Voice of Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine, dies

Actor was also Emmy-winning sound effects editor

Wayne Allwine, who provided the voice of Mickey Mouse for the past 32 years, died May 18 at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles 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 was an Emmy-winning sound effects editor, was the voice of Disney's world-renowned mouse since 1977, when he first 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 also has been heard at Disney parks around the world, on television, at live stage events and on radio broadcasts.

Walt Disney provided the original sounds and speaking voice for Mickey starting 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. 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," Allwine once said.

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 his own acoustic music group and went on to record with such singers as Dobie Gray and Bobby Vinton. He was a member of the Arrows, a musical group put together by famed California record company exec Mike Curb.

In 1966, Allwine took a job in the mail room at Disney. He worked briefly in wardrobe, then moved to audio postproduction and began a 7 1/2-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 with "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (1989).

Allwine received his Emmy for his contributions to Steven Spielberg's series "Amazing Stories," which he worked on for two years.

For 20 years, Allwine was married to Taylor, the voice of Minnie and many other Disney characters. She also supplies voices for "The Simpsons." They had their own production company, Taylor-Allwine Associates.