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Donald Duck is an animated cartoon and comic-book character from Walt Disney Productions. Donald is a white anthropomorphic duck with yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He usually wears a sailor shirt and cap — but no pants (except when he goes swimming).

According to the cartoon Donald Gets Drafted (1942), Donald's full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck (his middle name appears to be a reference to his sailor hat, which was a common accessory for Fauntleroy suits). Disney's website also states his name as Donald Fauntleroy Duck.[1] Donald's birthday is officially recognized as June 9, 1934, the day his debut film was released, but in The Three Caballeros, his birthday is given as simply "Friday the 13th." In Donald's Happy Birthday (short) it has his birthday as 13 March.

Although usually easygoing, Donald's most famous trait is his short and often explosive temper. He is also sometimes portrayed as more crafty and cynical than other characters such as Goofy or Mickey.

Donald's famous voice, one of the most identifiable voices in all of animation, was until 1985 performed by voice actor Clarence "Ducky" Nash. It was largely this semi-intelligible speech that would cement Donald's image into audiences' minds and help fuel both Donald's and Nash's rise to stardom. Since 1985, Donald has been voiced by Tony Anselmo, who was trained by Nash himself for the role.

Donald in animation

According to Leonard Maltin in his introduction to The Chronological Donald - Volume 1, Donald was created by Walt Disney when he heard Clarence Nash doing his "duck" voice while reciting "Mary had a little lamb". Mickey Mouse had lost some of his edge since becoming a role model for children and Disney wanted a character that could portray some of the more negative character traits he could no longer bestow on Mickey.

Donald Duck first appeared in the Silly Symphonies cartoon The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934 (though he is mentioned in a 1931 Disney storybook). Donald's appearance in the cartoon, as created by animator Dick Lundy, is similar to his modern look — the feather and beak colors are the same, as is the blue sailor shirt and hat — but his features are more elongated, his body plumper, and his feet bigger. Donald's personality is not developed either; in the short, he only fills the role of the unhelpful friend from the original story.

Bert Gillett, director of The Wise Little Hen, brought Donald back in his Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Orphan's Benefit on August 11, 1934. Donald is one of a number of characters who are giving performances in a benefit for Mickey's Orphans. Donald's act is to recite the poems Mary Had a Little Lamb and Little Boy Blue, but every time he tries, the mischievous orphans eat his specially made pie, leading the duck to fly into a squawking fit of anger. This explosive personality would remain with Donald for decades to come.

Donald continued to be a hit with audiences. The character began appearing in most Mickey Mouse cartoons as a regular member of the ensemble with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. Cartoons from this period, such as the 1935 cartoon The Band Concert — in which Donald repeatedly disrupts the Mickey Mouse Orchestra's rendition of The William Tell Overture by playing Turkey in the Straw — are regularly hailed by critics as exemplary films and classics of animation. Animator Ben Sharpsteen also minted the classic Mickey, Donald, and Goofy comedy in 1935, with the cartoon Mickey's Service Station.

In 1936, Donald was redesigned to be a bit fuller, rounder, and cuter. He also began starring in solo cartoons, the first of which was the January 9, 1937 Ben Sharpsteen cartoon, Don Donald. This short also introduced Donald's long-time love interest, Daisy Duck (here called Donna Duck). Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, would make their first animated appearance a year later in the April 15, 1938 film, Donald's Nephews, directed by Jack King (they had been earlier introduced in the Donald Duck