How did Samuel E Wright die? 'The Little Mermaid' Sebastian's voice actor dies at 74, fans say 'you were gifted'

Samuel E Wright passed away at his home in New York City, leaving behind his wife and four children

                            How did Samuel E Wright die? 'The Little Mermaid' Sebastian's voice actor dies at 74, fans say 'you were gifted'
Samuel E Wright famous for voicing the character of Sebastian the crab on 'The Little Mermaid' died at 74 on May 24 (Getty Images/DisneyMusicVevo/YouTube)

Famed voice actor Sebastian E Wright who played Sebastian in 'The Little Mermaid' has died at age 74. He passed away on May 24, the news of his death was confirmed on the Facebook page of his town. 

"Today, the Town of Montgomery mourns the loss of Sam Wright. Pictured here with Town Supervisor Brian Maher and his brother Patrick in Walden in the early 1990’s. Sam was an inspiration to us all and along with his family established the Hudson Valley Conservatory," the post read. 


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Actor Samuel Wright attends Disney's The Little Mermaid special screening at Walter Reade Theater on September 21, 2013 in New York City (Getty Images)

How did Sebastian E Wright die?

Wright died peacefully in his sleep at his New York City home following a three-year battle with prostate cancer. The Facebook post further detailed how the late actor and his family had been instrumental in inspiring the youth around the town. 

"Sam and his family have impacted countless Hudson Valley youth always inspiring them to reach higher and dig deeper to become the best version of themselves. On top of his passion for the arts and his love for his family, Sam was most known for walking into a room and simply providing PURE JOY to those he interacted with.

"He loved to entertain, he loved to make people smile and laugh and he loved to love. The greater Town of Montgomery Community mourns together today. As we say goodbye to a pillar in our community and ask everyone to share a memory and help us celebrate the life of this great man," the post concluded. 



Samuel E Wright's movie and stage credits

In his career spanning 50 years, Wright appeared in multiple movies, television, and stage productions, his most famous gig being Sebastian the crab. He had provided the lead vocals for the song 'Under the Sea' from the movie which went on to win an Academy Award and the song continues to bring tears to the eyes of fans even today. His last credited role was again for Sebastian in the 2008 video, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. He started out his drama career on Broadway in 1971 and had roles in several productions including Jesus Christ Superstar and Two Gentlemen of Verona, as well as The Tap Dance Kid, for which he received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He was also nominated for originating the role of Mufasa in 'The Lion King' on Broadway. 

Another prominent role of Wright's was playing the dancing bunch of grapes in almost 50 Fruit of the Loom commercials over 19 years, all before he first auditioned to play Sebastian. "I take every role I get seriously, whether it's a crab or a grape," he said in a 1991 interview with Entertainment Weekly. 

Fans are mourning the passing of the actor with the golden voice and they've rushed to Twitter to pay tribute to him. "So sad and devastated to hear that the great voice actor Samuel E Wright has passed away. The awesome voice actor of Sebastian and the best song he sang #underthesea. May he rest in piece and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," wrote a fan. "Oh MAN, RIP Samuel E. Wright. It's hard to overstate how important The Little Mermaid was to Disney. I'm not sure that movie would've worked without Sebastian or his songs, and I'm not sure the character would've worked without Wright's vocals," another fan wrote.

Sebastian the crab from 'The Little Mermaid' was voiced by Samuel E. Wright, which remains one of his most memorable roles (DisneyMusicVevo/Youtube)





"I can't think of "Under the Sea" or "Kiss the Girl" without hearing this man's voice in my head. And I bet you can't either. We lost a very bright star in the sky today. Gonna miss you, Samuel E Wright. Rest in power," another tweet read. "Oh no Little Mermaid was the 1st Disney movie I saw as a kid, absolutely loved Samuel E Wright as Sebastian. Also got to see & meet Sam when he was in Lion King on Broadway. What a lovely man & amazing performers. God rest his soul," wrote another fan.