Russi Taylor, beloved by many as the longtime official voice of Minnie Mouse, has died. Taylor died in Glendale on Friday at 75, according to a statement released by Walt Disney Co. No cause of death was given.
Taylor first assumed the role of Minnie Mouse over 30 years ago after she beat out more than 200 others during a 1986 audition. She voiced the character 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,” Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of Disney, said in a statement. “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.”
Besides Minnie Mouse, Taylor voiced Disney characters including Fauna, Duchess, and Huey, Louie and Dewey. She also portrayed various characters on “The Simpsons,” including Martin Prince, twins Sherri and Terri, and Üter. Other characters she gave voice to include Strawberry Shortcake, Baby Gonzo and Duchess the Cat in the 1995 film “Babe.”
Taylor was born in Cambridge, Mass., on May 4, 1944, and moved to California in the 1970s. One of the first jobs she got was as the voice of Ted and Georgette’s baby on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Taylor was married for 18 years to Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, until his death in 2009. The two met while working on a session for a show called “Totally Minnie.”
In a 2014 interview with The Times, Taylor recalled visiting Disneyland as a little girl and having a remarkable encounter with Walt Disney himself.
“The sweetest thing of all is at one point he said, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ ” said Taylor. “I said, ‘I want to work for you.’ ”