Legendary voice actress June Foray has passed away at the age of 99 at her home in Los Angeles, according to a relative who made the announcement on Facebook. The actress, known for her work in Looney Tunes and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, was only eight weeks shy of her 100th birthday. Foray worked in the voice-acting business for over 75 years and was instrumental in promoting the field of animation in Hollywood.
Born in Masachusetts, Foray was first introduced to voice-acting when she began voicing characters in radio dramas in the late 1930s. Foray later began working in animation by lending her voice to the Disney films Cinderella and Peter Pan.
In 1954, Foray was invited to join Warner Bros. Cartoons by Chuck Jones. It was with Warner Bros. that Foray played her most memorably and beloved role: Granny, the elderly woman who protected Tweety Bird from Sylvester the Cat. Foray voiced Granny in several shorts, and returned to the role for various Looney Tunes shows, video games, TV specials, and movies, including Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Foray voiced Granny up until her retirement in 2014. Her last time voicing the character was in the Cartoon Network series, The Looney Tunes Show, which aired from 2011 to 2014.
Foray’s association with Looney Tunes has never been limited to one character. Foray also voiced the malevolent Witch Hazel, a character’s whose personality was drastically different from Granny. Her ability to voice a multitude of diverse characters led the actress to be compared with Looney Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc, known as “The Man With a Thousand Voices.” In response to the comparison, Chuck Jones once remarked, “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”
Aside from her role as Granny, Foray will also be remembered as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Not only did Foray voice one of the male leads, she voiced most of the female characters in the series. Foray also did work for Hannah-Barbara in cartoons like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo: Where Are You?, and Tom and Jerry.
Despite amassing hundreds of voice-acting roles, Foray didn’t win her first Emmy Award until 2012 when at the age of 94, she won the award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role as Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show.
Foray’s contribution to Hollywood extended to more than just voice-acting. She was an early member of ASIFA-Hollwood, a group devoted to the promotion of animation. Described as the “fairy godmother of animation,” Foray eventually paved the way for the creation of the Academy Award for Best Animation Feature in 2001.
The family of June Foray will be holding a private funeral for her.
Source: Dave Nimitz
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