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Original photo by RGR Collection/ Alamy Stock Photo
8 Fun Facts About Mickey Mouse
Read Time: 4m
Article image
Original photo by RGR Collection/ Alamy Stock Photo

Red shorts, oversized yellow shoes, white gloves, and big ears: We all know this cartoon mouse. The most recognized rodent in the world, Mickey Mouse is the mascot of Disney and appears on everything from coffee cups and T-shirts to purses and watches. Though he started out on the silver screen, Mickey’s also active in cyberspace — his Instagram account has more than 3 million followers. Here are eight great facts you might not know about the world’s favorite mouse.

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Walt Disney Didn't Draw the Original Mickey Mouse

Sketch by Ub Iwerks of Mickey Mouse playing the drums.
Credit: JIM WATSON/ AFP via Getty Images

Walt Disney is the person most closely associated with Mickey, but it was Disney’s creative partner, Ub Iwerks, who first sketched out the cute cartoon mouse. Disney and Iwerks met while working in Kansas City and dreamed up Mickey when they lost the rights to their first popular character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. (Oswald eventually came home to Disney in 2006.) Iwerks made a number of important technological contributions to filmography, and was honored with two Academy Awards.

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Mickey Is Almost 100 Years Old

Steamboat Willie, 1928.
Credit: LMPC via Getty Images

When Mickey burst on the scene in 1928, Herbert Hoover was President, and “talkies” (movies with sound) were just taking off. In fact, Mickey’s first two appearances were in silent cartoons (Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho), although these failed to find a distributor.

Mickey’s third effort — and first public appearance — was Steamboat Willie, which debuted on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York. The short film was an immediate hit, and Mickey’s first two shorts were then released publicly, with music and sound effects added.

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The Mouse Never Rests

Mickey Mouse dressed in a top hat on stage.
Credit: Taha/ Unsplash

Since his 1928 debut, Mickey Mouse has appeared in more than 120 theatrical releases. He’s also the mascot of the Disney theme parks (in Florida, Shanghai, Paris, California, and Hong Kong). If that weren’t enough, the anthropomorphic mouse keeps guests company on Disney cruises, and laces up his skates to perform in Disney on Ice, which has entertained more than 320 million guests in 68 countries since 1981.

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He’s a One-Mouse Man (Um, Mouse)

Mickey and Minnie Mouse together.
Credit: Taha/ Unspash

While they’ve never been married on-screen, Walt Disney himself said, “In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie.” The couple have been together since the beginning, although Minerva (Minnie’s real name) did date Mickey’s archnemesis, Mortimer Mouse, for a time. Minnie’s a career woman, too. In 1988, she starred in her own TV special, Totally Minnie, along with Suzanne Somers, Elton John, and Robert Carradine.

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Walt Disney Voiced Mickey and Minnie

Walt Disney posing next to a stuffed Mickey Mouse.
Credit: ullstein bild Dtl via Getty Images

Not liking the voice actors he interviewed, Walt Disney voiced Mickey from 1929 to 1946. But before Walt took over, Mickey’s first words were spoken by composer Carl Stalling in The Karnival Kid. Those words? “Hot dog!”

Here’s some real romance: Later actors who voiced Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, got married in real life. Since 2009, Mickey has been voiced by Bret Iwan.

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He’s No Stranger to the Red Carpet …

 Mickey Mouse on the red carpet during the Disney Legends awards.
Credit: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Mickey has rubbed elbows with celebrities at the Academy Awards over the years.  In 1988 and again in 2003, he presented the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. His cartoons have been nominated for that same award 10 times, and one, Lend a Paw, came home with the golden statue in 1941. Meanwhile, Walt Disney received an honorary Academy Award in 1932 for creating the cartoon mouse.

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… Or the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Mickey Mouse's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Credit: Donaldson Collection/ Michael Ochs Archive via Getty Images

If Academy Awards weren’t enough, in 1978, Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to get his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in honor of his 50th anniversary. (Minnie has one, too.) And in 2005, Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character selected to be the grand marshal of Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

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Lots of Stars Have Mickey to Thank for Their First Major Appearance

The Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers Annette Funicello.
Credit: Archive PL/ Alamy Stock Photo

The first Mickey Mouse Club variety show aired in 1955, with 39 child actors singing, dancing, and acting in skits. The show ran for three seasons, and a number of “Mouseketeers,” such as Annette Funicello and Johnny Crawford, went on to big Hollywood careers. The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, which launched in 1989, gave us Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling.