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Wayne Allwine Voice of Mickey Mouse Dies

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Allwine got the role in 1976. He was only the third person -- Walt Disney was the first -- to voice the character. 'It's really not about me; it's about Mickey, and Mickey is Walt's,' he once said.

Wayne Allwine, a Walt Disney Studios voice-over artist who was the voice of Mickey Mouse for more than three decades, has died. He was 62.

Allwine, an Emmy Award-winning former sound effects editor and foley artist, died of complications of diabetes early Monday morning at UCLA Medical Center, said his voice-over artist wife, Russi Taylor.

The Glendale couple had a unique distinction: In 1991, Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse.

“Wayne was my hero," Taylor, who began voicing Minnie in 1986, told The Times on Wednesday. “He really loved doing Mickey Mouse and was very proud that he did it 32 years."

Since Mickey Mouse first hit movie theaters in the cartoon short “Steamboat Willie" in 1928, only three people have supplied the iconic cartoon character's distinctive falsetto: Walt Disney himself, Jimmy Macdonald and Allwine.

In 1947, Disney turned the job over to Macdonald, the studio's sound-effects wizard. Allwine was hired for the job in late 1976 while working in sound effects under Macdonald and continued to supply Mickey's voice until his death.

Allwine made his debut voicing the world's most famous mouse on “The New Mickey Mouse Club" (1977-78) and went on to supply Mickey's voice for Disney movies, TV specials, theme parks, records, toys and video games.

Among his credits as the voice of Disney's top animated star: Mickeys Christmas Carol (1983), The Prince and the Pauper (1990) and “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers" (2004) and TV series “Mickey MouseWorks," “House of Mouse" and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert A. Iger described a “profound sense of loss and sadness throughout our company" over the death of the man who gave voice to Disney's most beloved character.

“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.

Roy E. Disney, Walt's nephew, director emeritus of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement: “Wayne not only gave voice to the character of Mickey but gave him a heart and soul as well."

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