DIsney Legend Russi Taylor, best known for being the voice of Minnie Mouse, has sadly passed away at the age of 75. The Walt Disney Company confirmed the news, stating that the actress died in Glendale, California on Friday (July 26).
Back in 1986, Russi beat competition from 200 other hopefuls to win the coveted role of Minnie Mouse. She voiced the iconic character for over 30 years and starred in hundreds of projects including movies and television shows such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, House of Mouse, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, and more.
Additionally, Russi voiced a number of other Disney characters including Nurse Mouse in The Rescuers Down Under, and Donald’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original DuckTales animated series. She also voiced roles in TV animated series’ including TaleSpin, The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Kim Possible, Sofia the First, The Lion Guard, andTangled: The Series.
Russi’s sensational work didn’t stop at Disney either. Her phenomenal resume includes Strawberry Shortcake, Pebbles Flintstone, Baby Gonzo (Muppet Babies), and Martin Prince and the twins Sherri and Terri from The Simpsons.
In a statement, Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company said: “Minnie Mouse 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 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.”
Working with Disney was a childhood dream for Russi, and she once recalled an incredible story which reminds us that dreams really can come true! She said: “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!”
If working for Disney wasn’t enough of a fairytale, Russi also found her real life Mickey in the 80’s in the form of Wayne Allwine. He voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977 and the couple remained as in love as their mouse counterparts until Wayne sadly passed in 2009.
Our thoughts are with Russi Taylor’s family, friends and fans at this sad time.