Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse for the past 26 years, died of complications from diabetes on May 18. Allwine was fortunate in that, unlike his immediate predecessor, Jimmy MacDonald, he got a full and fair chance to display his talents in real, live (?) mass-marketed cartoons in which Mickey was actually allowed to BE Mickey, as opposed to a symbol/spokesmouse. Mickey Mouse Works (1999-2000) and Disney's House of Mouse (2001-2003), though their impact was somewhat limited by the ongoing decline of the Disney TV Animation operation and their own relatively rigid formats, hit the bullseye more often than not. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), The Prince and the Pauper (1990), Runaway Brain (1995), The Three Musketeers (2004), and other such "one-off" efforts also merit praise. My one real regret regarding Allwine's sterling career is that Allwine didn't get a chance to star in an honest-to-gosh adventure series (one, perhaps, even based on the comic-strip stories of Floyd Gottfredson) on the order of DuckTales and other series from DTVA's "Golden Age." The occasional seven-minute clashes with The Phantom Blot or "costume dramas" on Mouse Works don't quite cut it. Allwine certainly had the chops and attitude to carry it off.
In tribute to Allwine, here's his duet with the great Tress MacNeille (as Daisy Duck) in a House of Mouse ep:
And how could I leave out the song's reprise with Minnie, voiced by Allwine's own wife of 20 years, the equally talented Russi Taylor (She originally had me at "Quackaroonie!", but I digress):
Condolences to Russi and the rest of the Allwine family.