Minnie Mouse is the classic cartoon character that is as much a part of the Walt Disney Company as any other. She is a flamboyant animal cartoon character originally created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney, and has remained popular ever since. Minnie got her start in 1928, when Iwerks drew her as the companion of Mickey Mouse.
Minnie first came to public attention in the comic strip story "Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers" (published September 22–December 26, 1930). The serial introduced Minnie's father Marcus Mouse and her unnamed mother, both farmers. Minnie was shown as having an uncle, Milton Mouse, with his family and her grandparents Marshal Mouse and Matilda Mouse. Her other uncle, Mortimer Mouse, and her twin nieces, Millie and Melody Mouse, remain popular, though of course not as popular as Minnie herself. Minnie was shown to be the girlfriend of Mickey Mouse, and also as being a close friend of Daisy Duck Clarabelle Cow.
Minnie at first did not even have a name. It was not until the comic strip story "The Gleam" (published January 19–May 2, 1942) by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson bestowed upon her the name as Minerva Mouse. While nobody calls her Minerva, the short form of 'Minnie' has stuck ever since.
Minnie became a star in the classic cartoon that starred Mickey, 'Steamboat Willie.' It was released on November 18, 1928. Minnie's friend Pete was featured as the Captain of a steamboat, with Mickey along as one of the crew and Minnie as their sole passenger. This was one of the earliest sound films, and there is a lot of homespun music such as "Turkey in the Straw".
Walt Disney himself first voiced Minnie, along with his similar duties for Mickey Mouse. Eventually, with sound quality improving, they figured that it would be better to have the female character voiced by a woman. Disney inker (almost all inkers were women in those days) Marjorie Ralston voiced her in one cartoon in 1929. Marcellite Garner voice Minnie throughout the 1930s. Minnie starred in her own radio program (along with Mickey, of course) in 1941 to 1942, and on that radio program, The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air, Thelma Boardman voiced her. Next up was the fabulous Ruth Clifford, who did the Minnie voice from 1942 through 1985. Russi Taylor took over in 1986, while her late husband, Wayne Allwine, voiced Mickey from 1977 until his death in 2009. Asians love Minnie Mouse, and Yūko Mizutani does her voice in Japanese.
Minnie Mouse is a fabulous presence and almost as popular as Mickey Mouse himself.