Taylor had a prolific voice acting career that began in 1986, when she auditioned with about 200 other people and won the role of Minnie Mouse. “I got lucky, I got very lucky,” Taylor once said. Playing one of Disney’s most beloved cartoon characters lead to a number of other notable gigs: Taylor also voiced The Simpons’s Martin Prince (the frequently bullied classmate of Bart), as well as characters in the movie Babe and shows like Teen Titans, The Wild Thornberrys, and DuckTales.
According to Disney’s statement, Taylor said she once met Walt Disney when she was very young, and that she always knew she wanted to work for him:
“When I was a little girl, I was with my mom and my brother, and it was late at night at Disneyland. We had just come off the Mark Twain Riverboat and were getting some popcorn. I looked over and saw Walt sitting on a bench, so we introduced ourselves and shared our popcorn with him. At one point during our chat, he asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, and I said, ‘I want to work for you!’ So he said, ‘Okay!’—and now I do!”
Playing Minnie Mouse shaped the course of Taylor’s personal life. Although she was married at the time she met Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, in the late 80s (he was married too), the two eventually reconnected once they were both single; they married in 1991. Taylor told Variety in 2017:
“We just started hanging out as pals, and the next thing you know, we were an item,” Ms. Taylor said. “We just had fun. He was the best. He was a wonderful man, he was a good man and he was a kind man. He was very, very strong and very, very male. And that voice came out of him. It’s like, ‘Huh?’”
Allwine died 10 years ago, in 2009. He was 62.
Taylor once said, according to Disney’s statement, “You have to bring yourself to a character,” but added that playing Minnie also changed her. “But because of this particular character, she actually enhances who I am, she really does. In a sense, Minnie makes me better than I was before because there’s a lot to live up to.”