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Culture

Voice of Mickey Mouse dies at 62

Latest update : 2009-05-21

American actor Wayne Allwine, who provided the voice of Mickey Mouse for over 30 years, passed away in California on Monday at the age of 62, Disney announced on its website on Thursday.

AFP - Voice-over artist Wayne Allwine, who provided the voice of Disney icon Mickey Mouse for more than 30 years, has died in California aged 62, it was confirmed Thursday.

Allwine -- the third person to voice Walt Disney's most famous cartoon creation -- died on Monday, the company's website said. Local media reported Allwine's death followed complications from diabetes.

Allwine began providing Mickey Mouse's distinctive falsetto in 1977, taking over from his mentor, Jimmy MacDonald after more than a decade at Disney which began when he started in the mail room in 1966.

He made his debut on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" in 1977, and has provided Mickey's voice for Disney theme parks, movies, TV specials, records, and video games.

His films included "Mickey's Christmas Carol," "The Prince and the Pauper," "Mickey, Donald, and Goofy: The Three Musketeers."

"In time, you actually realize all of the characteristics that this character has in yourself," Allwine once said. "I've got all his naive qualities, and all of his optimistic qualities."

Allwine was married to Russi Taylor, who provided the the voice of Mickey's mouse-spouse Minnie and many other popular characters. The couple had four children together.

"Wayne was my hero," Taylor told the Los Angeles Times. "He really loved doing Mickey Mouse and was very proud that he did it 32 years."

Walt Disney chief executive Robert Iger said Allwine's death was met with a "profound sense of loss and sadness throughout our company."

"Wayne's great talent, deep compassion, kindness and gentle way, all of which shone brightly through his alter ego, will be greatly missed," Iger said in a statement.

Despite serving as Mickey Mouse for more than three decades, Allwine said he never lost sight of the advice given to him by MacDonald, who in turn had taken over the voice-over duties from Walt Disney.

"Just remember, kid you're only filling in for the boss," MacDonald told Allwine. "Mickey is Walt's," Allwine acknowledged. "I get to take this wonderful American icon and keep it alive until the next Mickey comes along."

Date created : 2009-05-21

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