Acclaimed voice actor and Disney Legend Russi Taylor passed away in Glendale, California, on July 26, 2019. She was 75.
While she brought to life an illustrious cast of beloved characters during a career that spanned nearly four decades, Russi is best known as the official voice of Minnie Mouse. She first assumed the role more than 30 years ago and has given voice to Minnie in hundreds of Disney projects—from television, to theme park experiences, animated shorts, and theatrical films—no performance was too tough for Russi’s accomplished take on the divine Miss Minnie Mouse.
“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 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.”
Russi found her real-life Mickey in the mid-1980s in the form of Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977. The pair fell deeply in love and married in 1991, remaining as inseparable as their animated counterparts until Wayne’s passing in 2009. “I really want whoever comes after us to be aware of the history and the tradition, and to love the characters as much as we do,” she said of herself and Wayne.
“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’s other Disney voices have included 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 lent her voice to 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.
Among the most famous roles on Russi’s impressive extended resume of credits are Strawberry Shortcake, Baby Gonzo (of Muppet Babies fame), Pebbles Flintstone, Duchess the Cat in the film Babe, and Ferny Toro in Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks. She also provided the voice of Martin Prince and the twins, Sherri and Terri, on more than 100 episodes of The Simpsons, as well as the blockbuster feature The Simpsons Movie.
“I never wanted to be famous,” she once said. “The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me.”