Samuel E. Wright Tributes Flood in After 'Little Mermaid' Voice Actor Dies at 74

Voice actor Samuel E. Wright, best known as the voice of Sebastian the crab from Disney's The Little Mermaid, has passed away at the age of 74.

The news of Wright's death was confirmed in a Facebook post by his hometown of Montgomery, New York, on Tuesday who praised the joy the late resident brought to the community. His cause of death has not been confirmed.

"Today, the Town of Montgomery mourns the loss of Sam Wright," the post reads. "Sam was an inspiration to us all and along with his family established the Hudson Valley Conservatory."

"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," the post continues. "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," the Facebook post added.

Samuel E. Wright
Samuel E. Wright attends the 20th Anniversary Performance of "The Lion King" on Broadway After Party at The Minskoff Theatre on November 5, 2017 in New York City. The actor has died at 74. Walter McBride//Getty/WireImage

Wright was best known for taking part in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid and its seminal musical number "Under the Sea" as well as the much loved "Kiss the Girl." He also voiced Ariel's trusty sidekick in other projects such as House of Mouse and The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea.

Born in Camden, South Carolina in 1946, he played multiple roles as part of the original 1971 cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway.

He then went on to play Mufasa in the original Broadway production of The Lion King, for which he earned a second Tony Award nomination. The first came after his role in The Tap Dance Kid, also on Broadway.

The Lion King production paid tribute to Wright following his passing on Twitter.

"'Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.' Rest In Peace, Samuel E. Wright | 1946 – 2021," the account for the show tweeted. "Original Broadway Cast, Mufasa."

“Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.” Rest In Peace, Samuel E. Wright | 1946 – 2021
Original Broadway Cast, Mufasa.

— The Lion King - Musical (@TheLionKing) May 25, 2021

Author Malorie Blackman posted a tribute reading: "RIEP Samuel E. Wright. Your song Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid is one of my favourites from any musical ever."

RIEP Samuel E. Wright. Your song Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid is one of my favourites from any musical ever.

— Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) May 26, 2021

"Aw man! What a talented and wonderful performer...RIP #SamuelEWright!" said YouTuber Grace Randolph.

While actor Cedric Yarbrough added: "This gentleman inspired a generation of black kids to love voice over work like me."

Broadway World tweeted: "BroadwayWorld is saddened to report on the passing of Samuel E. Wright, who was best known for creating the voice of Sebastian in the 1989 film #TheLittleMermaid."

Meanwhile, a fan tweeted: "I'm very sad to hear that Samuel E. Wright passed away today at the age of 74. He was best known for voicing Sebastian in The Little Mermaid as well as playing Mufasa on Broadway in The Lion King. He will be missed."

While another added: "I am very heartbroken to hear that Samuel E. Wright, the talented actor best known for being the longtime voice of Sebastian from 'The Little Mermaid,' has died at the age of 74.

"Thank you for showing us that life is the bubbles under the sea. We will dearly miss you, Sam."