Everyone who was around in the late 80s and early 90s, come shed a tear or two. A star has gone to sleep. Russi Taylor, the actress who gave voice to the Minnie Mouse character we grew to love, for more than three decades, has died. Walt Disney Co. chairman Bob Iger announced her death in a statement last Saturday.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” he wrote. “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.” No cause of death was provided.
“We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did,” he continued. “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.”
Reports say Russi Taylor died of colon cancer on Friday in Glendale, Carlifornia. She was 75.
Out of more than 200 persons who auditioned for the role in 1986, Taylor became the official voice of Minnie. Does this in any way have anything to do with her personality? Maybe.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1944 and a lifelong Disney fan—even meeting Walt Disney and vowing to work for him during a childhood Disneyland visit—Taylor grew into voice work with Hanna-Barbera in the ‘80s, before landing the role of Minnie Mouse in 1986. The character had gone largely unvoiced for twelve years prior, and Taylor continued the work through 2019.
She was also widely recognized as the voice of Simpson’s characters Martin Prince, Üter, Terri and Sherri, original DuckTales protagonists Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby, Gonzo on The Muppet Babies and more.
Taylor told Variety in 2017 that playing Minnie Mouse shaped the course of her personal life. She also mentioned that playing one of Disney’s most beloved cartoon characters led to other notable gigs mentioned above.
Russi Taylor married Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse in 1991. Although she was married at the time she met Allwine, in the late 80s, the two eventually reconnected once they were both single and married. Allwine died 10 years ago, in 2009. He was 62.
Thank you, Russi Taylor, for being yourself and for being Minnie. Rest now.