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News Every Day |

Donald Duck Turns 90. Here Are 10 Surprising Facts About Disney’s Iconic Duck

A Donald Duck mascot seen gesturing during the 90th

Happy birthday, Donald Duck! 

The iconic cartoon Disney character turned 90 on Sunday. To celebrate decades of the boisterous icon entertaining us on the screen, here are 10 surprising facts about everyone’s favorite duck.

[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Donald Duck initially started as a minor character

The notoriously grumpy made his first cartoon appearance on June 9, 1934 as a supporting character in the short The Wise Little Hen.

“Donald Duck started as a minor character, but immediately they realized that he was a perfect foil for Mickey Mouse,” Becky Cline, the director of Walt Disney Archives, said in a video promoting the character’s 90th birthday. “He could do anything.”

There’s some discrepancy about his birthday

Although June 9 is listed as his official birthday, some of the films Donald Duck appears in list other dates as his birthday.

In the film The Three Caballeros, his birthday is said to be “Friday the 13th,” a nod to how Donald Duck experiences a lot of bad luck in many films, according to the Hollywood Walk of Fame website. In Donald’s Happy Birthday, his birthday is said to be March 13.

He was in the military

On May 1, 1942, Donald Duck made his first appearance in the military in the film Donald Gets Drafted, according to Military.com.

Cline told ABC7’s On The Red Carpet that the U.S. government asked Disney to use Donald Duck in short films that tried to motivate people to pay their taxes to support the war effort during World War II.

Read More: Mickey Mouse Is Now in the Public Domain After 95 Years of Disney Copyright

Donald Duck has a middle name

In Donald Gets Drafted, viewers can see his draft card, which lists his middle name as Fauntleroy, according to Military.com.

Famous voice actor may have inspired character’s creation

Clarence Nash had a talent for animal imitations, film historian J.B. Kaufman told NPR. The voice actor had already been doing some freelance work for Disney before he took on the iconic—and often unintelligible—role of Donald Duck, according to Kaufman. Kaufman said that Nash is partly to thank for the creation of Donald Duck—the voice actor had a “parlor trick of putting on this baby goat’s voice” to do “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” and when Walt Disney heard this, he imagined a talking duck.

Nash also voiced Donald Duck’s nephews, Uncle Scrooge, and sometimes even Mickey Mouse, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. While Nash retired from Disney in 1971, he often performed his duck voice for children who were in hospitals. He voiced Donald Duck one last time for Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983, before he died of leukemia in 1985.

Since 1985, Tony Anselmo has been the main voice behind Donald Duck. He was trained by Nash himself for the role, according to the Hollywood Walk of Fame website.

Donald Duck has a twin sister

While most fans know that Donald Duck has three nephews—Huey, Dewey, and Louie—some may not know that he has a twin sister. Della Duck, Donald Duck’s twin and a mom to Donald Duck’s three nephews, appears in the TV show DuckTales, which debuted in 2017 as a reboot of the previous show, according to the Associated Press. Part of Della Duck’s storyline in the show is about her crash landing on the moon, which caused her to lose a leg.

He was in TV Guide’s 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time

Donald Duck ranked at 43 in the 2002 list, sharing the list with other beloved characters like Bugs Bunny, Homer Simpson, The Grinch, and SpongeBob SquarePants, CNN reported.

Donald Duck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The beloved Disney character was granted Hollywood stardom in a ceremony on Aug. 9, 2004. His star is located at 6840 Hollywood Blvd, according to the Hollywood Walk of Fame website.

He was in a movie that won an Oscar

In 1943, Donald Duck appeared in Der Fuehrer’s Face, an anti-Nazi political satire short film, according to ABC7. The film won the Academy Award for best cartoon short.

Donald Duck has inspired a school mascot

Donald Duck is the inspiration behind the University of Oregon’s mascot, though the official mascot is known as The Oregon Duck. In an informal deal, Disney allowed the university to use the beloved cartoon character’s likeness for its mascot for free, so long as “it was used in a reputable manner,” according to the university’s website. When Walt Disney died in 1966, his estate and the university realized there wasn’t a formal contract over the mascot, so the two parties “worked to create a written agreement outlining the terms of Donald’s continued use as Oregon’s official duck representative,” the university said on its website.

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