×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James MacDonald

James Macdonald, 84, Disney sound effects veteran and the official voice of Mickey Mouse from 1946 to 1976, died Feb. 1 in Glendale, Calif., of heart failure.

Over a 48-year career, Macdonald was credited with creating and assembling one of the largest sound effects libraries in film history. His menagerie of sound added dimension to all of Disney’s animated shorts and features from 1934 on.

In 1946, Walt Disney selected Macdonald to take over for him as the official voice of Mickey Mouse. Beginning with the “Mickey And The Beanstalk” segment of “Fun And Fancy Free,” he provided the familiar falsetto for the mouse on all film and tv projects.

In 1983, Macdonald turned the voice over to Wayne Allwine, who has since provided the mouse’s voice.

In addition, Macdonald provided the yodeling, whistling and sneezing for the dwarfs in “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” (1937).

He was the voice of Jaq and Gus in “Cinderella” (1950); the Dormouse in “Alice In Wonderland”; did the barks for Pluto; provided the high-pitched, excitable voices of Chip ‘n’ Dale; and, in 1977, he came out of retirement to take on the dragonfly Evinrude in “The Rescuers.”

On screen, he could be seen as the silhouetted figure of a timpani player in “Fantasia,” and he made several appearances on the Disney tv series in the 1950s as the drummer in the jazz group the Firehouse Five Plus Two.

He also did sound effects for live-action films.

Macdonald was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1906, but his parents came to the U.S. when he was 1 month old. He grew up in Philadelphia, and received a correspondence school degree in engineering before moving to California in 1927.

In 1934, he was playing drums and percussion for the Dollar Steamship Lines when the band, between cruises, was called to the Disney Studios to record for a Mickey Mouse short.

In 1989, Macdonald’s sound effects career was depicted in the Disney-MGM Studios attraction “The Monster Sound Show” in Florida.

He remained active and was scheduled to create sounds for the Splash Mountain attraction in Tokyo and Walt Disney World.

Survived by his wife, Roberta.

More Scene

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content