Last week week we received the sad news that voice actor Russi Taylor, 75, passed away at her home in Glendale California due to colon cancer. Taylor was the voice of Minnie Mouse along with Simpsons characters Martin Prince, Sherri, Terri and Uter.
Simpsons show runner Al Jean immediately tweeted: “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Russi Taylor a true delight to work with.”
Matt Selman, an executive producer for The Simpsons said: “Farewell to the hilarious, huggable Russi Taylor, who every day exploded with love for her characters.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger released a statement which praised Taylor for impact on the world: “We’re so grateful for Russi’s talent as well as the tremendous spirit and great joy she brought to everything she did,” he continued. “It was a privilege to have known her and an honor to have worked with her, and we take comfort in the knowledge that her work will continue to entertain and inspire for generations to come.”
The question now becomes, what to do with the characters she portrayed on the show. Sherri, Terri and Uter can easily be written off as they only had a handful of appearances on the show with little speaking time. Martin Prince on the other hand was a frequent side character with loads of memorable moments.
The show does have a history of retiring characters, so its possible Martin might meet that same fate. In 1998 actor Phil Hartman, who voiced Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, was shot and killed by his wife, in news that made headlines at the time. The show opted to retire the characters despite the two being well used and fan favorites.
Similarly, in 2013, Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel, passed away from pneumonia and sepsis after ongoing struggles with breast cancer. The show also retired her character.
However, when Doris Grau, voice of Lunchlady Doris, passed in 1995 her character was kept using archived sound from previous recordings. In 2006, Doris was renamed Dora and restored to speaking roles voiced by Tess MacNeille.
One thing’s for sure though: Russi Taylor will be missed. Martin may not have been a marquee character but he certainly won everyone over throughout the years. He’s been involved in some classic episodes, giving us some great laughs along the way. Stay tuned because I’ll be doing a list of the best Martin episodes in due course!
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