Saturday, July 16, 2011

Veteran Comic Gives Voice to Disney's Winnie the Pooh

07.16.11 - Sterling Holloway provided the first speaking voice for one of the most famous and beloved characters in children's literature.

Winnie the Pooh is given voice in Walt Disney's enchanting animated cartoon feature, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, by Sterling Holloway, speaking for one of the most famous and beloved characters in children's literature.

The veteran motion picture, television and radio performer was the personal choice of Disney, who found in Holloway's plaintive and unique voice the exact vocal quality he had envisioned for the roly-poly little bear.

During the past 35 years, Holloway's voice has often been heard in Disney's animated-cartoon productions. He spoke for the stork in Dumbo, the zany Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland and the little mouse, Amos, in Ben and Me." He also did the voice for Kaa, the snake, in Jungle Book and Roquefort, the mouse, in The Aristocats, as well as many characters in Disney short subjects.

Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Holloway was educated at Cedartown schools and at Georgia Military Academy, Atlanta. His father was Sterling Price Holloway, a wholesale grocer and cotton broker.

From an early age Sterling wanted to he an actor and participated in many amateur theatricals. At the age of 15 he entered the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York City. His classmates included Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, and Allen Jenkins, all destined to win fame on the screen.

Before he was 18, Holloway had appeared on the stage traveling with a touring company of The Shepherd of the Hills, playing one-night stands throughout the West. He later joined the Theater Guild and appeared in The Failures, four editions of the Garrick Gaieties, and in Donna Magana.

While visiting in Pasadena he made his movie debut in two-reel comedies and was featured with Wallace Beery in Casey at the Bat.

He returned then to New York to appear in a number of musical revues, vaudeville, and supper clubs. He embarked on a successful career in radio.

Brought West again by the Pasadena Playhouse to star in the musical-comedy, Hullabaloo, he remained to resume his movie career. In addition to being heard in the aforementioned Disney animated cartoons, Holloway has been seen in a great number of screen hits, including Elmer the Great, The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, and A Walk in the Sun.

One of the finest comedians and character creators in show business, Holloway has etched many memorable screen portrayals with a distinct voice and wistful, boyish appeal that he combines with an air of diffidence and gentle awkwardness.

Holloway lives quietly in Laguna Beach, a quaint art colony south of Los Angeles, and spends much of his free time reading and gardening.

Filmed in brilliant Technicolor and co-directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and John Lounsbery, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is re-released in feature form by Buena Vista.
From the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh press materials.

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