“The Little Mermaid” Chef Louis Voice Actor, René Auberjonois, Passes Away at 79

Actor and singer René Auberjonois passed away on Sunday, December 8, at the age of 79. While he is perhaps best known for his on-screen roles in Star Trek: Deep Space NineBenson, and Boston Legal, Disney fans would recognize his voice more than his face.

Auberjonois voiced Prince Eric’s French chef, Louis, in The Little Mermaid. In his brief appearance, Chef Louis sings the somewhat sadistic “Les Poissons” as he attempts to cook Sebastian. Auberjonois reprised the role eleven years later in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. While born in New York, Auberjonois did live in Paris during his childhood, and may have drawn inspiration for Chef Louis from the accents he heard then.

His story with Disney does not end there though, as he continued to provide voices in various smaller Disney productions. He lent his voice to the direct-to-video sequel Tarzan & Jane, and continued to appear in the TV spinoff, The Legend of Tarzan. He also provided his voice to two other classic Disney shows of the 80s and 90s: DuckTales and Aladdin.

In 2014, he was in Planes: Fire & Rescue and in 2015, he voiced supervillain Ebony Maw in two episodes of Avengers Assemble.

While these are just Auberjonois’ connections with Disney, he had a prolific career of character work, including roles in the 1970 M*A*S*H film, King Kong (1976), and many more animated films and shows. His final appearance will be in the upcoming thriller Cortex, which is currently in post-production.

According to The Washington Post, Auberjonois passed away at his home in Los Angeles from metastatic lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Judith, his daughter Tessa, his son Rèmy-Luc, and three grandchildren.

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