American actor Samuel E Wright, best known for starring as voiceover artist of Sebastian in the Disney’s The Little Mermaid, has died at the age of 74.
Wright sang the Oscar-winning song Under The Sea in 1989 and went on to play Mufasa in the first Broadway drama of The Lion King.
Other works include jazz star Dizzy Gillespie in Clint Eastwood’s Bird.
Billboard Tribute By Disney
Disney marked the death of this wonderful actor with a billboard honor at The Lion King’s first music venue in New York.
Born in Camden, South Carolina in 1946, Wright was part of the first Broadway cast of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971.
He was also the replacement of Ben Vereen in Pippin’s music and received Tony’s 1984 nomination for The Tap Dance Kid.
Tony’s second nomination was followed in 1998 for his role as King Mufasa in The Lion King, a 1994 version of Disney’s film adaptation.
But he was best known for voicing Sebastian, a role he repeated in the Little Mermaid TV series and in other cartoon spin-offs.
“Sebastian gave me what I always wanted as an actor, and that’s immortality,” Wright told Entertainment Weekly in 1991.
“Personally, that’s why I’m in business. I want the whole world to love me, remember me forever.”
Cause Of Death
Famous fans include Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who named his eldest son Wright’s pernickety crustacean.
According to his family, Wright died Monday at his home in Walden, New York after three years of battling prostate cancer.
The Hudson Valley Conservatory, Wright, founded in Walden in 1994, described him as “its beloved leader and advisor”.