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Actor Eddie Carroll dead at 76

April 11, 2010 at 1:21 PM

LOS ANGELES, April 11 (UPI) -- The voice of Disney's Jiminy Cricket -- actor Eddie Carroll -- has died of a brain tumor in California at age 76, his wife says.

Carroll, who was also known for his stage tribute to comic Jack Benny, died Tuesday at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, his wife, Carolyn, told the Los Angeles Times.

Carroll became the second actor to give voice to Jiminy Cricket, starting in 1973, the Times said. The native Canadian holds the record for voicing the same Disney character longer than anyone else, Rick Dempsey, senior vice president of Disney's Character Voices division, told the Times.

"He totally was Jiminy Cricket," Dempsey said. "He really took what the character was into his own heart and in a sense lived that in his own life. He also was one of the best Jack Benny impersonators on the planet."

Carroll toured six months out of the year in his one-man tribute, "Jack Benny: Laughter in Bloom," from the mid 1980s up until last years, the Times said.

He was born Eddie Eleniak in Edmonton, Alberta, and went to high school with a young Robert Goulet, the Times said. The friends moved to Los Angeles as part of an NBC talent program in the mid-1950s and he formed a production company in the 1960s with "MASH" star Jamie Farr.

In addition to his wife, Carroll is survived by children, Tia Monti and Leland Carroll; and brothers, Bob Elen and Dale Eleniak.

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