Actor Samuel E. Wright, who voiced Sebastian in Disney’s 1989 The Little Mermaid, has died aged 74, his family confirmed on Tuesday morning.
“My beautiful, strong, loving daddy is off to his next adventure,” his daughter Dee Kelly wrote in a tribute on Facebook. “My heart has so much to say but I’m still processing the fact that the light that was and is my daddy will not be able to physically be here with me.”
“Please continue to wrap us in love and please, please keep talking about my daddy,” she added. “Speak his name today, tell his stories, make someone smile by sharing something you learned from him. That is what he would want. Today we celebrate Samuel E Wright, my daddy.”
Wright helped secure an Oscar for The Little Mermaid by providing the leading vocals for “Under the Sea,” which won Best Original Song in 1989. The song also won a Grammy in 1990.
Wright, who lived in Montgomery, New York, continued to voice the character of Sebastian in various spinoffs of The Little Mermaid, including two TV series and the sequel movie. He also had an extensive career on Broadway, playing Mufasa in Disney’s Lion King when it opened in 1997. He also performed in Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin.