GLENDALE, CA (CelebrityAccess) — Noted voice actor Russi Taylor, who provided the voices for a host of animated characters including roles for Disney and The Simpsons, has died. She was 75.
No cause of death was provided for Taylor, but her passing was confirmed in a statement by Disney.
Russi is best known as the official voice of Minnie Mouse, which she portrayed in hundreds of Disney projects—from television to theme park experiences, animated shorts, and theatrical films—no performance, over a thirty-year period.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “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. 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 in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1944, Russi said she had a desire to work for Disney since childhood and according to a statement published by Disney, met company founder Walt Disney while visiting Disneyland.
“When I was a little girl, I was with my mom and my brother, and it was late at night at Disneyland. We had just come off the Mark Twain Riverboat and were getting some popcorn. I looked over and saw Walt sitting on a bench, so we introduced ourselves and shared our popcorn with him. 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!”
Russi’s other Disney voices have included Nurse Mouse in The Rescuers Down Under, as well as Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack in the original DuckTales animated series. She 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; as well Sofia the First, The Lion Guard, and Tangled: The Series.
Her best-known non-Disney roles include voicing the animated Strawberry Shortcake, Baby Gonzo (of Muppet Babies fame), Pebbles Flintstone, Duchess the Cat in the film Babe, and Ferny Toro in Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks.
She also provided the voice of the gentle and beleaguered nerd Martin Prince and the twins, Sherri and Terri, on more than 100 episodes of The Simpsons, as well as the feature film The Simpsons Movie.
“I never wanted to be famous,” she once said. “The characters I do are famous, and that’s fine for me,” she said.