BREAKING: Sadness as huge Disney star dies

Russi Taylor dead: Voice of Minnie Mouse dies aged 75

The actress voiced Minnie Mouse for more than 30 years after beating more than 200 hopefuls to the part

The actress voiced Minnie Mouse for more than 30 years after beating more than 200 hopefuls to the part

Russi Taylor, the actress who voiced Minnie Mouse for more than 30 years has died at the age of 75.

Disney revealed that she died in Glendale, California, on Friday.

Russi won the coveted role as the voice of Minnie in 1986 after auditioning against 200 other hopefuls.

She went on to voice Minnie in films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Mickey, Donald, Goofey: The Three Musketeers, as well as in several TV series such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Mickey MouseWorks.

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Company, said: “Minnie Mouse lost her voice with the passing of Russi Taylor.

“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 honour 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 found her real-life Mickey in the form of Wayne Allwine, who had voiced Mickey Mouse since 1977.

The pair married in 1991 and remained as inseparable as their animated counterparts until Allwine died in 2009.

Russi had been a Disney fan since childhood, and once recalled meeting Walt Disney as a young girl.

“I was with my mom and my brother, and it was late at night at Disneyland,” she said.

“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, ‘Ok!’ – and now I do!”

Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, said he would “dearly miss” his long-time friend.

“Russi was as close as family; as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect,” he said.

As well as Minnie, Russi also voiced the roles of Huey, Dewey and Louie, and their friend Webbigail Vanderquack, in the original DuckTales animated series.