The famous and all-time kids favorite Donald Duck is known for his semi-intelligible speech and mischievous, temperamental, and pompous personality. “The ‘secret’ of Donald Duck’s voice is really just muscle control that you have to develop, like lifting weights. You have to contort your mouth in a certain way, and the muscles have to be strong enough to stay contorted, so you can lock into it and concentrate on acting rather than ‘doing’ the voice”, mentions Tony Anselmo, the official character voice of the famous Donald Duck since 1985 following the death of Clarence Nash. After spending three years perfecting the voice of the vinegary fowl, Tony respectfully took up the legacy left to him by his good friend, and mentor.
During an interview, Anselmo revealed that “Most people believe that Donald’s voice is done squeezing air through the cheek, that is not true. I can’t reveal how it’s actually done, but it is definitely not done by squeezing air through the cheek. The Hanna Barbara character ‘Yakky Doodle’ is done that way. Donald Duck is not”
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, US, Anselmo as a four-year-old developed an early fascination with Disney since the screening of Mary Poppins. He is the only animator to animate the character he voiced. In 1990, when the Studio released The Prince and the Pauper, Tony became the first person to animate and voice Donald.
Anselmo is also Donald’s voice, and animator on Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Funny You Don’t Look 200, and the 60th Annual Academy Awards in 1988. Identifying his penchant and curiosity in the world of Disney, he didn’t just want to watch it but play a significant role in it. “Pending a natural disaster, I expect to be doing Donald for the rest of my life.” As a student, Anselmo used to imitate his teachers, giving an impetus to another interest he had. To materialize his dream, Anselmo began drawing and indulging in advanced animation at home with a Super 8 camera.
With the support and encouragement of his Disney Animation correspondents Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, Jack Hannah, and others. Anselmo attended the California Institute of the Arts on a full scholarship from the Disney Family. He began his studies in the Character Animation Department at CalArts in fall 1978 whose department head Jack Hannah spent decades as the Disney Director producing Donald Duck shorts and television shows. His other teachers were Disney legends T. Hee, Ken O’Connor, and Bill Moore.
Anselmo’s first performance as Donald was on a television program titled D-TV Valentine in 1986. Anselmo worked as a voice actor for the Kingdom Hearts series, which features Donald Duck as one of three main characters. He also provided the voice of Donald in the video game Kinect Disneyland Adventures in 2011. As well as all Disney Cruise Line shows, Consumer Products, Theme Park attractions, and Feature Films. His latest role as Donald is on the Disney Jr. show “Mickey Mouse Funhouse.
In September 2009, Tony Anselmo was named the Disney Legend by Roy E. Disney. He is also known for his comprehensive collection of Disney posters which culminated into an art book ‘The Disney Poster’ in 2002.