NASH, CLARENCE CHARLES (1904–1985).
Internationally known as the voice of Walt Disney's cartoon character Donald Duck, Clarence Charles Nash was born in Watonga, Oklahoma, on December 7, 1904, to Everett and Katherine Nash. The six Nash children grew up in Watonga, in Missouri, and in Southern California. As a child, Clarence Nash delighted in imitating the made by birds, insects, and barnyard animals.
In the 1920s he moved into the entertainment industry with Chautauqua in Illinois and moved to California with a new bride, Margaret Seamans, in 1930. Seeking work at the Disney studio, in late 1933 he was hired to craft the voice of a newly created cartoon character, Donald Duck, in his first movie, The Wise Little Hen (1934). Thereby began a Disney career that ended only in 1983.
From 1934 to 1972 Nash was the principal (but not the only) "sound artist" who regularly voiced Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as well as Daisy Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and even Mickey Mouse on occasion. He also recorded (uncredited) animal sounds heard in Silly Symphonies and in movies that included Bambi (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Song of the South (1946), and 101 Dalmatians (1961). (Another Oklahoman, Mary Blair, was Disney's animation artist for The Three Caballeros and Song of the South).
Nash retired from Disney in 1971 and devoted himself to charity work, often performing in his duck voice for children in hospitals. In 1981 and 1983 the studio called him back to work to voice a bear in The Fox and the Hounds and for one last stint as Donald Duck for Mickey's Christmas Carol. A Glendale resident, Nash died of leukemia on February 20, 1985, in Los Angeles.
"Clarence C. Nash," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
Roberta Nichols, "For Clarence Nash, 50 Years as Donald's Voice Is Just Ducky," Los Angeles Times, 6 May 1984.
Larry O'Dell, "The Men and Women Behind the Scenes," in Oklahoma @ The Movies, comp. Larry O'Dell (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, "Nash, Clarence Charles," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed March 23, 2017).
© Copyright Oklahoma Historical Society 2009.