Russi Taylor, the voice behind the iconic Minnie Mouse, has passed away at the age of 75.
Taylor was a native of Cambridge Massachusetts born on May 4, 1944 and was a lifelong fan of Disney. She died in Glendale, California, on Friday July 26, 2019.
Saying of the time she met Walt Disney at Disneyland, “When I was a little girl, I was with my mom and my brother, and it was late at night at Disneyland. We had just come off the Mark Twain Riverboat and were getting some popcorn. I looked over and saw Walt sitting on a bench, so we introduced ourselves and shared our popcorn with him. At one point during our chat, he asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, and I said, ‘I want to work for you!’ So he said, ‘Okay!’ — and now I do!”
Taylor first voiced Minnie Mouse 30 years ago and has since provided the iconic polka dotted mouse in projects for television, theme park experiences, animated shorts and theatrical films.
In 1986, she auditioned with 200 other candidates and secured the role of Minnie Mouse.
In addition to voicing Minnie, Taylor lent her talents to other Disney characters as well including Nurse Mouse in The Rescuers Down Under, Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original DuckTales animated series. She also lent her voice to characters in the Disney series The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Kim Possible, Sofia the First, The Lion Guard, and Tangled: The Series.
“I never wanted to be famous,” she once said. “The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me.”
Straight of out of a Disney love story, Taylor fell in love with Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977. They were married in 1991 and were as inseparable as the iconic characters they voiced. Allwine passed away in 2009.
Said Bob Iger of Russi Taylor’s passing. “Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor.”
“For more than 30 years, Minnie and Russi worked together to entertain millions around the world — a partnership that made Minnie a global icon and Russi a Disney Legend beloved by fans everywhere,” Iger continued. “We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did. It was a privilege to have known her and an honor to have worked with her, and we take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come.”
Bill Farmer, the voice of Mickey and Minnie’s beloved friend Goofy and a longtime friend of the couple, shared a statement following her death. “Russi was as close as family; as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect,” he said. “I will deeply and dearly miss her.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Taylor’s family and friends.
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.
(Source, NPR, The New York Times, CNN and Slate.com)