(Pictured above on the right, Wayne Allwine)
Wayne Allwine provided the voice of Disney’s top animated star beginning in 1977, when he officially took over for his mentor, Disney Legend Jimmy Macdonald. Wayne once humbly reflected, “It’s a great honor to keep alive what Walt loved so dearly and what Jimmy kept alive so well.”
Born on February 7, 1947, in Glendale, California, Wayne was active on stage and screen most of his life, making his first television appearance at age seven as one of the children interviewed by Art Linkletter on his House Party program. While still in high school, he formed his own acoustic music group, The International Singers, which performed in clubs and colleges all over the state. He went on to record with such singers as Dobie Gray and Bobby Vinton and was a member of The Arrows, a musical group put together by Mike Curb.
In 1966, Wayne opted for a “normal” lifestyle and took a job in the mailroom at The Walt Disney Studios. From there, he worked briefly in Wardrobe, then moved to Audio Post Production and began a seven-and-a-half year stint under Macdonald, the Studio’s resident sound effects wizard.
Wayne worked in sound effects editing on Disney films and television shows including Splash and Three Men and a Baby. Work for other studios included Innerspace, Alien Nation, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
He received the Emmy® Award and the Golden Reel award for his contributions to Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, which he worked on for two years, and a second Golden Reel for his work on The Great Mouse Detective (1986).
In 1977, Wayne went to an open audition for the voice of Mickey Mouse and walked away with the part. In 1977, he made his debut on The New Mickey Mouse Club and went on to provide Mickey’s voice for Disney theme parks, movies, TV specials, records, and video games. In the role of Mickey, he starred in films such as Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Prince and the Pauper, and Mickey, Donald, and Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and the TV series Mickey’s Mouse Works, House of Mouse, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. “In time, you actually realize all of the characteristics that this character has in yourself,” Wayne said of his prolific performances as Mickey. “I’ve got all his naive qualities, and all of his optimistic qualities.”
Wayne was married to Disney Legend Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse and many other popular characters. They headed their own production company, Taylor-Allwine Associates, and shared four children—including three who think they sound like Mickey, too.
It’s only fitting, given the admonition that Allwine’s mentor gave him decades ago: “Just remember, kid,” Jimmy Macdonald said, “you’re only filling in for the boss.” Wayne never forgot that. “Mickey is Walt’s,” he readily admitted. “I get to take this wonderful American icon and keep it alive until the next Mickey comes along, and it will one day.”
Wayne passed away on May 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.