He is the most curmudgeonly character in a star-studded Disney menagerie that includes Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto.
Donald Duck — the irrascible but unflappable waterfowl — is preparing to be feted in grand fashion, as he turns 75 years old Tuesday.
From the beginning, fabled cartoonist Walt Disney envisioned Donald Duck as a foil to Mickey Mouse, his good-as-gold, animated star created a half-dozen years earlier.
While goody-two-shoes Mickey was most appealing to children, Disney sought to create in Donald Duck a more piquant character with adult appeal — and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
In his 75 years, his feathered anti-hero has tried his hand at more than 100 different professions, but failed at them all. Donald always seems to be short of cash and make a habit of lurching from one misadventure to the next.
But no matter how often thwarted and how deeply humiliated, Donald Duck forges on — which is what has made him such a big hit with his legions of fans.
“He’s a loser, not a quitter, and he’ll go down fighting,” wrote the Disney company in its description of the beloved character on their website.
Known for his barely decipherable speech and his penchant for running afoul of the other Disney characters, Donald, beneath it all, has a heart of gold, another quality that has charmed adoring fans over the decades.
The prickly duck made his celluloid debut on appeared on June 9, 1934 in a short animated feature called Little Wise Hen, a movie fable fashioned on the Little Red Hen fairy tale about a chicken who finds that help is scarce when she tries to recruit workers to plant and harvest her corn crop.