Ryan's death was verified by his talent agency, Nery Lemus, on November 19th.
Will Ryan, a veteran voice actor best known for his work as Willie the Giant on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Peg-Leg Pete, and Petrie in the renowned animated picture The Land Before Time, died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 72 years old at the time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The world is a little less bright tonight with the passing of Will Ryan,” wrote Lemus in a statement. “As much as he was known to many of you as a Disney icon, voice-over legend, gun twirling cowboy, musician/songwriter, a brilliant comedic actor, along with a list of credits that don’t even touch the essence of what he accomplished… he was my friend.”
“For those who didn’t know him, he was a beautiful person. He was selfless. His humility was endless. He spent his entire life helping others and the loss his friends and family feel tonight would be a tragic understatement,” Lemus continued.
“He was a beautiful soul and I was honored to just know him, let alone represent him. I can’t find all the words that would express what he meant to our company CelebWorx, and the rest of the world he touched with his talent.”
Ryan began his career by lending his voice to short animated films such as Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore and the Academy Award-nominated animated film Mickey’s Christmas Carol. He went on to play a recurrent part in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. G.I. Joe, Joe: The Revenge of Cobra, and Dumbo’s Circus.
He played Petrie in Universal’s animated adventure picture The Land Before Time, which went on to become a children’s classic, in 1988. He also voiced characters in Teen Wolf, DuckTales, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, and The Smurfs in the 1980s.
The veteran voice actor has over 100 movie credits to his name and has received multiple nominations, including Annie Awards and WGA Awards, as well as an Outstanding Children’s Program Emmy nomination in 1998 for producing and writing The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.
Reactions to Disney Voice Actor Will Ryan Passed Away
Remembering Will Ryan, a prominent voice of my childhood.— Alex Popp (@PoppCulture94) November 21, 2021
R.I.P. Will Ryan (1949 – 2021) pic.twitter.com/9Dvv5ny0p3— Alec Behan (@alec_behan) November 20, 2021
I know it’s dumb but I found out Will Ryan (voice actor) died of cancer yesterday. That means one of my favorite characters died too (Eugene Meltser from Adventures in Odyssey). I always connected with him as I felt I shared so much in common with the character and now he’s gone. pic.twitter.com/ClaVY6s9t1
— Folfswimmer #unbornlivesmatter (@folfswimmer) November 20, 2021
Just found out that Will Ryan (voice of Petrie in the original Land Before Time) has passed away, rest in peace, may you earn your wings for real and fly like he did. xxoo— 💀Steph O'K☠🖤 (Crazy Squirrel Lady) (@KawaiiSteffu) November 20, 2021
My heart is sad tonight. Just learned, someone who I have grown up with my entire life has passed away 😓. He is now with God, he will be missed greatly, he was much loved. #WillRyan #AIO— Kris (@Filmmaker_12) November 20, 2021
Will Ryan, best known to me as Eugene Meltsner on Adventures in Odyssey, has passed away. Eugene has always been one of my favorite characters for most of my life. He’ll be missed. 💔— Bree (@Captainaqua18) November 20, 2021
Just heard that Will Ryan died. Teddy Ruxpin was a big part of my childhood, and even today I still find a lot of Grubby's lines funny. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/dyITXnkUhJ— felineki (@felineki) November 21, 2021
Listening through Will Ryan's albums now 😭 https://t.co/gFgsIA5pcQ— 𝕲. 𝕶. 𝕮𝖍𝖊𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖕𝖔𝖘𝖙𝖎𝖓𝖌 (@graphiccons) November 21, 2021
R.I.P to Will Ryan who passed away yesterday at the age of 72 pic.twitter.com/83mdLblHZn
— Dream Big (@dream_big2015) November 21, 2021