It’s Pure Sterling!

Everyone loves Winnie the Pooh. His fuzzy rotund body, his waddling walk, his enormous appetite for honey. Er, excuse me, hunny. And that voice. That incredible, funny, lovable voice. Who can look at an image of Pooh without remembering it? winnie 2
If you’ve ever seen actor Sterling Holloway in a movie or on TV, the first thing you notice is his voice. His is the original voice of Winnie the Pooh! winnie
Sterling Holloway was born in Georgia in 1905. His father was a grocer, but there was a distant relative in England who was an actress of some renown in her time. Holloway left home young to start his acting career, and he traveled with an acting company, performing The Shepherd of the Hills. Of course he eventually went to Hollywood. His first movie was The Battling Kangaroo, a silent, released in 1926. He made other silent movies, and at once point was told by a director he was “too repulsive” for the screen. He quit for about five years. sterling silent
When the talkies came out, it seemed Holloway’s voice might be a huge stumbling block to his continuing in movies. But with a somewhat goofy face, scrawny build, curly shock of red hair, and that high-pitched voice, he soon found himself cast in a variety of comedic roles. He co-starred with actors such as Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, and Joan Crawford. At one point, he turned down a contract with Louis B. Mayer “because he didn’t want to be a star,” but stardom didn’t bypass him. He became a familiar face and voice to generations. moron than off
In 1933, he was the voice of the frog in Paramount’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Nineteen years later, he was the voice of the Cheshire Cat in Disney’s version of the same story. He was the voice of the snake in the Jungle Book and the adult Flower in Bambi.
In July of 1942, Holloway was drafted in the Army. His records affirm that he was 5’9 and weighed all of 124 pounds. After the war, he returned to acting in movies.
During the Golden Age of television we were able to enjoy Holloway’s presence. He played a regular on The Life of Riley, and at least one episode of many sit-coms, including Hazel, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Show, Gilligan’s Island and, my personal favorite, The Andy Griffith Show.
Holloway was in his last movie, Thunder and Lightning in 1977. In 1991, he was named a Disney Legend.
In November, 1992, at the age of 87, the world lost the voice, the look and the unforgettable character that was Sterling Holloway. sterling older

4 Replies to “It’s Pure Sterling!”

  1. Wonderful article, KD!! I love old movies and those lesser known actors….and so does my son. He is a movie history buff, knows all the classics (beginning with the early early 1900s). And who could forget Winnie the Pooh’s great voice? Sterling Holloway might not have wanted fame, but I think his voice is practically immortal! Thanks for sharing!

        1. Thank you for the suggestion. I will keep it in mind.
          As for what Sterling Holloway meant to me personally … I always thought he was funny, in voice, in appearance and in his work. And I love funny.

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