Not so Dumb

Dopey is the youngest and most childlike of the dwarfs. He’s mute, clumsy, and often serves as the comic relief of the group. Dopey’s large ears, oversized shoes, and perpetual grin make him instantly lovable. Since he doesn’t speak, Dopey communicates through his expressive facial expressions and gestures. Those were influenced by Eddie Collins, who modeled for the character and even contributed the hiccups and various screams that the dwarf makes. Animators Frank Thomas and Vladimir Tytla were instrumental in crafting Dopey’s endearing personality, making him a fan favorite despite his lack of dialogue.


The character was apparently influenced by a previous famous comic strip character called Mickey Dugan, aka The Yellow Kid, created in 1895 by Richard F. Outcault. According to Shamus Culhane who animated the dwarfs coming home from the mine, his famous hitch-step walk was inspired by a sequence of the Laurel and Hardy film Bonnie Scotland.

Dopey (September 28, 1936 – sheet 1)

Dopey’s fame

In May 1938, as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sweeps the country and it becomes evident that Dopey is everyone’s favorite dwarf, Walt Disney virtually kills him in an article in Movie Mirror called The Dramatic Life and Death of Dopey, where he states that he will not use the character or his buddies in future productions. He did, however, use him in shorts during World War II.