Russi Taylor, the actress best known as the voice of Minnie Mouse for more than three decades, died at age 75, Walt Disney Co. announced over the weekend.
Taylor died Friday in Glendale, California, Disney chairman Bob Iger said in a Saturday statement. Her cause of death was not immediately clear.
Taylor was married to Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey Mouse opposite her, from 1991 until his death in 2009.
“Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor,” Iger said. “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.”
The Cambridge, Massachusetts native officially became the voice of Minnie in 1986, beating out more than 200 other hopefuls for the role. She voiced Minnie in various Disney film, television and theme park projects — including in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and the TV show “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.”
“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,” Iger added.
Bill Farmer, who voiced Goofy alongside Taylor, called her “as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect.”
Taylor also voiced many other minor Disney characters and several smaller characters on “The Simpsons,” among them Bart’s nerdy classmate Martin Prince.
DuckTales Voice Director Sam Riegel tweeted that he was heartbroken over Taylor’s passing.
“Such an amazing performer, funny person, and gentle soul,” he said. “I got to work with her for 7 years on #SofiaTheFirst and she taught me so much about acting and welcoming new talent into our industry. She will forever be missed.”
Voice actress Tara Strong said she admired Taylor’s talent and personality.
“My heart is broken,” she posted. “You will never meet a woman as sweet, generous, talented & luminescent as #RussiTaylor. I first met her when we did #PigglyWinks together. She would sit beside me and let me wear all her fancy rings.”
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