Disney Legend and acclaimed voice actress Russi Taylor passed away in Glendale, California yesterday, July 26, 2019, at the age of 75. Russi was best known as the voice of Minnie Mouse, a role she first assumed over 30 years ago. Over the span of her career she lent her voice talents to many other projects within Disney and outside of the Disney enterprise.
Russi Taylor was born May 4, 1944 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up with the dream and desire to work for Disney. She recalled a time when she was a little girl on a visit to Disneyland and saw Walt himself. “When I was a little girl, I was with m mom and my brother, and it was late at night at Disneyland. We had just come off of the Mark Twain Riverboat and were getting some popcorn. I looked over and saw Walt sitting on a bench, so we went over and 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!'” That was a dream that came true!
In 1986, Taylor beat out over 200 others to win the coveted role of Minnie Mouse. Throughout her career, she voiced Minnie in the films Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Runaway Brain, and Get a Horse! In addition, she would voice Minnie in multiple television series including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey Mouseworks, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, House of Mouse, and the Mickey Mouse shorts series that debuted on the Disney Channel in 2013.
Not only was she Minnie, she provided the voices for Donald’s playful nephews Huey, Louie, and Dewey and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original Duck Tales series, was the original voice of Strawberry Shortcake in the 1980’s TV specials, Baby Gonzo in Muppet Babies, numerous characters in the animated series The Simpsons, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies, Sophia the First and so many more.
The real fairy tale for Russi began in the mid-80’s when she met Wayne Allwine, who was the 3rd voice of Mickey Mouse and had been since 1977. It was then that real life mimicked fantasy. The two fell deeply in love and married in 1991. So yes, the real Mickey and Minnie were a couple! It’s on e of my favorite parts of the Mickey/Minnie history. They remained inseparable until Wayne’s passing in 2009.
In a statement, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said it best. “Minnie 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 ion and Russi and Disney Legend beloved by fans everywhere. We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did.”
While my heart is broken, I will cherish the memories Russi left us all. May she rest in peace.