The International Jack Benny Fan Club is reporting that Eddie Carroll, voice of iconic Disney character Jiminy Cricket since 1973, has passed away of a brain tumor at the age of 76.
Carroll assumed the role after the death of Cliff Edwards in 1971 and had voiced the famous cricket for all manner of Disney media over the course of nearly 40 years, including the Kingdom Hearts video game series.
And up until what was described on his site as a “recent injury,” Carroll had been performing the critically-acclaimed one-man tribute stage show Jack Benny: Laughter in Bloom.
I received the following message from Laura Leff, president of The International Jack Benny Fan Club, on the morning of Tuesday, April 6th:
Eddie Carroll passed away about an hour ago. Today is also his and Carolyn’s wedding anniversary–47 years. And I read Eddie all the well-wishes that I had received up to about 10PM Pacific Time last night, so he knew that you were thinking of him.
There is a story told by one of the help at Jack’s house that shortly before he passed away, he woke up and said that he had been talking with Lyman Woods (his second vaudeville partner). Jack said that Lyman had shown him the afterlife, and that it was “beautiful”.
I’m sure many of us will want to envision Jack helping Eddie to make his exit to our standing ovation.
Update: 4.07.2010, 2:30 PM (EST): JackBenny.org has provided some additional details regarding the funeral and where to send donations:
For those who have asked about the funeral, it is going to be a private affair for the family only. In a few weeks, a number of Eddie’s friends will be pulling together a tribute to him, which will be entitled: “A Tribute to Eddie Carroll: A Life in Bloom”.
Eddie’s favorite charity was St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, so the family is asking that donations be made there. Here’s a link.
When Carolyn got home from the hospital, there was a beautiful arrangement of lilies waiting for her. They were from the Benny family with their appreciation for all that Eddie did for Jack. Appropriately, it was done by the same florist that Jack had deliver one red rose to Mary for every day for the rest of her life.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Eddie’s family and friends at this time.
I’ll provide a more detailed tribute to Eddie in the future as part of a larger project which is in development.
In the meantime, I’d like to spotlight other tributes from around the web:
And there are additional links in the comment thread below.