Voice of Mickey Mouse for three-plus decades


Wayne Allwine, who provided the voice of Mickey Mouse for the past 32 years, died Monday at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood from complications due to diabetes. He was 62.

Allwine's wife, Russi Taylor, who provides the voice of Minnie Mouse, was at his side at the time of his passing.

Allwine, also an Emmy-winning sound effects editor, was the voice of Disney's world-renowned mouse since 1977, when he lent his familiar falsetto to animated segments for "The New Mickey Mouse Club." He went on to provide Mickey's voice for such theatrical efforts as "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983), "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988), "The Prince and the Pauper" (1990), the Oscar-nominated short "Runaway Brain" (1997) and the direct-to-DVD feature "Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers" (2004).

Allwine's voice has been heard at Disney parks worldwide, on television, at live stage events and on radio broadcasts.

Walt Disney provided the original sounds and speaking voice for Mickey in 1928 with "Steamboat Willie." Veteran Disney sound effects wizard Jimmy Macdonald assumed speaking duties in 1947 with "Mickey and the Beanstalk" (from "Fun and Fancy Free") and continued until 1977, when Allwine, his protege, took over.

"The main piece of advice that Jim gave me about Mickey helped me keep things in perspective," Allwine said. "He said, 'Just remember, kid, you're only filling in for the boss.' And that's the way he treated doing Mickey for years and years."

A native of Glendale, Calif., Allwine made his first TV appearance at 7 as one of the children interviewed by Art Linkletter on his "House Party" program. In high school, he formed an acoustic group and went on to record with such singers as Dobie Gray and Bobby Vinton. He was a member of the Arrows.

In 1966, Allwine took a job in the mailroom at Disney. He worked briefly in wardrobe then moved to audio postproduction and began a 71/2-year stint under Macdonald.

Allwine worked in sound effects editing on Disney fare including "Splash" (1984) and "Three Men and a Baby" (1987) and for Paramount on "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (1989). He received his Emmy for his work on Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories."

For 20 years, Allwine was married to Taylor, who has voiced many other characters for Disney as well as "The Simpsons." They had their own production company.