

His association with Disneyland goes back to its opening day in 1955, when he was the announcer for many of the ceremonies and events.

"Disneyland wouldn't have been, and wouldn't be, the same without him," the park's former president, Jack Lindquist, told the Register. "His voice was one of the things that made it all come alive."

Disneyland provided a rare opportunity to see Ravenscroft.

He "is one of the busts in the Haunted Mansion," Werner Weiss, webmaster of www.yesterland.com, a popular Internet site that highlights popular Disneyland attractions, told the Register. "He's uncredited, as so many cast members at the park are, but it's his face, and voice. It's unusual. You actually see him in that attraction, a man whose voice you're heard a thousand times."
  • Lloyd Vries

Comments