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Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find it informative!
Pat Carroll–A Nightclub Performer and Comedienne Who Became A Stage and Screen Star
Pat Carroll, 1972
Pat Carroll is an entertainer that you have likely heard before but might not have known her name. In recent years a highlight of her long career was to voice the role of Ursula the Sea Witch in Disney’s1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. She has done a great deal of television, and is perhaps best remembered as playing Shirley’s mother on the hit television show from the 1970s and 80s, Laverne and Shirley, as well as Bunny Halper on The Danny Thomas Show, which was produced from the 1950s and into the 60s.
For a quick overview of Pat Carroll’s career, you can begin by looking at the Wikipedia entry, a brief biography and listing of her many credits at filmreference.com, as well as at IMDB. James Gavin, in Intimate Nights, includes several quotations by Pat Carroll that describe some of her time as a nightclub entertainer, as well as the most articulate biographical information on Pat Carroll that I have seen thus far. At this time, I could find no biography or autobiography of Pat Carroll, nor official website.
Marjorie Lord (left) and Pat Carroll (right) from The Danny Thomas Show, 1965
Pat Carroll has worked in a variety of different entertainment fields. In the 1950s she worked in nightclubs in New York such as the Ruban Bleu. Ms. Carroll also worked in theatre but, like so many middle-aged female actors, found it difficult to get cast during this period of her life, and so she turned to television, where she was a success on several game shows, and earned an Emmy for her work on Sid Caesar’s Caesar’s Hour (Gavin 119). She did have the last laugh when she won critical acclaim for her one-woman stage show about Gertrude Stein, which, according to Gavin in Intimate Nights, “opened off-Broadway, toured the country, and was televised by PBS” (117). Although known for her humor, Pat Carroll also won acclaim for her surprising portrayal in 1990 as Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Shakespeare Theatre at The Folger.
Here is a 2011 interview of Pat Carroll from You Tube:
And the first part of three of the TV game show Password with Johnny Carson and Pat Carroll from You Tube:
What are your favorite Pat Carroll roles? Please leave a comment below and tell us about it–I would love to hear from you!
Till next time,
ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party will begin anew on Monday–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or website link every Monday through Thursday. Link is below.
Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time