Washington DC [USA]: The voice behind famed Minnie Mouse character, Russi Taylor passed away on Friday in Glendale, California. Taylor was married to the late actor, Wayne Allwine who voiced the character of Mickey Mouse.
Disney's Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, confirmed the news in a statement. "Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor," he said in the statement. "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," Iger continued.
"Russi will be sorely missed and our hearts go out to her family and friends, along with our deepest condolences," Iger concluded. A longtime friend and voice of Goofy, Bill Farmer, also shared a statement post Taylor's death. "Russi was as close as family; as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect. I will deeply and dearly miss her," he said. Taylor voiced Minnie in many projects across various platforms, including TV, theme park experiences, animated shorts and theatrical films.
She was a big fan of Disney since childhood before she voiced Minnie. "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," she said, according to the company.
"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!" Besides voicing Minnie, Taylor also dubbed for Donald Duck's nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original 'DuckTales' animated series.