Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse since the mid-1980s, has passed away at the age of 75, according to the Walt Disney Company.
Disney in a statement said that Russi Taylor died on Friday in Glendale, California. The cause of death was not released.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Company.
“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 honour 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.”
Since 1986, Taylor provided voice-overs for animated TV series, films and theme parks featuring Mickey Mouse’s high-pitched and giggly partner Minnie.
She also played characters in The Simpsons, including Bart’s dorky classmate Martin. She was the voice of Martin Prince in the Simpsons for 30 years.
Taylor 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.
Taylor was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 4 May 1944. She was picked from 200 candidates to play Minnie at an audition in 1986.
When visiting Disneyland as a girl, Taylor said she met Walt Disney, the first voice of Minnie and Mickey.
“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!” Taylor is quoted as saying by Disney.
The company quoted Taylor: “I never wanted to be famous. The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me.”
She found her real-life Mickey in the form of Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977. Taylor married Allwine in 1991, and they remained “as inseparable as their animated counterparts until Wayne’s death”, Disney quoted.