John Bacon USA TODAY
Published 10:19 AM EDT Jul 28, 2019
Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986 who also starred in “The Simpsons,” has died in California at age 75, Walt Disney Co. announced.
Taylor, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, died Friday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” Iger said in a statement. “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.”
Taylor, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, beat out 200 candidates to win the role as Minnie’s voice. Her voice reigned in hundreds of television shows, theme park rides, animated shorts, and theatrical films. She worked in several Disney TV shows, including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a Mickey Mouse shorts series for Disney Channel that debuted in 2013.
In 1991, Taylor married Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977. Allwine died in 2009. In 2018, Taylor was nominated for an Emmy for her efforts as Minnie.
“We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did,” Iger said.
Taylor provided the voice of Martin Prince and the twins, Sherri and Terri, on more than 100 episodes of “The Simpsons” and “The Simpsons Movie.” She also voiced Pebbles Flintstone,and Huey, Dewey and Louie in the “Ducktales.”
Ducktales voice director Sam Riegel sent out condolences on Twitter.
“My heart is broken over the loss of #RussiTaylor. Such an amazing performer, funny person, and gentle soul,” he tweeted. “She will forever be missed.”
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Voice-over actress Tara Strong said she met Taylor when the duo worked on “Pigglywinks.” She recalled how heartbroken Taylor was when her husband died, telling Strong that “my hand hurts from not being able to hold his.”
“My heart is broken,” Strong tweeted. “You will never meet a woman as sweet, generous, talented & luminescent as #RussiTaylor.”
Iger said Taylor wanted to work for Disney since visiting Disneyland as a child. She is quoted as saying she met Walt Disney at the park, saying she and her family once sat on a bench and shared 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!’” Taylor remembered. “And now I do.”
Gary Marsh, president of Disney Channels Worldwide, lauded Taylor as a meticulous professional and as fun-loving as the characters she voiced.
“She was a wonderful person and a friend to everyone at Disney Television Animation,” he said.
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