Show with the mouse: "Mouse" inventor is dead

The title character of the "Show with the Mouse" was once invented by the graphic artist Isolde Schmitt-Menzel. She has now died at the age of 92.

An old woman with a hat and gold jewelry shows drawings of the mouse

The graphic artist Isole Schmitt-Menzel shows the mouse, which became a cult figure Photo: Jan Woitas/picture alliance

COLOGNE/FRANKFURT AM MAIN dpa | She invented a character that shaped generations of children - now she is "Mouse Mother" dead: The graphic artist Isolde Schmitt-Menzel died at the age of 92. The WDR announced this on Saturday, citing the family.

According to WDR, the artist, who was born in Eisenach, illustrated around 35 books and made bronze and ceramic sculptures. She lived a long time as a freelance artist in Texas and southern France. She is best known for the creation of the orange cartoon mouse, which was first seen in 1971 in "The Show with the Mouse". The WDR acknowledged that she shaped their original and imaginative character with the first 100 or so mouse spots she created.

Without her and her great creativity, the mouse would not have seen the light of day, said WDR program director Jörg Schönenborn. "We are very grateful to Ms. Schmitt-Menzel for that." The Twitter account "Die Maus" operated by WDR said: "She gave the mouse her essential character traits and her color and will live on in her. We are very sad."

More than 51 years after it was first broadcast, the show has long since become an institution. The mouse was honored by the Federal President, sung about it by Stefan Raab and brought into space by Alexander Gerst.

No gray mouse

Schmitt-Menzel developed the character from her book illustration "Die Maus im Laden". In a WDR interview on the occasion of the mouse's 40th birthday, she recalled the character's hour of birth: "That was exactly not my profession, a gray mouse. I was into fantastic and crazy stuff. Then I thought: The mice will definitely all get a different color than gray. And the main mouse was orange, with brown ears, arms and legs.” Yellow stands for intelligence, red is energy.

"The two things together in my mouse was my aspiration because I'm like that," she said. According to WDR, Isolde Schmitt-Menzel died last Sunday, September 4th, surrounded by her family in Frankfurt am Main.

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