Friday, May 22, 2009

Wayne Allwine: 1947-2009

This being my animation/cartoon blog I felt it appropriate to be one of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people relaying the news of the death of Wayne Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse during the last 32 years, 1977-2009. His death happened as a result of diabetes complications according to his wife, voice actress Russi Taylor. He was 62.

Allwine's initial job at voicing Mickey Mouse happened in 1977 but it was the 1983 special, Mickey's Christmas Carol, that is often highlighted as Allwine's breakthrough performance as the character since it was the first theatrically released cartoon featuring the character in 30 years.

Throughout the rest of the decade and into the 1990's and beyond, Allwine was typically always on hand to perform the character when needed. The popularity of the various Disney cartoon programs in syndication, including the various Disney theme parks, ultimately contributed to the continued success of Mickey Mouse. As others have stated, Allwine was only the third voice actor to take on the character in the last 81 years. Mickey made his debut in 1928, voiced by his creator, Walt Disney. Walt continued giving voice to Mickey off and on through the 1930's and into the 1940's. After Walt, an actor named Jimmy McDonald took over the role in 1947...lasting until 1953 in theatrical animation but McDonald would continue voicing the character when needed through 1977. Then, Wayne Allwine stepped into the role, which lead to the 1983 holiday classic Mickey's Christmas Carol. That 1983 special marked the first time Wayne Allwine voiced the character in a theatrical, it also marked the first time Alan Young voiced Scrooge McDuck, and it also marked the last time Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck.

Allwine would not voice the character in two specials in the mid 1980's. There was a 1986 special which featured Lee Perkins as the voice of Mickey. The special was called DTV Valentine.

Then, there was a 1987 special called Down and Out with Donald Duck which again featured Lee Perkins as the voice. That program was co-written by voice actor/satirist Stan Freberg.

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