The two-time Tony award nominee played Sebastian in the 1989 animated classic, performing the Oscar-winning song Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl, which was also a contender for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
His daughter Dee confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died peacefully at his home on Monday, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer three years earlier.
She told the publication her father was “the brightest light”.
Samuel began his career in the 1970s, appearing in Broadway productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Two Gentlemen Of Verona and The Tap Dance Kid, for which he landed his first Tony nomination.
After playing Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, he later reprised the role multiple times over the years, including in two sequels, a spin-off TV series and various video games.
He also released Caribbean-inspired albums in character as Sebastian for Disney.
Samuel’s links with Disney didn’t end with The Little Mermaid, though.
He went on to originate the role of Mufasa in the Broadway musical based on The Lion King, which earned him his second Tony nod, and voiced Kron in the studio’s 2000 film Dinosaur.
In addition to this, Samuel appeared in three episodes of the legal drama Law & Order and the film Strapped.
His final film role was in 2008, voicing Sebastian in the Little Mermaid prequel Ariel’s Beginning, in which he also covered Harry Belafonte’s Jump In The Line.
Samuel is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Amanda, and their three children, Keely, Dee and Sam.
Listen to Samuel in action in the Oscar-winning Under The Sea musical number below: