Aladdin had Robin Williams as The Genie. The Lion King had James Earl Jones as Mufasa. And The Little Mermaid had Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian.
Amidst the timeless 1989 classic, Wright’s phenomenal vocal performance stood above the rest. Disney‘s classic animation has impacted the lives of countless millions over the course of their existence, but its performances like Wright’s Sebastian that transcend pop culture and define a film’s heart and sound for entire generations.
Tragically, TMZ Reports Tuesday that Samuel E. Wright has died at the age of 74. The actor’s hometown of Montgomery, New York, announced his death on Facebook May 25, 2021:
“Sam was an inspiration to us all and along with his family established the Hudson Valley Conservatory,” his city remembers.
A cause of death is not yet known. Montgomery does, however, continue in their remembrance of Wright’s remarkable life.
“On top of his passion for the arts and his love for his family, Sam was most known for walking into a room and simply providing PURE JOY to those he interacted with. He loved to entertain, he loved to make people smile and laugh and he loved to love,” they continue via TMZ.
‘The Little Mermaid’ Icon, Actor, & Conservationist Samuel E. Wright
In addition to the original Little Mermaid film, Wright’s brilliant work continued on with the character into sequels and TV spinoffs. He was also featured in Disney’s 2000 CGI epic, “Dinosaur.”
Fascinatingly, Samuel E. Wright also originated the role of Mufasa for the Tony-Award winning The Lion King musical. His Broadway credits also include Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin. The late actor also held a long career in television, appearing on The Cosby Show, All My Children, and Enos.
Most famously, however, Wright’s work for Disney would propel Mermaid‘s “Kiss the Girl” to an Oscar-winning original song. Relive his immaculate, endlessly joyful performance below, and join us in remembering Samuel E. Wright:
Sha-la-la-la-la-la sing this song. Learn the words to The Little Mermaid’s “Kiss the Girl” with this lyric video.Disney