Tony Anselmo was born on February 18, 1960 in Salt Lake City, UT, and formed an early fascination with all things Disney sparked by a screening of Mary Poppins (1964) at the age of five.
His family moved to Sunnyvale, in northern California, when he was seven, and he continued to actively study Disney and animation. He began drawing, built a light table of his own, and began creating animation with a Super 8 camera.
He attended Marian A. Peterson High School in Sunnyvale, and began to cultivate his talents with night art classes at local colleges, and began regular correspondence with the artists who animated the Disney films, including Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Eric Larson, and Milt Kahl.
With the support and encouragement of his Disney Animation correspondents, Anselmo was able to attend California Institute of the Arts on a Disney Family Fellowship. He began his studies in the Character Animation Department at CalArts in the fall 1978.
The school had a standard four-year degree program, but because of its close connection with the Disney Studio, the students’ work was subject to the scrutiny of studio executives. Anselmo was selected to transfer to the Studio after only his second year. On September 1, 1980, he reported for work to the Disney Animation department in Burbank, CA.
In subsequent years, Anselmo contributed to the animation of 20 Disney animated features, including The Black Cauldron (1985), The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), Tarzan (1999), and The Emperor’s New Groove (2000).
One of the Disney stalwarts that Anselmo frequently encountered during his early days at Disney was Clarence Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck. Anselmo asked Nash to show him his vocal technique. From time to time, the two continued their informal “training” in performing Donald’s dialogue. When Nash passed away on February 20, 1985, Anselmo inherited the role of Donald Duck as Nash had wished.
Anselmo’s first performance as Donald was on a television program titled DTV Valentine (1986) a special on The Disney Channel, and since then, Anselmo has voiced Donald hundreds of projects, including television, feature films, theme parks, and consumer products.
Anselmo has also shared voice-over duties (with Russi Taylor) for Huey, Dewey, and Louie since 1999. He has voiced the nephews on Mickey Mouse Works (1999) and Mickey Mouse Works: Episode #2.1 (1999) (while Taylor voiced the nephews in DuckTales (1987), Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999), and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004), Mickey’s Speedway USA (2000), and the remastered DuckTales: Remastered (2013),) He also lent his voice to minor characters in The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Mickey’s Around the World in 80 Days (2005), and Phineas and Ferb (2007).
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