Actress Christine Cavanaugh passed away on December 22 at the age of 51. Cavanaugh was an unforgettable voice of Nineties-era cartoon characters, bringing to life Dexter on Dexter’s Laboratory, Chuckie on Rugrats, Gosalyn Mallard in Darkwing Duck, and the titular character in the 1995 feature Babe, just to name a few of her more famous roles.

Cavanaugh abruptly retired from voice acting in 2001 at the age of 38, and was not heard from again until the announcement of her death today. No location or cause of death were announced by her family.

Christine Cavanaugh and Chuckie at the premiere of "The Rugrats Movie," November 1998. (Photo: Featureflash /
Christine Cavanaugh and Chuckie at the premiere of “The Rugrats Movie,” November 1998. (Photo: Featureflash /

The death announcement published today doesn’t offer closure to Cavanaugh’s many fans who were saddened by her abrupt departure from the animation world. The notice contains numerous cryptic and un-obituary-like comments that only deepen the intrigue about her final years, alluding to the “unpleasantness of reality,” “intelligence to…accept what fate had allowed,” and the “evolution in her life”:

Many know of her from the roles she played, but in each role there was a part of her showing through that the ones who truly knew her could see. The childlike awe of the world, humor to deal with the unpleasantness of reality, strength to deal with the challenges we all face, and intelligence to know when to act or accept what fate had allowed. Christine lived her life the way she wanted. Accolades, notoriety, and recognition were not the reason for her interest in entertainment, it was for the love of entertainment, to make people smile. When her life changed she found herself needing the quiet of the country and her love changed from entertaining to hiking, reading, writing and living a simple life. Even with the evolution in her life her wit, wisdom and imagination were still alive and well.

Cavanaugh did not have any children and was divorced from her husband Kevin James Cavanaugh.

Her voice acting colleagues have been expressing condolences on Twitter:

Candi Milo, who replaced Cavanaugh as the voice of Dexter, wrote:

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