We have sad news, as voice actor and Disney Legend Russi Taylor has passed away in Glendale, California. She was 75 years old and passed away on July 26th, 2019. Russi is best known in her career as being the official voice of Minnie Mouse. She took over the role over 30 years ago and has been the voice of Minnie Mouse for hundreds of different Disney projects.
“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.”
Russi was 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!”
According to Disney Parks Blog, “There were some very big yellow heels to fill when she 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 Mouseshorts 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.”
“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 was also the voice of other Disney characters, including Nurse Mouse in The Rescuers Down Under, as well as Donald’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original DuckTales animated series. She also had roles on other classic TV animated series like TaleSpin, The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Kim Possible; as well as modern favorites that include Sofia the First, The Lion Guard, and Tangled: The Series.
“I never wanted to be famous,” she once said. “The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me.”
We send condolences to all of her family, friends and fans.
Photo and Source Credit: Disney Parks Blog
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