Wayne Allwine, the most recent voice of Mickey Mouse, passed away on May 18, 2009 due to complications from diabetes at the age of 62. He and his wife Russi Taylor, the current voice of Minnie Mouse, met in studio over 20 years ago and were inseparable.
Although the two made quite a pair voicing the Disney icons (named as Disney Legends in 2008), they never lost sight of the fact that they were merely the stewards of a legacy, entrusted with taking care of Mickey and Minnie, humbly doing their work in the service of others to keep Walt Disney’s dream, and the spirit of the characters, alive.
Allwine was the voice of Mickey Mouse for 32 years, and enjoyed working on all kinds of projects with the voice cast, including the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse“.
Russi Taylor, said of her dearly departed husband, Wayne Allwine, “Walt [Disney] used to say, he put the heart and soul into Mickey Mouse,”
She noted that while Allwine was certainly proud to be the voice of Mickey Mouse, he was never boastful or arrogant. The couple, in fact, made a point of not using their Minnie and Mickey voices in public out of respect for the characters. One exception was when Allwine saw a boy crying in a park, and without the lad seeing him, gently consoled him in Mickey Mouse’s voice.
Taylor relates, “Wayne came up and stood behind him and in Mickey’s voice, asked him not to cry,” she said. “Then Wayne said ‘Where’d he go? He was here just a second ago.’ But there was no more crying.”
Allwine also placed calls to ill children and spoke to them in Mickey Mouse’s voice.
Taylor also shared, “We’ve always said we were the caretakers of these characters.”
Voices of Mickey Mouse (years shown in duration of time as Mickey’s voice):
Walt Disney (1928-1947)
Jimmy MacDonald (1947-1977)
Wayne Allwine (1977-2009)
To further the point of characters being their own people, in honor of his 50th Anniversary (November 18, 1978), Mickey Mouse became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star is located on 6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Source: VOX Daily