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June Foray 1917 - 2017
July 28, 2017  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

June Foray was heard but not seen.

Foray, who died Thursday in Los Angeles, just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday, provided the voices for hundreds of animated television and film characters over a career that spanned 10 decades.

And here’s the amazing part: She would have been almost as immortal in the voice-over game had she only done one of those characters: Rocket J. Squirrel from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

She actually voiced three characters on that show – Rocky, Natasha Fatale, and Nell Fenwick – from 1959 to 1964. For those keeping score at home, she had been in the game for 30 years before she got that gig, and she would remain active for another 50 after it ended.

Her other work included Warner Bros. cartoons, Disney cartoons, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, The Smurfs, Gummi Bears, The Flintstones and The Simpsons. You can hear her in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and she’s Grandmother Fa in Mulan.

Maybe just to keep us off-balance, she was also the voice of Talky Tina, a creepy doll in a 1963 Twilight Zone episode.

And the next time you watch Jaws, you might want to know that it’s Foray’s voice you hear when Michael and Sean Brody seem to be talking. She did a lot of ADR work – automated dialogue replacement.

Foray had begun her career before television existed. She was 12 when she did her first radio drama near her native Springfield, Mass. A few years later, she was writing and hosting her own radio drama, Lady Make Believe, and by the 1940s she was working regularly on radio shows like The Buster Brown Program, where she was Midnight the Cat, and the Lux Radio Theater.

She did multiple voices on The Jimmy Durante Show and pretty much finished her radio career with a tour de force. She had often worked with Stan Freberg, and in the summer of 1957, she played multiple characters on The Stan Freberg Show, one of the last great treasures of live sketch-comedy radio.

By then she had done some live acting as well. She played a range of characters on The Johnny Carson Show, the one he hosted before The Tonight Show.

But her voice was her ticket, as her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame confirms, and she worked over the years to generate respect for animation voiceover actors. Like most other voiceover artists, she had gone uncredited for much of her own early work.

She was an early supporter of ASIFA-Hollywood, which promotes animation. She was a major mover in the creation of the annual Annie Awards (for achievements in animation) and helped persuade the Motion Picture Academy to create a best animated feature category in 2001.

Eleven years later, in 2012, she became the oldest artist to win an Emmy, for voicing Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show (right). She was 94.  

Two years after that, in 2014, she revived Rocket J. Squirrel for a Rocky and Bullwinkle short.

It was a fitting way to wrap things up. We could ask no more.

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Brilliant. Beautiful. Bubbly.Energetic.Modest of her many talents,A sense of humor behind all those scripts she read-we believed what she performed. Stan Freberg,all of the Warner directors,Jay Ward(and everyone she worked with him)the entire animation community-they all knew this about June. Now that Natashia is gone,there is no Trump blowhard female to play her. Sorry,Melania,we want femme fatales with good taste. Boris should be heartbroken as he now has to face Mueller alone. Heck,June even played Feerless Leader's Mommy. She was animation's loving,doting Mother.
Jul 28, 2017   |  Reply
Just revisted Cartoon Brew, a website devoted to all things animated and was reminded of this quote from Warner Bros. cartoon director,Chuck Jones:June foray is not the female Mel blanc. Mel Blanc is the male June Foray.
Jul 29, 2017
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