Tony Anselmo

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Not to be confused with Tony Anselmo (Canadian football).
Tony Anselmo
Born Anthony Anselmo
(1960-02-18) February 18, 1960 (age 56)[1]
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts
Occupation Voice actor, animator
Years active 1980–present
Known for The voice of Donald Duck
Notable work Mickey Mouse franchise
Awards Disney Legend Award (2009)

Anthony "Tony" Anselmo (born February 18, 1960)[1] is an American voice actor and animator. Since 1985, he has been the official character voice of Donald Duck.

Early life[edit]

Anselmo was born on February 18, 1960 in Salt Lake City, UT. His grandfather had emigrated there from Italy in the 1920s to work in the Bingham Canyon Mine.

Anselmo formed an early fascination with all things Disney sparked by a screening of Mary Poppins at the age of four. Anselmo says, “I remember leaving the theater and asking, ‘How did they do this? Who did that?’ and so on…So a seed was planted there, and from that time on I never wanted to be a fireman, an astronaut, or anything else. I wanted to work for Disney.”

Anselmo’s family moved to Sunnyvale, in northern California, when he was seven, and he continued to actively study Disney and animation. He began drawing, utilizing the famed Preston Blair art book, Advanced Animation [1], built a light table of his own, and began creating animation with a Super 8 camera.

He attended Marian A. Peterson High School in Sunnyvale, and his artistic efforts there showed a natural talent for draftsmanship. He began to cultivate that talent with night art classes at local colleges, and began regular correspondence with the artists who animated the Disney films, including Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Eric Larson, and Milt Kahl.

Anselmo says, “Ollie wrote a lot and sent me drawings, advising me to learn quick sketch, life drawing, and design.”

He was also nurturing another interest that seemed unimportant at the time. “I was always doing voices,” Anselmo says, “imitating the teachers and so on. I was the class clown.”

With the support and encouragement of his Disney Animation correspondents, Anselmo was able to attend California Institute of the Arts on a Disney Family Fellowship. Anselmo says, “The Disney family’s support meant so much to me. If it hadn’t been for their help, that dream would have died then and there.”

He began his studies in the Character Animation Department at CalArts in the fall 1978. The head of the department was Jack Hannah, whose Disney career had included ten years as director of the unit producing Donald Duck shorts.

The school had a standard four-year degree program, but because of its close connection with the Disney Studio, the students’ work was subject to the scrutiny of studio executives. Anselmo was selected to transfer to the Studio after only his second year. On September 1, 1980, he reported for work to the Disney Animation department in Burbank, CA.


Although Anselmo moved from a student role at CalArts to a professional one at Disney animation, he was assigned to a new and more intense course of study at the Studio. Anselmo says, “Ron Miller had just set up a program called the Disney School of Animation on the lot with Don Hahn, to train new artists in carrying on Walt’s traditions in character animation. We weren’t even in production. We were being paid to animate tests with Eric Larson, studying life drawing with Walt Stanchfield, and learning more than we had at CalArts. It was an immersion in Disney character animation. That’s never happened since. I was honored to be a part of that. We were assigned Disney animation desks, and Eric would hand out the animation tests to us. We’d animate a scene, bring it in to Eric, and he’d ‘plus’ it and show us how it was done. He was incredibly patient, and generous with his time.”

In subsequent years, Anselmo contributed to the animation of 20 Disney animated features, including 'The Black Cauldron, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Tarzan and The Emperor's New Groove.

One of the Disney stalwarts that Anselmo frequently encountered during his early days at Disney was Clarence Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck. Tony’s friendship with Nash started casually. Anselmo says, “I was really just curious about it, because I could do voices, and that was one voice I couldn’t do.” Unable to duplicate the sound, Anselmo asked Nash to show him his technique. “It took me a long time to learn that, and actually I think it took Clarence a while to perfect that as well,” Anselmo says.

The year of 1984 was Donald Duck's 50th Birthday, an event celebrated by Disney with events, products, and personal appearances all around the country by Nash. He and Anselmo continued working together and occasionally socializing. During this time, however, Anselmo was unaware that Nash had leukemia. From time to time, the two continued their informal “training” in performing Donald’s dialogue, Anselmo never suspecting that Nash had a larger motive in mind. “I think, in hindsight, one of the reasons Clarence spent so much time working with me on Donald’s voice and personality before mentioning his plans for succession is that he wanted to make absolutely sure I would do that legacy justice before telling me.” When Nash died on February 20, 1985, Anselmo inherited the role of Donald Duck as Nash had wished.[2]

But certain things have remained the same. “We use the same mike Clarence used,” Anselmo says. “It’s the original ribbon mike and it has a much warmer sound.” He has also developed the fine points of his own technique. “I remember Clarence saying, ‘The Duck sounded really good that day.’ I’d ask him, ‘What do you mean?’ and he’d say, ‘Oh, some days Donald just sounded better than others and I don’t know why.’"

Anselmo’s first performance as Donald was on a television program titled D-TV Valentine, a special on The Disney Channel,[3] and since then, Anselmo has voiced Donald hundreds of projects, including television, feature films, theme parks, and consumer products. Anselmo has also shared voice-over duties (with Russi Taylor) for Huey, Dewey, and Louie since 1999. He has voiced the nephews on the TV special Down and Out With Donald Duck, and the shows Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse (while Taylor voiced the nephews in DuckTales, Mickey's Once and Twice Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Speedway USA and the remastered DuckTales video game in 2013.) He also lent his voice to minor characters in The Great Mouse Detective, Mickey's Around the World in 80 Days and Phineas and Ferb.

Anselmo has also worked as a voice actor for the Kingdom Hearts series, which features Donald Duck as one of three main characters. He also provided the voice of Donald in the video game Kinect Disneyland Adventures in 2011.

Anselmo has been honored with several awards and nominations. He was a winner of the 2014 BTVA Television Voice Acting Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Television Series - Children's/Educational for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse; as well as the BTVA Video Game Voice Acting Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game Kingudamu hâtsu 3D: Dorîmu doroppu disutansu.

In September 2009, Tony Anselmo was named a Disney Legend.[4]

Anselmo began collecting Disney objects and ephemera at an early age, and is known for his comprehensive collection of Disney posters relating to the works of Walt Disney. This expertise resulted in a 2002 art book, The Disney Poster Book featuring the Collection of Tony Anselmo [2]



Year Film Voice Notes
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Thug Guard #3 (voice)
1987 Down and Out with Donald Duck Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Huey Dewey and Louie (voice)
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Donald Duck (voice)
1990 The Prince and the Pauper Donald Duck (voice)
1999 Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Donald Duck (voice)
2000 Fantasia 2000 Donald Duck (voice)
2001 Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie (voice)
2002 Mickey's House of Villains Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie (voice)
2004 The Lion King 1½ Donald Duck (voice)
2004 Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Donald Duck Nominated - Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
2004 Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas Donald Duck (voice)
2007 Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt Donald Duck (voice)
2009 Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland Donald Duck (voice)
2009 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo-Choo Express Donald Duck (voice)
2010 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally Donald Duck (voice)
2011 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Space Adventure Donald Duck (voice)


Year Television Voice Notes
1986 D-TV Valentine Donald Duck (voice)
1987–1988 DuckTales Donald Duck (voice)
1988 Totally Minnie Donald Duck (voice)
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Donald Duck (voice)
1989–1990 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Donald Duck (voice)
1990 Disney Sing-Along Songs: Disneyland Fun Donald Duck (voice)
1993 Bonkers Donald Duck (voice)
1994–1995 Mickey's Fun Songs series Donald Duck (voice)
1995 Gargoyles Additional voices (voice)
1996–1997 Quack Pack Donald Duck (voice)
1998 The Spirit of Mickey Donald Duck (voice)
1999–2000 Mickey Mouse Works Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie (voice)
2001–2003 Disney's House of Mouse Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie (voice)
2006–2016 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Donald Duck (voice)
2011 Phineas and Ferb Additional voices (voice)
2012–present Minnie's Bow-Toons Donald Duck (voice)
2013 Wheel of Fortune: Making Disney Memories Week Donald Duck (voice)
2013–present Mickey Mouse Donald Duck (voice)

Video games[edit]

Year Video Game Voice Notes
2000 Mickey's Speedway USA Donald Duck (voice)
2000 Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers Donald Duck (voice)
2002–present Kingdom Hearts series Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney Golf Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney Sports Soccer Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney Sports Skateboarding Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney Sports Football Donald Duck (voice)
2002 Disney Sports Basketball Donald Duck (voice)
2003 Disney's Party Donald Duck (voice)
2003 Toontown Online Donald Duck (voice)
2008 Disney Think Fast Donald Duck (voice)
2010 Epic Mickey Donald Duck (voice)
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Donald Duck (voice)
2012 Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Donald Duck (voice)
2012 Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Donald Duck (voice)
2014 Disney Magical World Donald Duck (voice)
2014 Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Donald Duck (voice)
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Donald Duck (voice)


Year Film Animation
1985 The Black Cauldron Assistant animator
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Key assistant animator
1988 Oliver & Company Animating assistant
1989 The Little Mermaid Character animator
1990 The Prince and the Pauper Character animator
1991 Beauty and the Beast Animator: "Wardrobe"
1992 Aladdin Assistant animator: "Jasmine"
1994 The Lion King Key assistant animator: additional "Young Simba" and miscellaneous characters
1995 Pocahontas Key assistant animator: "Flit"
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Associate lead key clean-up animator: "Gypsies, Guards and Others"
1997 Hercules Key assistant animator: additional clean-up animation
1998 Mulan Additional key assistant clean-up animation
1999 Tarzan Lead key assistant animator: "Porter"
2000 Fantasia 2000 Additional animator, key clean-up animator
2000 The Emperor's New Groove Key assistant animator: "Pacha"
2002 Treasure Planet Key assistant animator: "Sarah" and miscellaneous characters
2004 Home on the Range Key assistant animator: "Miscellaneous"
2004 Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Animation clean-up: "Donald Duck", key clean-up artist
2005 Pooh's Heffalump Movie Clean-up artist

Park Attractions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Joseph Walker (May 27, 1987). "An Utahn is the man behind Donald Duck". The Deseret News. Retrieved 2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "If It Quacks Like This Odd Duck, It Must Be Tony Anselmo". People. May 18, 1987. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ Tony Anselmo at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ "2009 Disney Legends Award Recipients to Be Honored During D23 Expo in Anaheim" (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. September 1, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 

External links[edit]