You have probably never heard of voice actor Wayne Allwine. But there is absolutely no doubt you have heard his voice before. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse, and he passed away on May 19, 2009.
Since Mickey was created in 1928, he has only had three official voices: Walt Disney voiced Mickey from 1928 until the mid-1950's, with his final vocal performances as Mickey being in animated segments from the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. Sound engineer Jimmy MacDonald voiced Mickey from the mid-1950's until the late 1970's. Wayne Allwine took over the character 32 years ago, and for people my age he was the Mickey we grew up with.
In the 1960's, Wayne started working for the Disney Studios in the mail room. He says he met Walt Disney only a few times before Walt passed away, never knowing that one day he would become the voice of Walt's most famous creation. Wayne learned the voice of Mickey from Jimmy MacDonald (then the current voice of Mickey), and Wayne took over from Jimmy in 1977 when Jimmy retired.
Wayne performed Mickey for literally thousands of projects. Between the TV shows and specials, movies, recordings for the theme parks, computer games, and toys, Wayne has performed Mickey more than Walt or Jimmy did combined...at least a dozen times over.
I hear Mr. Allwine's voice on a daily basis, as Hanna is a huge fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I can't help but wonder how Mickey's voice will change now that Wayne is gone. Every voice of Mickey has been the same, but different, with each person bringing something unique to the character.
Another interesting fact that most people don't realize is that Wayne was married to voice actress Russi Taylor, who provides the voice for -- who else -- Minnie Mouse. Wayne passed away from diabetes complications with Russi by his side. He was only 62.