Although Walt Disney voiced the legendary Mickey Mouse in the beginning of his screen career, the iconic rodent's high-pitched timbre is also owed to other voice actors. As the studio became a smashing success — and Walt's smoking habit put a strain on his vocal chords — he said goodbye to his voice acting days (for the most part, anyway). In 1947, British voice actor and head of Disney's sound effects department Jimmy MacDonald took over the mic until 1977. Then his sound effects co-worker Wayne Allwine took over. Allwine's first film "appearance" for the studio was Mickey's Christmas Carol
. The squeaky protégé was given some important advice by MacDonald:
"The main piece of advice that Jim gave me about Mickey helped me keep things in perspective. He said, 'Just remember kid, you’re only filling in for the boss.' And that’s the way he treated doing Mickey for years and years. From Walt, and now from Jimmy. I just feel like I’m filling in for the boss too. And it really puts the whole job in perspective. Mickey’s the real star. You know you just have to love the little guy while you have him, because he won’t be yours forever."
While Allwine was working for the studio, he fell in love with his future wife Russi Taylor. She just so happened to be the voice actress who played Mickey's ladylove Minnie — a role she still has to this day, since 1986. Both actors have said that they wouldn't have been able to take on the part of the mouse couple unless they also possessed some of those same characteristics. In the video below, Allwine shares that Taylor's tremendous love of people and sweetness makes her the perfect Minnie. At the same time, Allwine has credited his character for shaping his personality in interesting ways. In the interview he admits that Mickey's naivety and optimism definitely rubbed off on him.
Allwine continued playing Mickey until his death in 2009. Watch a clip of Allwine and Taylor below chatting with Leonard Maltin about their roles. It's a brief — but sweet — look at two Disney legends that have helped put a smile on many faces and warmed a lot of hearts.