I’m very sorry to report that Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse for over 25 years and a certified Disney Legend, passed away Monday, May 18th at the age of 62 following complications from diabetes.
Allwine was also a sound effects editor and foley artist for Walt Disney Studios. He was the third person to officially voice the iconic Mickey Mouse, following Jimmy MacDonald and of course Walt Disney himself. Allwine is quoted as saying, “My life has been spent working, in one capacity or another, for the Disney family. I consider it to be a very high calling, serving Walt’s ‘dream.’”
He is survived by his wife Russi Taylor (who has been the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986), daughter Erin, and sons Peter, Josh and Chris. Married since 1991, Allwine and Taylor first met in 1987 at a voice recording session for the live-action TV series Totally Minnie.
Voice Chasers reports that they had “heard auditions for his successor as the voice of Mickey [had] been going on for several months,” and that Allwine had been “very active in the selection process.” But I believe auditions might have been going on even longer than that because I received one from one of my voice-over agents in September of 2005 that was labeled “Mickey Sound-a-like Search.” And let me just say that you should never let anyone you hear imitating Mickey tell you it’s an “easy voice” to perform. It was one of the most difficult auditions I have had to date, as I had to do a word-for-word voice match of two whole scenes of dialog from a Mickey Mouse cartoon which featured Allwine as Mickey.
I gained enormous respect for Allwine’s talent when recording that audition as I had always considered Mickey a fairly bland character with a generic personality. Going in, I foolishly assumed it would be an easy audition just trying to sound happy and friendly while doing that trademark falsetto, mousey squeak. To my surprise, there was genuine acting in the dialog from Allwine, and it was an tremendous challenge to attempt to match his work and a very helpful learning experience for me in recording soundalikes. I do not envy at all the actor who is selected to follow in the footsteps of Allwine’s legacy.
My deepest sympathies, thoughts, and prayers go out to Russi, and all Wayne’s family and close friends at this time. I never had the opportunity to meet the man, but everyone I ever spoke with who did said he was the nicest guy you could possibly ever hope to meet. He will be greatly missed.
For more on Wayne Allwine’s life and career, please visit the following links:
- WDW News Today
- Cartoon Brew
- Mark Evanier: – NewsFromME.com
- Movie Dearest
- Disney Echo: Remembering Wayne Allwine, Who Gave a Voice to Mickey Mouse
- The Disney Blog: Wayne Allwine: Voice of Mickey Mouse; Disney Legend, 1947-2009
- The Disney Blog: Wayne Allwine tributes pour in
- Jim Hill Media
- Kara Edwards: Memories of a Disney Legend
- Flickr: Fan photo with Bill Farmer, Russi Taylor, and Wayne Allwine
- DisneySource1 Tribute Article