A Collection of McDonaldland's Favorite Character
& Ronald's Best Friend
Grimace became one of the most beloved of the McDonaldland characters with a fascinating evolution, beginning as a villain known as “Evil Grimace” out to steal milkshakes and becoming a best friend and sidekick to Ronald McDonald himself.
Grimace is a purple blob-ish, purple creature with short arms and legs and of unknown species. He's not very intelligent, but he's always cheerful and optimistic. He often says "duh" before most of his sentences, adding to the persona of being friendly and well intentioned, but also somewhat of a clumsy buffoon. He was often depicted as making mistakes or causing mishaps, but always with a positive attitude and good intentions.
So how did The EVIL GRIMACE evolve from a villain to Grimace Ronald McDonald’s best friend and sidekick?
Grimace from McDonald’s was originally the evil villain always trying to steal milkshakes from McDonald's customers, but because his attempts were so blundered and comical, he became an adored character. After the first round of commercials, in which even with four arms Grimace blundered his attempts to steal milkshakes, the advertising company decided he would better serve as a comic foil to the more classic and able hero of Ronald McDonald.
Now with only two arms but a bigger heart, Grimace was transformed into the more loveable and well-meaning character who tried to help out in McDonaldland.
What is Grimace supposed to be?
Adoring fans have long tried to pin down more about his origins and species. The species of Grimace has been a topic of debate, with some speculating that he is an embodiment of a milkshake or a Grimace taste bud.
In recent years, fans have finally been able to get more answers. McDonald's Corporation twitter account stated ‘Grimace is the embodiment of a milkshake,’ and according to Brian Bates, the manager of a McDonald's franchise in Windsor, Canada "He is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless."
To some fans, this finally clarifies more of what he is supposed to represent, however others feel it confuses the story since in 1994 McDonald's spokesperson Jane Hulbert said "Grimace personifies the child in everyone. He is Ronald [McDonald]'s special pal. Everyone loves Grimace because of his innocent, loving nature. He occasionally causes trouble in McDonaldland because he is clumsy, but his friends overlook this because he is so happy.”
Grimace is the only character in McDonaldland who is shown to have a family, which includes his mother, father, grandma "Winky," great-great grandma Jenny Grimace, and possibly a brother named King Gonga. He also has two aunts named Millie and Tillie, who were featured in a 1999 commercial. The most known of his family members, however, is Grimace's uncle, Uncle O'Grimacey. He appeared yearly at McDonald’s around St. Patrick's Day to bring the highly desired and beloved Shamrock Shakes.
Over the years, the advertising company continued to streamline characters, and in the 1980s Grimace was one of the few members to also be retained until the end of the McDonaldland commercials. Grimace in the early days was used to advertise the happy meal as he will eat anything that comes with a toy.
By the time the 1990s VHS series The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald hit homes, Grimace was solidified as Ronald’s best friend, and they undertook adventures in the real world and McDonaldland. Grimace and the Hamburglar were often fighting off the striped clothes bandit’s’ villainous schemes.
In one episode titled “The Legend of Grimace Island” “Grimace finds a map to the fabled Grimace Island, an island populated by his own kind, where supposedly a great treasure awaits. The gang sails off, followed by a pair of greedy pirates”. Other videos included “The Visitors From Outer Space,” “Birthday World,” and “Have Time, Will Travel, often ending with Ronald reflecting on the lesson they learned in the events of the episode.
In the 1990s, Grimace was given a more streamlined appearance and his role in McDonald's advertising campaigns was reduced. Grimace may no longer be as prominent as he once was, but he has still made occasional appearances in various McDonald's promotions. Grimace has been featured in various McDonald's promotions over the years, including in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and a Super Bowl commercial. In recent years, he has made a comeback on social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter.
Over the years, Grimace has been voiced by several actors over the years, including Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, and most recently in 2022 by Ryan Reynolds. He has also been portrayed by actresses Patti Saunders, Mauri Bernstein, and Terry Castillo.
Despite the decline in McDonald’s use of McDonaldland in general and Grimace’s fewer appearances, Grimace remains a beloved and iconic character, and his merchandise is highly sought after by collectors, especially the rarest of Grimace McDonald’s toys.