Russi Taylor, Actress and Voice of Minnie Mouse, Dies at 75

Russi Taylor - Getty - H - 2019
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The actress also voiced the characters of Martin Prince and twins Sherri and Terri in over 100 episodes of 'The Simpsons.'

Actress Russi Taylor, best known for voicing the character of Minnie Mouse, died Friday at her home in Glendale, California, The Walt Disney Company announced Saturday. She was 75.

"Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor," Disney CEO Bob Iger 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."

He continued, "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."

Born on May 4, 1944 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Taylor began her career in 1980 with The World of Strawberry Shortcake. She auditioned for the role of Minnie Mouse in 1986, going on to voice the character in a slate of theatrical films, TV series, animated shorts and theme park experiences. Her final award recognition for the role came in 2018, when Taylor was nominated for an Emmy for voicing her signature character in Mickey Mouse.

The actress was married to Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey, until his death in 2009.

Taylor also lent her voice talents to numerous other characters, including the roles of Huey, Dewey and Louie in the Ducktales animated series. Ducktales actor Sam Riegel took to social media to express his condolences, posting on Twitter, "My heart is broken over the loss of #RussiTaylor. Such an amazing performer, funny person, and gentle soul. I got to work with her for 7 years on #SofiaTheFirst and she taught me so much about acting and welcoming new talent into our industry. She will forever be missed."

Her voice can also be heard in The Smurfs, Paddington Bear, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more. On The Simpsons, Taylor voiced twins Sherri and Terri and the character of Martin Prince in over 100 episodes, as well as in The Simpsons Movie. Al Jean, writer and producer of The Simpsons, wrote on Twitter, "Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Russi Taylor, a true delight to work with."

The Simpsons producer Josh Weinstein said, "Farewell to the wonderful Russi Taylor, who brought such joy to many of our favorite characters like Martin Prince, Üter and so many more on The Simpsons & Disney & the animated world."

Disney continued in its tribute, "Through countless effervescent performances, Russi always showed an incredible talent for entertaining and improvisation."

In recalling his collaboration with Taylor, Rick Dempsey, senior vp, Disney Character Voices, said, "Russi Taylor embodied the character of Minnie Mouse. She truly was one of the kindest, most gracious, upbeat and loving people I ever had the privilege to work with and count as a friend. Anytime anyone met Russi, their day would always get a little bit brighter."

The statement from Disney included the following quote from Taylor: "I never wanted to be famous. The characters I do are famous, and that's fine for me."

Details of a memorial service have yet to be announced.