Russi Taylor, Disney Legend & Official Voice of Minnie Mouse, Dies at 75
Renowned voice actor and Disney Legend Russi Taylor passed away in Glendale, California, on July 26, 2019 at the age of 75.
Russi Taylor is best known as the official voice of Minnie Mouse but has brought to live many beloved characters with her incredible talent for entertaining and improvisation. She first assumed the role of Minnie Mouse more than 30 years ago and has given voice to Minnie in hundreds of Disney projects including television, theme park experiences, animated shorts, and theatrical films.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “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’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. Russi will be sorely missed and our hearts go out to her family and friends, along with our deepest condolences.”
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 4, 1944, Russi had a desire to work for Disney since childhood. “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!”
Russi beat out 200 other hopefuls during a 1986 audition to win the coveted role of Minnie Mouse. She would go on to voice Minnie in the films Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Runaway Brain, Get a Horse!, and Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, as well as several television series, including Mickey MouseWorks, House of Mouse, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, and the award-winning Mickey Mouse shorts series for Disney Channel from Disney Television Animation that debuted in 2013.
“Russi was as close as family; as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect,” said Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy and a longtime friend of Russi. “I will deeply and dearly miss her.”
“You have to bring yourself to a character,” Russi once observed. “But because of this particular character, she actually enhances who I am, she really does. In a sense Minnie makes me better than I was before ’cause there’s a lot to live up to.”
Minnie actually found her real-life Mickey! In the mid 1980's, Russi met Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977. The pair fell deeply in love and married in 1991, remaining inseparable until Wayne’s passing in 2009. “I really want whoever comes after us to be aware of the history and the tradition, and to love the characters as much as we do,” she said of herself and Wayne.
“Russi Taylor embodied the character of Minnie Mouse,” remembers Rick Dempsey, Senior Vice President, Disney Character Voices. “She truly was one of the kindest, most gracious, upbeat, and loving people I have ever had the privilege to work with and to count as a friend. Anytime anyone met Russi, their day would always get just a little bit brighter. Not only was she amazingly talented and gifted, but she had a true desire to make the world a better place with the gifts she was blessed with. The world has a lost a real treasure. She will truly be missed, but her voice will live on.”
Russi’s other Disney voices have included:
Nurse Mouse in The Rescuers Down Under
Donald’s mischievous nephews -Huey, Dewey, and Louie -and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original DuckTales animated series.
Pearl's Mom in The Little Mermaid
Becky in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,
Fauna in Sofia the First
as well as voices in Kim Possible, TaleSpin, The Lion Guard, and Tangled: The Series.
Among the most famous roles on Russi’s resume are:
Baby Gonzo (of Muppet Babies fame)
Duchess the Cat in the film Babe
Ferny Toro in Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
Martin Prince and the twins, Sherri and Terri, on more than 100 episodes of The Simpsons, and The Simpsons Movie
“I never wanted to be famous,” she once said. “The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me.”
The world has lost another bright star, we will miss you Russi Taylor!
News & Media Source: Disney Parks Blog