Samuel E. Wright, best known for his role as Sebastian the crab in the 1989 Disney
animated film “The Little Mermaid
,” died on Monday at the age of 74.
was announced on the Montgomery, New York Facebook
page, where he had lived for many years.
Dee Kelly, the actor's daughter, told The Hollywood
Reporter that her father had been battling prostate cancer
for three years.
She described him as "the brightest light."
Although the character of Sebastian gave Wright his pop-culture cachet, he had a long career on Broadway
, where he starred in musicals
such as "Pippin," "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "The Lion King," and in Hollywood, where he was a character actor in TV shows such as "All My Children
" and "The Cosby Show," and films such as Clint Eastwood's Charlie Parker biopic "Bird."
However, Wright's most well-known role required nothing more than his voice and singing ability.
As Sebastian, Wright debuted two Oscar-nominated songs from the film: "Under The Sea" (the winner) and "Kiss The Girl."
The crab was supposed to sound like a stuffy British man until lyricist Howard Ashman suggested a Caribbean accent instead.
Although many people
assumed Sebastian's accent was Jamaican, Wright claimed it was Trinidadian, and he recorded two reggae albums under the guise of Sebastian.
Wright also provided a voice in the 2000 film "Dinosaur" as the crusty crustacean in the sequels to "The Little Mermaid."
Kelly expressed her gratitude for her father's passing in a Facebook post on Tuesday, writing, "My beautiful, strong, loving daddy is off to his next adventure."
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