American actor (1914-2005). Born in Norfolk, Nebraska, he studied interior design at California's Otis Art Institute before deciding to break into show business. His comedic talents and strong baritone singing voice made him a much in-demand player, appearing regularly on several radio programs, including singing backup for Bing Crosby on "The Kraft Music Hall."

Ravenscroft joined a quartet called the Sportsmen, though he left the group in 1942 to enlist in the Air Transport Command, where he served as a navigator for five years flying over the North Atlantic. After getting out of the military in 1947, he returned to Hollywood, hoping to hook back up with the Sportsmen, but contract disputes with the Jack Benny Show and personnel issues kiboshed the idea. He and another former Sportsman, Max Smith, formed the Mellomen in 1948, and they quickly got busy with a variety of projects in TV, radio, film, commercials, and backup vocals. All the way through the early '60s, they performed with stars like Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Rosemary Clooney, and they worked in several different productions for Walt Disney.

Despite his good looks, comic timing, and towering 6' 5" height, Ravenscroft rarely got any roles in live-action films. Most of his work was voice acting in cartoons. Ravenscroft was a voice actor in Disney films like "Cinderella," "The Jungle Book," and "Mary Poppins," and on Disneyland rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and Splash Mountain.

Among the commercial contracts that the Mellomen worked on was Kellogg's cereal, which led to the project that Ravenscroft is probably best-known for: providing the voice of Tony the Tiger, the mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. His hearty baritone voice growling "They're GRRRRRRREAT!" was a perfect match, and Ravenscroft provided the voice for Tony from 1952 to his death.

The other project that Ravenscroft is well-known for was singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in the wildly-popular Dr. Seuss/Chuck Jones cartoon of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Horror legend Boris Karloff narrated the cartoon, and many people still think that Karloff also sang the song, but no, it was definitely Ravenscroft. The success of the cartoon led to more Ravenscroft performances in more Seuss cartoons, including "Horton Hears a Who," "The Cat in the Hat," and "The Lorax."

From 1973-93, Ravenscroft also participated in the "Pageant of the Masters" at the Laguna Beach Arts Festival, narrating "tableaux vivants," or paintings modeled and acted out by live actors. He was a frequent soloist in the Crystal Cathedral's "Hour of Power" and narrated "The Glory of Christmas" for the church, starting in 1981.

Ravenscroft died of prostate cancer in Fullerton, California, on May 24, 2005.

Research from:
the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)
All Things Thurl (http://members.aol.com/allthurl/thurl2.htm)
http://www.thelouisvillechannel.com/entertainment/4523481/detail.html


UPDATE: Obviously, Thurl Ravenscroft had the World's Coolest Name. Our friend allseeingeye sez: "Sounds like a quality vampire name. Or a tortured 19th century American horror author, like Poe or Lovecraft."

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