Sterling Holloway

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Sterling Holloway
Holloway, circa 1930s
Sterling Price Holloway Jr.

(1905-01-14)January 14, 1905
DiedNovember 22, 1992(1992-11-22) (aged 87)
Years active1926–1986
ChildrenRichard Holloway (adopted) [1]

Sterling Price Holloway Jr. (January 14, 1905 – November 22, 1992) was an American actor, who appeared in over 100 films and 40 television shows. [2] He did voice acting for The Walt Disney Company, including providing original voice-work for Mr. Stork in Dumbo , Kaa in The Jungle Book and the title character in Winnie the Pooh .


Early life

Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Holloway was named after his father, Sterling Price Holloway (1864–1930), who, in turn, was named after a prominent Confederate general, Sterling "Pap" Price. His mother was Rebecca DeHaven Boothby (1879–1963). He had a younger brother named Boothby (1909–1978). The family owned a grocery store in Cedartown, where his father served as mayor in 1912. After graduating from Georgia Military Academy in 1920 at the age of fifteen, he left Georgia for New York City, where he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. [3] While there, he befriended actor Spencer Tracy, whom he considered one of his favorite working colleagues.


Motion pictures and shorts

In his late teens, Holloway toured with the stock company of The Shepherd of the Hills , [4] performing in one-nighters across much of the American West before returning to New York where he accepted small walk-on parts from the Theatre Guild, and appeared in the Rodgers and Hart revue The Garrick Gaieties in the mid-1920s. A talented singer, he introduced "Manhattan" in 1925, and the following year sang "Mountain Greenery". [3]

He moved to Hollywood in 1926 to begin a film career that lasted almost 50 years. His bushy red hair and high pitched voice meant that he almost always appeared in comedies. His first film was The Battling Kangaroo (1926), a silent picture. Over the following decades, Holloway would appear with Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Lon Chaney Jr., Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, and John Carradine. In 1942, during World War II, Holloway enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 37 and was assigned to the Special Services. He helped develop a show called "Hey Rookie", which ran for nine months and raised $350,000 for the Army Relief Fund. In 1945, Holloway played the role of a medic assigned to an infantry platoon in the critically acclaimed film A Walk in the Sun . During 1946 and 1947, he played the comic sidekick in five Gene Autry Westerns. [5]

With Walt Disney

Walt Disney considered Holloway for the voice of Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), but chose Pinto Colvig instead. Holloway's voice work in animated films began with Dumbo (1941), as the voice of Mr. Stork. Holloway was the voice of the adult Flower in Bambi (1942), the narrator of the Antarctic penguin sequence in The Three Caballeros (1944) and the narrator in the Peter and the Wolf sequence of Make Mine Music (1946).

He was the voice of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (1951); the narrator in The Little House (1952), Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952), and Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952); Kaa the snake in The Jungle Book (1967); and Roquefort in The Aristocats (1970). He is perhaps best remembered as the voice of Winnie the Pooh in Disney's Winnie the Pooh featurettes through 1977. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1991, the first person to receive the award in the voice category. His final role was Hobe Carpenter, a friendly moonshiner who helps Harley Thomas (David Carradine) in Thunder and Lightning (1977). A majority of his roles were inherited by voice actor Jim Cummings following his death.

Radio and recordings

Holloway acted on many radio programs, including The Railroad Hour , The United States Steel Hour , Suspense, Lux Radio Theater, and The Shadow. In the late 1940s, he could be heard in various roles on NBC's "Fibber McGee and Molly". His voice retained a touch of its Southern drawl and was instantly recognizable. Holloway was chosen to narrate many children's records, including Uncle Remus Stories (Decca), Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (Disneyland Records), Walt Disney Presents Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (Disneyland Records) and Peter And The Wolf (RCA Victor).


Holloway with William Bendix on The Life of Riley, 1957 Life of riley 1957.JPG
Holloway with William Bendix on The Life of Riley, 1957
Holloway with Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show, 1962 Andy Griffith Sterling Holloway Andy Griffith Show 1962.JPG
Holloway with Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show, 1962

Holloway easily made the transition from radio to television. He appeared on the Adventures of Superman as "Uncle Oscar", an eccentric inventor, and played a recurring role on The Life of Riley . He guest-starred on Fred Waring's CBS television program in the 1950s and appeared on Circus Boy as a hot air balloonist. Some other series on which he performed include Five Fingers (episode "The Temple of the Swinging Doll"), The Untouchables , The Real McCoys ("The Jinx"), Hazel , Pete and Gladys , The Twilight Zone ("What's in the Box"), The Brothers Brannagan , Gilligan's Island , The Andy Griffith Show , The Donald O'Connor Show , Peter Gunn , F Troop , and Moonlighting . During the 1970s, Holloway did commercial voice-overs for Purina Puppy Chow dog food and sang their familiar jingle, "Puppy Chow/For a full year/Till he's full-grown!". He also provided the voice for Woodsy Owl in several 1970s and 1980s United States Forest Service commercials. In 1982 he auditioned for the well-known comic book character Garfield but lost to Lorenzo Music. In 1984, he provided voice-over work for a commercial for Libby's baked beans. [6]

Personal life and death

Holloway was a lifelong Democrat who supported the campaign of Adlai Stevenson during the 1956 United States presidential election. [7] Holloway adhered to Methodism. [8]

Throughout his life, Holloway remained a confirmed bachelor. He once said this was because he felt lacking in nothing and did not wish to disturb his pattern of life. He did adopt a son, Richard Holloway. [5]

Holloway died from cardiac arrest on November 22, 1992, in a Los Angeles hospital. His remains were cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. [9]

Fellow Winnie the Pooh cast member Hal Smith (who originated the character Owl) took over the role of Winnie the Pooh for the 1981 short Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons . Holloway was given the chance to return to the role for The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh but, at 83 years old, could no longer perform the voice as he used to; [10] Jim Cummings took over the role as well as most of Holloway's other voice roles, including Kaa in Jungle Cubs and The Jungle Book 2 .


Feature films

Short subjects

  • The Battling Kangaroo (1926) as Napoleon French
  • The Girl from Everywhere (1927) as Assistant Director
  • The Girl from Nowhere (1928) as Minor Role (uncredited)
  • One Track Minds (1933) as Train Snack Salesman
  • Not the Marrying Kind (1933)
  • Meeting Mazie (1933)
  • Born April First (1934)
  • Pleasing Grandpa (1934)
  • Picnic Perils (1934)
  • Sterling's Rival Romeo (1934) as Sterling
  • Father Knows Best (1935) as Bashful Boy
  • My Girl Sally (1935)
  • Bring 'Em Back A Lie (1935)
  • Double Crossed (1935)
  • His Last Fling (1935)
  • The Pelican & The Snipe (1944) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
  • The Cold-Blooded Penguin (1944) as Narrator (voice)
  • Donald's Crime (1945) as Donald's Conscience (voice)
  • Unusual Occupations L-5-2 (1945) as Himself
  • Peter & The Wolf (1946) as Narrator (voice)
  • Moron Than Off (1946) as Elmer Fossdinkle
  • Mr. Wright Goes Wrong (1946)
  • Scooper Dooper (1947) as Himself
  • Hectic Honeymoon (1947) as Eddie Jones
  • Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947) as Narrator (voice, 1955 TV version)
  • Speaking of Animals No. Y7-1: Dog Crazy (1947) as Dog Owner
  • Man or Mouse (1948) as Elmer Dinkle
  • Flat Feat (1948) as Officer Sterling Smith / Smith's Father
  • Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952) as Narrator / Mr. Stork (voice)
  • Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952) as Narrator (voice)
  • The Little House (1952) as Narrator
  • Ben and Me (1953) as Amos Mouse (voice)
  • Goliath II (1960) as Narrator (voice)
  • Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) as Winnie the Pooh (voice)
  • Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) as Winnie the Pooh (voice)
  • Man, Monsters & Mysteries (1974) as Nessie (voice)
  • Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) as Winnie the Pooh (voice)



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