An Ode to Minnie Mouse
This past weekend Hollywood lost a true icon, as Russi Taylor, the longtime voice of Minnie Mouse, passed away at the age of 75.
Taylor’s now iconic voice has been pegged to Minnie since 1986, when she beat out 200 other voice actors to score the coveted role. Over the years, Taylor lent her voice to many other animated characters over the years, including Donald Duck’s nephew’s Huey, Dewey, and Louie; as well as Martin Prince on “The Simpsons.”
Though no character was more iconic than Minnie Mouse.
Taylor’s voice was attached to the iconic character for over 30 years in film and television, with her most recent role coming in the Mickey Mouse shorts series that currently airs on Disney Channel.
If the most recent episode of the series was indeed Taylor’s last appearance, she certainly left her heart on the line with a beautiful new original song.
The truly magical piece of information about Taylor was that she was married to Wayne Allwine for 18 years until his death in 2009. If that name sounds familiar, that is because Allwine voiced Mickey Mouse from 1977 - 2009.
If that’s not true love I don’t know what is.
When I realized that; it really got me thinking… Our podcast, blog and everything that we do is centered around our Love of the Mouse.
Though we, like many other fans and even the Disney Corporation, seem to gloss over Minnie Mouse. Naturally our logo and everything else is designed around Mickey, but this past weekend made me take a step back and rethink that notion. Minnie is iconic in her own right, and that should not go unmentioned.
Minnie made her debut in a test screening of “Plane Crazy” alongside Mickey Mouse, but her first official appearance came in “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, again alongside Mickey. They both grazed the screen from the start, but Mickey has always been the character that gets all of the love.
I’m not complaining by any means, as I truly believe that Mickey Mouse is the greatest animated character creation of all-time, and for good reason. It still seems a little silly though that Minnie hardly gets a mention.
When you analyze the cartoons, especially early shorts such as the ones above; it is evident that Mickey’s personality and charisma are largely motivated by Minnie.
This is typical for male/female character duos throughout animation history, but it comes as a bit of a surprise that Minnie always seems to take a clear backseat rather than a co-pilot role. I understand, but it’s upsetting nonetheless.
Look at the Mickey 90 campaign that Disney has been running for the past year. Mickey gets all the recognition, when in actuality it’s Minnie’s 90th Birthday as well. I love that Walt Disney World has created a dual Meet & Greet with both characters in special birthday attire, but that’s really the only major recognition that I can think of off the top of my head.
Minnie did have a bit of a downfall after the 1930s, as her popularity dipped quite a bit after newer characters Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto started to gain more popularity. It wasn’t until the release of Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983 that Minnie began to gain mainstream popularity once again.
Needless to say, Minnie has always been overlooked by the likes of other animated characters. When you think of the most iconic characters of all-time, her name should certainly be in the mix.
There are 17 fictional characters that have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Las Angeles, CA. Mickey Mouse was the first character to have his name etched into the iconic walkway back in 1978. Donald Duck got his own star in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2018 that Minnie received one of her own.
Donald’s popularity speaks for itself, but a few characters that earned their star before Minnie Mouse include the Rugrats (2001), Shrek (2010), and Winnie the Pooh (2006). As much as I love Winnie the Pooh, when putting his name next to Minnie Mouse in a sense of animation history and cultural impact, there’s not a comparison.
Minnie all the way.
When visiting the Disney Parks, Minnie has always been one of my favorite characters to meet. As I have mentioned a few times in the past, I’m never a huge fan of meet and greets because of my awkwardness. Minnie is always extremely fun and easy to interact with. Her upbeat personality has always been something to look forward to with a character meet & greet. Aside from Mickey, she is the character that I have met the most.
It’s true what Walt Disney said, “I hope that we never lose sight of one thing; that it was all started by a mouse.”
Let’s never forget that Minnie is a big part of that statement, too.