Jimmy MacDonald (sound effects artist)
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|Born||John James MacDonald
May 19, 1906
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
|Died||February 1, 1991
Glendale, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Congestive heart failure|
|Occupation||Animator, voice actor, musician and head of Disney sound effects department|
John James "Jimmy" MacDonald (May 19, 1906 – February 1, 1991) was a British-born voice actor and the original head of the Disney sound effects department. He was also the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1977.
He was born in the family home at 268 West Street Crewe, Cheshire on May 19, 1906. His parents were Richard William MacDonald and Minnie Hall. The family emigrated to America when MacDonald was six months old. They travelled via the SS Haverford from Liverpool, England, arriving in Pennsylvania 15 days later.
As a young man MacDonald landed a job as a musician on the Dollar Steam Ship Lines, which in 1934 led to an opportunity to record music for a Disney cartoon. He went on to secure a permanent contract with Disney, becoming head of the sound department.
Career and sound effects
In addition to directing sounds for animated shorts as aurally complicated as Mickey's Trailer (1938), he developed many original inventions and contraptions to achieve expressive sounds for characters like Casey Jr., the circus train engine from Dumbo (1941); Evinrude the dragonfly from The Rescuers (1977); the bees in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966); and Buzz-buzz (later called "Spike"), the bee who gets the best of Donald Duck in his 1950s short films.
By 1947, Walt Disney was getting too busy and too hoarse from smoking to continue voicing Mickey Mouse, so he was replaced by MacDonald, who voiced some parts of Mickey for the film Fun and Fancy Free (1947). MacDonald voiced the mouse until 1977, when he was replaced by young Disney sound effects man Wayne Allwine for The New Mickey Mouse Club (Allwine's first theatrical role of Mickey was in the 1983 featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol).
MacDonald was also the original voice actor for Chip, one half of the duo Chip and Dale. He provided the voice of Lumpjaw in Fun and Fancy Free, Jaq and Gus and Bruno the dog in Cinderella (1950), the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland (1951), Humphrey the Bear, the howling of the dogs at the pound in Lady and the Tramp (1955), the Wolf in The Sword in the Stone (1963), Shere Kahn's roars and the wolves that greet Mowgli in The Jungle Book (1967), and the hyena in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). He even appeared in the feature film Toby Tyler (1960) as the Circus Band Drummer, but was uncredited. He also appeared in Fantasia (1940) as one of the musicians. He also made the soundeffects of Tick Tock the crocodile and Dragon Maleficent by using castanets.
MacDonald also found time to play drums in the Firehouse Five Plus Two jazz band. He played with the band on and off from its inception until it disbanded in the early 1970s.
- Obituary Variety, February 18, 1991.
- Book: A Viking in the Family by Keith Gregson, published in 2011 by the History Press.
- MacDonald, Jimmy. "Obituaries: James MacDonald, 84, Mickey Mouse's Voice". Online newspaper. LA Times. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- James MacDonald at the Internet Movie Database
- Biography at Disney Legends website
- Jimmy MacDonald at Find a Grave
- The Voice of Mickey Mouse at The Scotsman website
- The Voice of Mickey Mouse at BBC Radio Scotland
|Voice of Mickey Mouse
|Voice of Chip