Biography of Famous Filmmaker and Cartoon Star Mickey Mouse

About the famous filmmaker and cartoon star Mickey Mouse, history and biography of the character.

Mickey Mouse (1928- ). Mickey Mouse was born on a train en route to Los Angeles from New York. His early life is somewhat of a secret, and it was not until he applied for work at the Disney Studios that Mickey's film career was launched and carefully recorded. In his 1st silent film, Plane Crazy, he met and fell in love with his leading lady, Minnie Mouse, who also appeared in Mickey's 2nd film, Gallopin' Gaucho. Although he could not find financial backing for his silent movies, Mickey, confident of his talent, made a "talkie," Steamboat Willie. The addition of a synchronized sound track made Mickey's character come fully alive, even though his voice was rather squeaky. Steamboat Willie premiered in New York City where it was a box-office sensation.

Mickey's early pictures revolved around his talent as an entertainer particularly as a violinist and pianist. Not satisfied to be known only as a musician, Mickey insisted on "juicier" roles. In 1930-1931, he starred in 21 films in which he played such characters as a fire chief, soldier, hunter, cowboy, prisoner, and great lover. The studio began making color films in 1932, but Mickey, always modest and concerned with the welfare of others, continued to appear in black and white, allowing the studio to use more of its available funds to add color to the film endeavors.

By 1935 Mickey Mouse was an internationally renowned star. Germany had chosen one of his films as one of the 10 best pictures of the year (1930). Awards came in from Argentina and Cuba. Russia sent him an antique cut-glass bowl from the 1st Soviet Cinema Festival. When Mickey made his initial color film, The Band Concert, he received awards from the 3rd International Cinematographic Arts Exhibition in Venice and from the Brussels International Festival. Not to be outdone by foreign praise, Worcester, Mass., officially proclaimed May 12 as "Mickey Mouse Day."

Although Mickey starred in 16 pictures in 1936-1937, he was losing ground to other Disney studio stars--particularly a sailor-suited duck named Donald and a canine actor called Pluto. During the 4 years preceding W.W. II Mickey appeared in fewer films, and he sometimes took 2nd billing to Pluto. However, his popularity was reinstated with Fantasia (1940) for his role as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." When war broke out, he retired to concentrate on aiding the war effort. His dedication and service were duly acknowledged--the password of the Allies on D-Day in 1944 was "Mickey Mouse." With the war ended, Mickey returned to Hollywood, but he was finding it increasingly difficult to add scope and depth to the characters he portrayed. Always the "good guy," he was not supposed to lose his temper or do anything sneaky. When he erred, critical fan mail poured into his office.

In 1955, Mickey made a smash comeback with The Mickey Mouse Club, a show that played 5 days a week on national television. A cast of 24 "Mouseketeers" aided him. They sang, danced and, in general, helped him make each day a glorious one--Monday was "Fun with Music Day"; Tuesday, "Guest Star Day"; Wednesday, "Anything Can Happen Day"; Thursday, "Circus Day"; and Friday was "Talent Round-Up Day."

In 1959 Mickey realized that he enjoyed public relations more than film making and agreed to become the official host for Disneyland in California and later for Walt Disney World in Florida. Currently, he is busy shaking hands, leading parades and having his picture taken with visitors to the "Magic Kingdoms."

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