Eddie Carroll, an actor who for decades gave voice to Jiminy Cricket in Disney projects and impersonated Jack Benny in a noted one-man stage show, has died. He was 76.
Carroll died Tuesday from a brain tumor at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, said his wife, Carolyn.
He was so proud to do both roles," his wife said. He just admired the whole fantasy of Jiminy Cricket, and he loved the man . . . who was Jack Benny."
In 1973, Carroll became only the second actor to voice the cricket, who was the title character's conscience in the 1940 animated film Pinocchio."
Before auditioning, Carroll studied Jiminy's signature song, When You Wish Upon a Star," sung by Cliff Edwards, who died in 1971. The Canadian-born Carroll realized that he needed to adopt a Midwestern accent.
His agent did back flips" when Carroll got the part, he told the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News in 2008. He knew the role was a cottage industry. . . . There's something practically every month -- a singalong film, computer game, recording as spokesman for Disney on Ice, a show at Disneyland or Disney World."
No one else has voiced a Disney character for as long as Carroll did, said Rick Dempsey, senior vice president of Disney's Character Voices division.
He totally was Jiminy Cricket," Dempsey said. He really took what the character was into his own heart and in a sense lived that in his own life. He also was one of the best Jack Benny impersonators on the planet."
When a crew member on a 1982 film set dropped a prop that ruined a scene, Carroll broke the tension by bursting out with a trademark Benny line, Oh, for heaven's sake, Rochester!" and everybody laughed," he later recalled.