Ten Facts About Sterling Holloway
In the pantheon of Disney history, perhaps only Ed Wynn has a voice as distinct and beloved as that of Sterling Holloway. Over 36 years, he worked as a voice actor and narrator for Disney features and short films. He became a Disney Legend in 1991, the first to receive the honor in the Voice category. Outside of the world of Disney, he appeared in over 150 films. Here’s a brief look at the career of the man once described as the “first spoken teddy bear”.
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts
As a teenager, Holloway attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was the youngest student ever accepted into the school, where he befriended fellow student Spencer Tracey. He graduated from the Academy in 1923 and joined the New York Theatre Guild.
Rodgers and Hart
In 1925, Holloway appeared in The Garrick Gaities by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. He sang the song “Manhattan”, which provided the first hit for the songwriting pair, who then went on to create 28 musicals and over 500 songs together.
Holloway was briefly considered for the role of Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but was ultimately passed over. The role went to Pinto Colvig, the actor who originated the voices of Goofy, Pluto, and provided the second voice for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Songwriters Frank Churchill and Ned Washington warned viewers of Dumbo to “Look Out For Mr. Stork”. As it turned out, Mr. Stork was voiced by Sterling Holloway in his Disney debut.
The next Disney film to feature Holloway was 1942’s Bambi. Holloway provided the voice for the grown up Flower, the shy skunk.
Alice in Wonderland
In 1951, Holloway provided the voice for the disappearing, mischief making Cheshire Cat, singing Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “Jabberwocky”.
The Jungle Book
Holloway also served as the voice for the hypnotic, devious snake Kaa, singing the song “Trust in Me” by Richard and Robert Sherman.
In The Aristocats, Duchess, Toulouse, Berlioz and Marie are friends with a small mouse named Roquefort who lives in the Bonfamille Mansion. Holloway provided the voice for the mouse.
The Three Caballeros and Others
In addition to his feature films, Holloway provided the voice for the Cold Blooded Penguin and Professor Holloway in The Three Caballeros. He narrated Peter and the Wolf in Make Mine Music, along with appearances in The Little House, The Pelican and the Snipe, Lambert, the Sheepish Lion, and Susie, the Little Blue Coupe.
Holloway’s most iconic role was that of a bear of very little brain. He provided the voice for Winnie-The-Pooh in Winnie-The-Pooh and the Blustery Day, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger Too, and The Many Adventures of Winnie-The-Pooh.