January 14, 1905 – Birth of Disney Legend Sterling Holloway.
In Disney’s animated film history, there is no voice more recognizable than that of Sterling Holloway, whose charming tenor brought to life some of film’s most beloved characters, including his most famous role of the silly old bear, Winnie the Pooh.
Holloway was born on January 14, 1905, in Cedartown, Georgia. At age 15, he left Georgia to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he also found work in vaudeville and on the radio. He moved to Hollywood in 1926, working in silent films. With the advent of talking films, many actors found themselves out of a job, but Holloway was saved by his voice, which gained him many roles in comedies. Among the actors Holloway worked with were Fred MacMurray, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, and Dick Powell.
In 1941, Holloway had his first role with the Disney Studios, playing the messenger stork in Dumbo. This led to several other voice roles in the feature films, including adult Flower in Bambi, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, and the narrator of the Peter and the Wolf segment in the package film Peter and the Wolf. He also voiced the character Kaa in The Jungle Book, where he sang the song “Trust in Me.” Holloway also narrated various short films, such as the World War II propaganda short The Pelican and the Snipe, The Little House, and Lambert, The Sheepish Lion. One of his showcase shorts, however, is the 1953 classic, Ben and Me, which received an Academy Award nomination. Holloway played the character Amos, who contributed greatly to Benjamin Franklin’s career.
Holloway’s most beloved role, however, is that of Winnie the Pooh. In 1966, Holloway first voiced the role in the featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, which was later added as a segment in the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Around the same time, Holloway also made his way onto TV screens, starring in episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Baileys of Balboa. For Disney, he narrated a special called “Christmas at Walt Disney World,” as well as a combination animation and live-action special called “The Restless Sea.”
Holloway was inducted into the Disney Legends on October 22, 1991. On November 22, 1992, Holloway passed away at the age of 87, leaving behind a legacy of beloved Disney film characters.