Though her popularity waned a bit in the 1930s, Minnie Mouse has been around just as long as Mickey. In fact, they share the same birthday. While Walt Disney famously reminded us that “It was all started by a mouse”, we would argue that Mickey wouldn’t be who he is today if it weren’t for his better half. Here are nine fun facts you may not have known about the mouse behind the mouse.
1. “Minnie” May or May Not Be Short for Another Name
Much like Mickey, there is some dispute as to whether or not Minnie is short for another moniker. The comic strip The Gleam — which was briefly published from January 1942 to May of that same year — originally referred to Minnie as Minerva Mouse. More recently, the Mickey Mouse television series that ran from 2013 to 2019 featured an episode (episode 14 of season 4, to exact) in which Mickey refers to his sweetheart as “Minifred”.
2. She Has Two Pets
While it may be more commonly known that Minnie has a pet cat named Figaro — who originally appeared in Pinocchio — she also has a pet dog as well. Fifi, her prize-winning Pekingese, often serves as a love interest for Pluto. She is perhaps best known for Pluto’s Quin-puplets, a 1937 short in which she leaves Pluto to tend to their litter of pups while she goes out for food.
3. Pluto was Originally Her Dog
Pluto has become Mickey’s loyal pooch and best friend, but it wasn’t always that way. When the character first debuted in 1930’s The Chain Gang, he served as a bloodhound tracking down an escaped Mickey. At that time, he didn’t even have a name. Shortly thereafter, he appeared in The Picnic as Minnie’s dog Rover. The character quickly evolved into Pluto, named after the planet (that’s no longer a planet), which was named by an 11-year-old girl shortly before Disney capitalized on the popularity of the galactic discovery.
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4. She and Mickey Are Said to Be Married
Although they’ve never participated in any on screen nuptials, it is assumed that Mickey and Minnie are married to one another. This is due in large part to an interview Walt Disney gave to Film Pictorial magazine back in 1933, in which he stated that “In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie.” What Walt was basically suggesting is that the pair are married in “real life”, though on film their roles may differ to suit the needs of the story. It was perhaps a nod to many Hollywood romances, in which stars who were married in real life would often appear together in film.
5. At One Point She Didn’t Speak on Screen for 12 Years
As hard as it is to believe, from the years 1974 to 1986 Minnie Mouse did not speak on film. Her character did make appearances during that time, such as portraying Bob Cratchet’s wife in Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983, though her character did not have any speaking lines. That all changed, however, in 1987 when Russi Taylor took on the role she would command for the next 30+ years until her death in 2019.
6. She Didn’t Always Wear Her Signature Colors
It’s hard to imagine Minnie wearing anything but her signature colors, which have historically been red or pink. In her first appearance in color (1935’s On Ice), Minnie is wearing a yellow skirt with white polka dots. In the past she has also livened up her wardrobe with blue skirts and heels, red skirts with blue polka dots, green skirts, and even yellow gloves. In many of her early appearances, she also wore no shirt at all, much like Mickey.
7. She Originally Wore a Hat Instead of Her Oversized Bow
Early incarnations of the character saw Minnie taking her fashion cues from the flapper era, which is why she wore a pillbox hat with (appropriately enough) a white daisy sprouting from the top. It wasn’t until a 1940 redesign that Minnie started sporting her now iconic oversized bow. Bows were also added to her shoes and in the ensuing years her overall style would become more conservative, reflecting the fashions of American women during that same time period.
8. She Comes From a Farming Family
The world’s most well-known female mouse came from humble beginnings. The 1930 comic strip Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers introduced many of Minnie’s family members, including her farmer father Marcus Mouse, as well as her uncle Milton and grandparents Marvel and Matilda Mouse. Her mother, however, was never referred to by name. Though it would be a safe bet to assume her name begins with an “M”.
9. She was Originally Voiced by Walt Disney
Just like her counterpart, Minnie was first voiced by none other than Walt Disney himself. Walt took on the role out of necessity more than anything, and his stint only lasted roughly a year before being briefly succeeded by Marjorie Ralston and then Marcellite Garner. In total, only seven different women have voiced the character, the most recent of which (Kaitlyn Robrock) having debuted on Disney Junior’s Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures in 2020.