Thurl Ravenscroft: The Man Who Voiced Tony the Tiger and the Grinch Song

If I knew nothing about the man besides his credits, I’d be so glad to learn that his name was Thurl Ravenscroft (1914-2005), for when you learn what he’s famous for, you’ll agree that the man who did this stuff should be named Thurl Ravenscroft.

After attending the Otis Art Institute, Ravenscroft began a long association with Walt Disney, not as a cartoonist but as a voice-over artist. Ravenscroft possessed the deepest basso profundo voice in show business, one that remains legendary. He did the voice of Monstro the Whale in Pinocchio (1940), sang in Dumbo (1941) and Saludos Amigos. In 1948 he formed his vocal quartet The Mellomen, who sometimes performed with him on Disney projects as well as records by the likes of Spike Jones and others.

In 1952, Ravenscroft attained what may be his best known credit, the voice of Tony the Tiger in Frosted Flakes commercials (“They’re GREAT!”), which he performed for half a century. Ravenscroft’s voice can be heard on several of the classic rides at Disneyland, as well as in the films Alice in Wonderland (1951), Abbott and Costello’s Jack and the Beanstalk (1952), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Paul Bunyan (1958), Sleeping Beauty (1959), One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961), The Sword and the Stone (1963), and Mary Poppins (1964).

I have to pause here to inform you that Ravenscroft’s is the voice that sings “You’re a Mean One, Mr, Grinch” in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). His voice can also be heard in several Winnie the Pooh films, The Jungle Book (1967), Horton Hears a Who (1970), The Aristocats (1970), The Phantom Tollbooth (1970), The Cat in the Hat (1971), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Snoopy Come Home (1972), The Lorax (1972), The Hobbit (1977) and the Brave Little Toaster movies (1987-1998) among many other credits. He worked right up until his death in 2005.