Cereal aficionados are sad after news broke today of the death of Lee Marshall, the long-time voice of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger. Marshall, 64, has recently died after a battle with esophageal cancer TMZ reported on Friday. Tony the Tiger fans mourning after death of the spokesperson have taken to social media to share their favorite cereal related stories.
Floridian Julie Dossantos’s father grew up collecting Tony the Tiger items. Her father worked in the grocery store business and brought home Frosted Flakes related freebies, including plush toys and cereal bowls. The family even traveled to the Kellogg’s plant in Battle Creek, Michigan on a family vacation one summer during the 1980s. “We have a family photo standing next to a statue of Tony the Tiger. It might sound silly to some, but he was really an important part of my childhood,” Dossantos said.
Fans feeling nostalgic will find all kinds of product merchandize available on Ebay. Bid on items including spoons, tissue boxes, mugs, tote bags and baseballs with the tigers friendly face.
Sarah Anderson of Georgia wasn’t allowed to eat sugary cereals as a child. Even though her mother forbid them, she still remembers all of the mascots for popular cereals including Lucky Charms, Trix, Fruit Loops, Count Chocula, and of course, Frosted Flakes. “I think that's a testament to how well they marketed their products, particularly to kids,” she muses.
When Anderson heard about the death of Lee Marshall she could hear him saying "they're grrrrrreat!" in her head even after all these years. She isn’t the only one - Twitter is filled with “they’re grrrrrreat!" messages today from Tony the Tiger fans mourning after death.
Marshall first took over for the original voice of the mascot, Thurl Ravenscroft, in 1999. He took the reins permanently when Ravenscroft passed away at 91 in 2005.
Marshall, who had an unusually deep and booming voice from a young age, began his voice career with a job in radio when he was 14. He had several radio jobs and a gig as a wrestling announcer before becoming the voice of the famous feline.
The voice actor is remembered by Los Angeles Dodgers fans because he hosted a talk show at Dodgers Stadium. Former team manager Tommy Lasorda has said God would call Marshall if he ever wanted to use someone’s voice to make a speech.
While Tony is a vibrant, cheerful character, Marshall often got the role of voicing cartoon villains. He told his agent he’d love to be the guy who saves Scooby-Doo instead of the one always trying to kill him.
Lee Marshall died late last month at a California hospital. He is survived by his wife, son, stepdaughter and granddaughter.
Kim Plante of New Hampshire loved the Frosted Flakes commercials as a child, explaining, “It was the only cereal I wanted even if there was no prize inside!” Patricia Bell of Florida remembers the excitement of hoping to catch the popular character when he went on tour.
Tony the Tiger fans mourning after death are wondering when the next voice for the iconic mascot will be revealed. The mascot has been in commercials for the sugary cereal since 1952.