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Sterling Holloway
Andy Griffith and Holloway in 1962
Born Sterling Price Holloway, Jr.
(1905-01-04)January 4, 1905
Cedartown, Georgia, U.S.
Died November 22, 1992(1992-11-22) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cardiac arrest
Place of burial Cremains buried in Pacific Ocean
Alma mater Georgia Military Academy[1]
Occupation Actor, voice actor
Years active 1926–1986
Notable work(s) Original voice of Winnie the Pooh, Kaa, Roquefort, Cheshire Cat, Adult Flower and Mr. Stork
Children Richard Holloway (adopted)[2]

Sterling Price Holloway Jr. (January 4, 1905 – November 22, 1992) was an American character actor and voice actor who appeared in over 100 films and 40 television shows. He was also a voice actor for The Walt Disney Company, well known for his distinctive tenor voice, and served as the original voice of the title character in Walt Disney's Winnie the Pooh.

Early life

Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Holloway was named after his father, Sterling Price Holloway, who himself was named after a prominent Confederate general, Sterling "Pap" Price. His mother was Rebecca DeHaven (some sources say her last name was Boothby). He had a younger brother named Boothby. 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 stock company of The Shepherd of the Hills, 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 review 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.[4] 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 originally 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 in 1941 when he was first heard in 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), 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).

Radio and recordings

Holloway acted on many radio programs, including The Railroad Hour, The United States Steel Hour, Suspense and Lux Radio Theater. In the late 1940s, he could be heard in various roles on NBC's "Fibber McGee and Molly". His distinctive tenor voice retained a touch of its Southern drawl and was very 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.

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]

Final years, death and legacy

Never married, Holloway once claimed this was because he felt lacking in nothing and did not wish to disturb his pattern of life,[5] but he did adopt a son, Richard.

Holloway died on November 22, 1992 of a cardiac arrest in a Los Angeles hospital. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.[7]

Voice actor Hal Smith took over the role of Winnie the Pooh for the 1981 short Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons. He would maintain the role until Jim Cummings replaced him in 1988 for The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and also took over most of Holloway's other voice roles, including Kaa in Jungle Cubs and The Jungle Book 2.


  • "I've always loved the theater very much. I've always been in it. I hate being away from it. I'm very stubborn — I like to do what I want to do. And what I want to do most is theater."[4]
  • "I started in show business when I was fifteen years old by enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. That was in 1920. Some of my classmates included Spencer Tracy, Allen Jenkins, and Pat O'Brien. You know what happened to them."[citation needed]


Feature films

  • Casey at the Bat (1927) as Elmer Putnam
  • American Madness (1932) as Oscar (uncredited)
  • Blonde Venus (1932) as Joe, Hiker (uncredited)
  • Faithless (1932) as Photographer (uncredited)
  • Rockabye (1932) as Speakeasy Pianist (uncredited)
  • Lawyer Man (1932) as Olga's Dining Friend (uncredited)
  • Hard to Handle (1933) as Andy Heaney (uncredited)
  • Blondie Johnson (1933) as Red Charley
  • Fast Workers (1933) as Pinky Magoo
  • Hell Below (1933) as Seaman Jenks
  • Elmer, the Great (1933) as Nick Kane
  • Picture Snatcher (1933) as Journalism Student (uncredited)
  • Adorable (1933) as Emile, Karl's Valet (uncredited)
  • International House (1933) as Sailor
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) as Second Hat Delivery Boy (uncredited)
  • Professional Sweetheart (1933) as Stu
  • When Ladies Meet (1933) as Jerome – the Caddy (uncredited)
  • Wild Boys of the Road (1933) as Ollie, another hobo
  • Dancing Lady (1933) as Pinky – the Show's Author
  • Advice To The Lovelorn (1933) as Benny
  • Alice in Wonderland (1933) as Frog
  • Going Hollywood (1933) as Radio Remote Technician (uncredited)
  • The Cat and the Fiddle (1934) as Flower Messenger (uncredited)
  • Strictly Dynamite (1934) as Elmer Fleming
  • The Back Page (1934) as Bill Giddings
  • Operator 13 (1934) as Wounded Union Soldier (uncredited)
  • Murder in the Private Car (1934) as Office Boy (uncredited)
  • Tomorrow's Children (1934) as Dr. Dorsey
  • Down to Their Last Yacht (1934) as Freddy Finn
  • Gift of Gab (1934) as Sound Effects Man
  • The Merry Widow (1934) as Orderly
  • Girl o' My Dreams (1934) as Spec Early
  • A Wicked Woman (1934) as Peter
  • Lottery Lover (1935) as Cadet Harold Stump
  • Life Begins At Forty (1935) as Chris
  • Doubting Thomas (1935) as Mr. Spindler
  • I Live My Life (1935) as Max
  • 1,000 Dollars A Minute (1935) as Pete
  • Rendezvous (1935) as Taxi Driver (uncredited)
  • Palm Springs (1936) as Oscar
  • Career Woman (1936) as George Rogers
  • Join the Marines (1937) as Alfred, the Steward
  • Maid of Salem (1937) as Miles Corbin – Cow Herder
  • When Love Is Young (1937) as Orville Kane
  • The Woman I Love (1937) as Duprez
  • Varsity Show (1937) as Trout
  • Behind the Mike (1937) as Tommy Astor
  • Of Human Hearts (1938) as Chauncey Ames
  • Dr. Rhythm (1938) as Luke (Ice-Cream Man)
  • Held For Ransom (1938) as RFD Mailman (uncredited)
  • Professor Beware (1938) as The Groom
  • Spring Madness (1938) as Buck
  • St. Louis Blues (1939) as Boatman (uncredited)
  • East Side of Heaven (1939) as Accordion player (uncredited)
  • Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) as Bee-Catcher
  • The Blue Bird (1940) as Wild Plum
  • Remember the Night (1940) as Willie
  • Hit Parade of 1941 (1940) as Soda Clerk
  • Street of Memories (1940) as Student Barber
  • Little Men (1940) as Reporter
  • Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) as Chris Jensen
  • Meet John Doe (1941) as Dan
  • The Great Awakening (1941) as Otto, the bookkeeper
  • Top Sergeant Mulligan (1941) as Frank Snark
  • Dumbo (1941) as Mr. Stork (voice)
  • Look Who's Laughing (1941) as Rusty, Soda Jerk (uncredited)
  • Don't Get Personal (1942) as Lucky
  • The Lady Is Willing (1942) as Arthur Miggle (uncredited)
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) as Sterling - 'Sweater, Sarong & Peekaboo Bang' number
  • Bambi (1942) as Adult Flower (voice, uncredited)
  • Iceland (1942) as Sverdrup Svenssen
  • Here We Go Again (1942) as Tommy, Western Union Messenger (uncredited)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944) as Prof. Holloway (voice)
  • Wildfire (1945) as Alkali Jones
  • A Walk in the Sun (1945) as McWilliams
  • Make Mine Music (1946) as Narrator (segment "Peter and the Wolf") (voice)
  • Death Valley (1946) as Slim
  • Sioux City Sue (1946) as Nellie Bly
  • Her Wonderful Lie (1947)
  • Trail to San Antone (1947) as Droopy Stearns
  • Twilight on the Rio Grande (1947) as Pokie
  • Saddle Pals (1947) as Waldo T. Brooks Jr.
  • Robin Hood of Texas (1947) as Droopy Haynes
  • Addio Mimí! (1949) as Aristide
  • The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949) as Basserman Boy
  • Alice in Wonderland (1951) as Vito the Cheshire Cat (voice)
  • Kentucky Rifle (1955) as Lon Setter
  • Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1956) as Albert 'Axe' McAllister
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) as Barber
  • Alakazam the Great (1960) as Narrator (English version, voice)
  • My Six Loves (1963) as Oliver Dodds (uncredited)
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as Fire Chief
  • Batman (1966; scenes deleted)
  • The Jungle Book (1967) as Kaa, The Snake (voice)
  • Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) as Milkman
  • The Aristocats (1970) as Roquefort, The Mouse (voice)
  • Cries (1975) as Narrator
  • Super Seal (1976) as Cap'n Zach
  • Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) as Old Man on Bus
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) as Winnie the Pooh (voice)
  • Thunder & Lightning (1977) as Hobe Carpenter

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)
  • Boy Meets Dog (1938) as Himself
  • 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)
  • 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)


  • Adventures of Superman (1953–55) as Prof. Oscar Quinn / Prof. Twiddle
  • The Life of Riley (1953–56) as Waldo Binny
  • The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (episode "Pancake Mix"; 1953) as The Groceryman
  • Willy (1955) as Harvey Evelyn
  • Our Mr. Sun (1956) as Chloro Phyll (voice, uncredited)
  • Hemo the Magnificent (1957) as Lab assistant (uncredited)
  • The Real McCoys (episode "The Jinx"; 1960) as Orval McCoy
  • Zane Grey Theatre (episode "Blood Red"; 1961) as Luther
  • The Andy Griffith Show (episode "The Merchant of Mayberry"; 1962) as Bert, a traveling salesman
  • Hazel ("The Retiring Milkman" Season 3, Episode 13; 1963) as Claude the Milkman
  • The Twilight Zone (episode "What's in the Box"; 1964) as TV Repairman
  • The Restless Sea (1964) as Mr. H2O (voice)
  • Burke's Law (episode 28, "Who Killed Annie Foran?"; 1964) as Fisk
  • The Baileys of Balboa (1964–65) as Buck Singleton
  • F-Troop (in the episode "Wilton the Kid"; 1966) as Sheriff Pat Lawton
  • That Girl (episode 14, "Phantom of the Horse Opera"; 1966) as Everett Valentine
  • Gilligan's Island (1967) as Burt, a prisoner with a homing pigeon
  • Tony the Pony (1976) as GG, the Wizard
  • Tukiki and His Search for a Merry Christmas (1979) as Northwind (voice)
  • We Think the World Is Round (1984) as Pegleg Pelican (voice)
  • Moonlighting (episode "Atomic Shakespeare"; 1986) as Narrator (voice) (final television appearance)



  • Rothel, David. 1984. Those Great Cowboy Sidekicks. Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, New Jersey; ISBN 0-8108-1707-1

External links

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