Voice of giggly Minnie Mouse dies at 75

Voice actress Russi Taylor posing for a picture with Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan 22, 2018. Ms Taylor died on July 26, 2019.
Voice actress Russi Taylor posing for a picture with Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan 22, 2018. Ms Taylor died on July 26, 2019. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK • She was picked from 200 candidates at a 1986 audition.

On Friday, Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse for more than three decades, died. She was 75.

Taylor, who was prone to giggles just like the character she voiced, captured the heart and sound of Mickey Mouse's counterpart on television, in cartoons and films, and at theme parks.

"Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor," said Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger.

"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.

"We take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come."

Taylor, a Massachusetts native, said she met Walt Disney as a girl on a visit to Disneyland.

"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," she was quoted as saying in a profile released by Disney.

Life imitated art when Russi met her real-life Mickey in the 1980s. He was Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977.

"Wayne was coming out of a session as Mickey. We met in the hallway. We just blended really well," she told Los Angeles Times in 2014.

They wed in 1991 but generally "kept it quiet. We didn't want it to be about Mickey and Minnie being married. It was about Wayne and Russi being married".

She added: "We had the best time. We laughed a lot. We were always singing. We always had music in the house."

The duo stayed as close as their animated counterparts until Wayne's death in 2009.

In addition to Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters, Taylor was also the voice of Strawberry Shortcake and Pebbles Flintstone. She worked in television for decades, including on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Simpsons.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'Voice of giggly Minnie Mouse dies at 75'. Print Edition | Subscribe