Russi Taylor, the voice of Disney‘s Minnie Mouse and others, has died.
Confirmed by the Walt Disney Company, the actress died in Glendale, California on Friday (July 26).
“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,” Disney’s chairman and chief executive, Bob Iger said of Taylor in a statement yesterday (July 27).
“We take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come.”
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 4 May 1944, Taylor was picked from 200 candidates to play Minnie Mouse at an audition in 1986. Since then, as Mickey Mouse’s high-pitched better half, she provided voice-overs for animated TV series, films and theme parks.
Mirroring the Disney character she played, Taylor was married to Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse until his death in 2009. Married in 1991, the pair remained “as inseparable as their animated counterparts until Wayne’s death”, Disney said.
Recalling the time she met Walt Disney as a child during a visit to Disneyland, Taylor is quoted as saying: “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 also played several characters in The Simpsons, including Bart’s dorky classmate Martin, and lent her voice to roles on other TV animated series, such as TaleSpin, The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Kim Possible.