Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight
JUDGING BY HIS LOOKS, THERE'S nothing Mickey Mouse about Wayne Allwine. A burly six-footer, Allwine, 48, even has a Big Bad Wolf gruffness to his voice. Hard to believe he provides the falsetto for the world's most famous rodent—and that he's married to the voice of Minnie Mouse, Mickey's Significant Other. "We're not used to appearing as ourselves," Allwine says, sitting in the Pasadena house he owns with his wife, Russi Taylor.
The petite Taylor, 51, is a lot more, er, animated than her Mouse spouse of four years as they smooch on the sofa. "We do that all the time," chirps Taylor, in a treble almost as high-pitched as Minnie's. She and her mate can now be heard in Runaway Brain. The first new Mickey Mouse short in 42 years, it shares the bill with Disney's A Kid in King Arthur's Court.
The Cambridge, Mass.-born Taylor was a 6-year-old kid visiting Disneyland when she happened to meet Walt Disney back in 1950. "He asked me what I wanted to do," says Taylor, "and I said, 'To work for you.' And he said, 'Then you will.' " She did—sort of. In 1984, after years of doing TV voices, including Pebbles Flintstone and the Muppet Babies, Taylor was hired by the late Disney's company to quack for Donald Duck's nephews; two years later she became the exclusive spokesmouse for Minnie in movies and commercials.
Allwine, a native of Burbank, Calif., started at Disney at 20 in the mailroom. In 1977, after an actor failed to show up at an audition for Mickey, Allwine, then a sound-effects man, was asked to fill in—and squeaked into the role. When Taylor met him in 1986, both were emerging from unhappy first marriages. Five years later they wed. "The key to Mickey and Minnie's relationship," says Allwine, "is lots of love and a good script. The key to ours is just a lot of love. We ain't scripted."
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