Jimmy MacDonald
John James MacDonald

(1906-05-19)May 19, 1906
DiedFebruary 1, 1991(1991-02-01) (aged 84)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California
Years active1934–1989
Sarah Roberta Cullen
(m. 1936)

John James MacDonald (May 19, 1906 – February 1, 1991) was a Scottish-American Foley artist, voice actor, musician and conductor. He was the original head of the Disney sound effects department, and was also the 2nd official voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1976 and again in 1978 and 1987 after Walt Disney stopped playing the character and before Wayne Allwine became the third voice of Mickey in 1977.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early life

MacDonald was born on May 19, 1906, in Dundee, Scotland.[6] His parents were Richard William MacDonald and Minnie Hall. The family emigrated to America when MacDonald was 1 month old. They travelled via the SS Haverford from Liverpool, England, arriving in Pennsylvania fifteen days later.


Sound effects

As a young man, MacDonald landed a job as a musician on the Dollar Steam Ship Lines, which in 1934 led to an opportunity to record music for a Disney cartoon. He went on to secure a permanent contract with Disney, becoming head of the sound department.

In addition to directing sounds for animated shorts as aurally complicated as Mickey's Trailer (1938), he developed many original inventions and contraptions to achieve expressive sounds for characters like Casey Jr., the circus train engine from Dumbo (1941); Evinrude the dragonfly from The Rescuers (1977); the bees in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966); and Buzz-buzz (later called "Spike"), the bee who gets the best of Donald Duck in his 1950s short films. He also made the sound effects of Tick Tock the crocodile from Peter Pan (1953) and Dragon Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (1959) by using castanets.

MacDonald also added voice effects, like on-screen humming for Kirk Douglas in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).

The majority of his effects are available on Cartoon Trax Volume 1, from The Hollywood Edge, which was released in 1992. A few of his other effects showed up on other non-Disney sound libraries, such as the International Sound Effects Library and the Hanna-Barbera Sound Effects Library, both from Sound Ideas. Some other releases containing MacDonald's sound effects include a few specialty sound effect record releases from Disneyland Records, most notably Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.

By the time of his death, he was preparing to work on the sounds for the Splash Mountain attraction in Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World.[6][7]

Voice acting

James MacDonald did the first test yodeling for the dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) before they brought in professional yodelers[8] as well as doing some sounds for Dopey such as his hiccuping and sobbing.[9]

By 1947, Walt Disney was getting too busy and hoarse from smoking to continue voicing Mickey Mouse, so he offered the job to MacDonald. MacDonald voiced Mickey Mouse until his retirement in 1976, at which point he was replaced by his sound effects protégée, Wayne Allwine, for The New Mickey Mouse Club.[1][5] However, MacDonald returned to voice Mickey again for an appearance at the 50th Academy Awards in 1978 and the opening of Star Tours at Disneyland in 1987.[4] Despite formally retiring, MacDonald remained involved with several Disney productions; he voiced Evinrude from The Rescuers (1977) and was often consulted for sound-effects projects.[10][6]

MacDonald was the original voice actor for Chip, one half of the duo Chip and Dale. He provided the voice of Lumpjaw in Fun and Fancy Free, Jaq and Gus the mice and Bruno the dog in Cinderella (1950), the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland (1951), Humphrey the Bear, the howling of the dogs at the pound (along with Thurl Ravenscroft) in Lady and the Tramp (1955), the Wolf in The Sword in the Stone (1963), and the hyena in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). He appeared in the film Toby Tyler (1960) as the Circus Band Drummer, but was uncredited[citation needed] and appeared in Fantasia (1940) as one of the musicians[11]

MacDonald played drums in the Firehouse Five Plus Two jazz band. He played with the band on and off from its inception until it disbanded in the early 1970s.

Personal life

MacDonald married Sarah Roberta Cullen in 1936, they remained married until his death in 1991.[10]


MacDonald died of heart failure at his home in Glendale, California on February 1, 1991, at the age of 84. He was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.[1]


Sound effects work


Year Title Position Notes
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Sound effects Uncredited
1938 Mickey's Trailer Uncredited
1940 Pinocchio Uncredited
1941 The Reluctant Dragon Uncredited
Baggage Buster Uncredited
Dumbo Uncredited
1942 Bambi Uncredited
Saludos Amigos Uncredited
1943 Victory Through Air Power Uncredited
1944 The Three Caballeros Uncredited
1946 Make Mine Music Uncredited
Song of the South Uncredited
1947 Fun and Fancy Free Uncredited
1948 Melody Time Uncredited
Inferior Decorator Uncredited
Seal Island Documentary film, uncredited
So Dear to My Heart Uncredited
1949 Honey Harvester Uncredited
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Uncredited
1950 Cinderella Uncredited
Beaver Valley Documentary film, uncredited
1951 Nature's Half Acre Documentary film, uncredited
Alice in Wonderland Uncredited
1952 The Olympic Elk Documentary film, uncredited
Water Birds Documentary film, uncredited
1953 Peter Pan Uncredited
Bear Country Documentary film, uncredited
Powlers of the Evergladers Documentary film, uncredited
The Living Desert Documentary film, uncredited
1954 The Vanishing Prairie Documentary film, uncredited
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Uncredited
1955 Lady and the Tramp Uncredited
The African Lion Documentary film, uncredited
1956 Secret of Life Documentary film, uncredited
1957 Perri Uncredited
1958 White Wilderness Documentary film, uncredited
1959 Sleeping Beauty Uncredited
1960 Jungle Cat Documentary film, uncredited
1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Uncredited
1963 The Sword in the Stone Uncredited
1964 Mary Poppins Uncredited
1966 Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Uncredited
1967 The Jungle Book Uncredited
1968 Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day Uncredited
The Love Bug Uncredited[12]
1970 The Aristocats Uncredited
1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks Uncredited
1973 Robin Hood Uncredited
1974 Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too Uncredited
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Uncredited
1977 The Rescuers Uncredited
1979 The Black Hole Special sound effects


Year Title Position Notes
1964 Mary Poppins Assistant conductor Credited as James MacDonald
1968 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band
1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Acting credits


Year Title Role Notes
1936 The Cowboy Star Still Photographer Uncredited
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Dopey (voice, hiccuping and crying) Uncredited
1940 Donald's Vacation Various voices Uncredited
Fantasia Percussionist Uncredited
1941 The Reluctant Dragon Sound effects man Uncredited
1942 Out of the Frying Pan Into the Firing Line Butcher (voice) Uncredited
1943 Private Pluto Chip (voice) Uncredited
1946 Squatter's Rights Chip (voice) Uncredited
1947 Fun and Fancy Free Bongo, Lumpjaw (voice) Uncredited
Chip an' Dale Chip (voice) Uncredited
1948 Mickey Down Under Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
Pluto's Purchase Uncredited
Three for Breakfast Chip (voice) Uncredited
Mickey and the Seal Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
1949 Pueblo Pluto Uncredited
Winter Storage Chip (voice) Uncredited
All in a Nutshell Uncredited
Toy Tinkers Uncredited
1950 Cinderella Jaq, Gus, Bruno (voices)
Crazy Over Daisy Chip (voice) Uncredited
Trailer Horn Uncredited
Suspense Jeff Episode: "Wisteria Cottage"
Food for Feudin' Chip (voice) Uncredited
Out on a Limb Uncredited
1951 Chicken in the Rough Uncredited
Corn Chips Uncredited
Plutopia Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
Test Pilot Donald Chip (voice) Uncredited
Alice in Wonderland Dormouse (voice)
R'coon Dawg Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
Out of Scale Chip (voice) Uncredited
1952 Donald Applecore Uncredited
Lambert the Sheepish Lion Wolf (voice) Uncredited
Two Chips and a Miss Chip (voice) Uncredited
Pluto's Party Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
Pluto's Christmas Tree Mickey Mouse, Chip (voices) Uncredited
1953 The Simple Things Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
Rugged Bear Humphrey the Bear (voice) Uncredited
Working for Peanuts Chip (voice) Uncredited
1954 The Lone Chipmunks Uncredited
Dragon Around Uncredited
Grin and Bear It Humphrey the Bear (voice) Uncredited
Social Lion Lion (voice) Uncredited
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ned Lad humming "Whale of a Tale" (voice) Uncredited
1955 Bearly Asleep Humphrey the Bear (voice) Uncredited
Beezy Bear Uncredited
Up a Tree Chip (voice) Uncredited
1956 Chips Ahoy Chip (voice) Uncredited
Hooked Bear Humphrey the Bear (voice) Uncredited
In the Bag Uncredited
1959 Noah's Ark Animal sounds (voice)
1960 Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus Drummer Uncredited
1963 The Sword in the Stone Wolf (voice) Uncredited
1966 Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Bees (voice) Uncredited
1967 The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin Saloon Percussionist Uncredited
The Jungle Book Shere Khan, Bagheera (voice, roaring) Uncredited
1968 The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show Mickey Mouse (voice) Uncredited
1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks Hyena (voice) Uncredited
1977 The Rescuers Evinrude, Brutus and Nero (voice)
1981 The Fox and the Hound The Bear (voice) Uncredited
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Jaq and Gus (voices; archive audio)
2023 Once Upon a Studio Jaq and Gus (voices; archive audio)


Year Title Role Notes
1955–1968 The Magical World of Disney Mickey Mouse, Chip, Lumpjaw (voices) Episodes: "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show", "This Is Your Life", "Pluto's Day", "Adventures of Mickey Mouse", "Jiminy Cricket Presents Bongo"
1989 Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Humphrey the Bear (voice) Episode: "Bearing Up Baby"

Theme park attractions

Year Title Role
1971 Mickey Mouse Revue Mickey Mouse (voice)


  1. ^ a b c MacDonald, Jimmy (February 8, 1991). "Obituaries: James MacDonald, 84, Mickey Mouse's Voice". LA Times. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  2. ^ Obituary Variety, February 18, 1991.
  3. ^ Birth certificate
  4. ^ a b Korkis, Jim (February 12, 2021). "Animated Characters At the Academy Awards". Cartoon Research. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  5. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (May 21, 2009). "Wayne Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse, dies at 62". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Interview: Jimmy MacDonald – The Dundee voice of Disney". scotsman.com. December 23, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  7. ^ Staff, Variety (February 18, 1991). "James MacDonald". Variety. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  8. ^ Thomas, Frank; Johnston, Ollie (1995). The illusion of life : Disney animation (1st Hyperion ed.). New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6070-7. OCLC 32509417.
  9. ^ YouTube. "Disney Family Album #4-Jimmy MacDonald". YouTube. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  10. ^ a b AP (February 8, 1991). "James MacDonald, 84, Mickey Mouse's Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  11. ^ "Jimmy Macdonald".
  12. ^ Segaloff, Nat (2017). Screen Saver Too: Hollywood Strikes Back. BearManor Media. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
Preceded byOriginal voice Voice of Chip 1943–1977 Succeeded byTress MacNeille
Preceded byWalt Disney Voice of Mickey Mouse 1947–1977 Succeeded byWayne Allwine