"June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc
. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray."
"Did You Grow Up With Me Too?
— The very apt title to her memoirs.
June Foray (born September 18, 1917) is an American voice actress, best known as the voice of many popular animated characters (particularly Rocky the Flying Squirrel
). Her long and prolific career has encompassed radio, theatrical shorts, feature films, television, record albums (particularly with Stan Freberg
), video games, talking toys, and other media. In addition to being the last of the Looney Tunes
voice actors from its golden era, Foray was also one of the founding members of ASIFA-Hollywood, the society devoted to promoting and encouraging animation.
Foray was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, where her voice was first broadcast in a local radio drama when she was 12 years of age; by age 15, she was doing regular radio voice work. Two years later, she moved to Los Angeles, California, and soon became a popular voice actress on radio there, including on the national programs of Jimmy Durante and Danny Thomas.
In the 1940s
, she began film work as well, including a few appearances acting in live-action movies, but mostly doing voiceovers for animated cartoons. At 4'11", Foray's diminutive stature somewhat limited her stage and on-camera acting career.
For Walt Disney
, she played Lucifer the Cat in the feature film Cinderella
and his Witch Hazel character; she also did a variety of voices in Walter Lantz
' Woody Woodpecker
cartoons. For Warner Brothers Cartoons, she was Granny (whom she has played, on and off, since 1943), owner of Tweety and Sylvester, and, memorably, a series of witches, including Witch Hazel, for Chuck Jones
; plus, she served as the narrator of Really Scent. She is also the voice of Granny on Baby Looney Tunes.
She voice acted on The Smurfs
as Jokey Smurf and Mother Nature, Ursula in George of the Jungle
, and on How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
as Cindy Lou Who, asking "Santa" why he's taking their tree. She was the voice of the original "Chatty Cathy" doll as well as the voice of the evil "Talky Tina" doll in The Twilight Zone
episode, "Living Doll". She voiced the wife of the man getting dunked ("Don't tell him, Carlos!") in the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride
Foray worked for Walter Lantz
on some of the later Woody Woodpecker
cartoons, the Hanna-Barbera
studio, including The Flintstones
, Tom and Jerry
, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!!
, The Jetsons
, and many others. She has done extensive voice acting for Stan Freberg
's commercials, albums, and 1957 radio series, memorably as secretary to the werewolf advertising executive. Foray has also appeared in several Rankin/Bass
TV specials in the 1960s and 1970s.
Most recognizable, though, is her work for Jay Ward: she played nearly every female on The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show
, including Natasha Fatale and Nell Fenwick, as well as Rocket J. Squirrel, who was a boy
(a.k.a. Rocky Squirrel). Foray also voiced Magica De Spell and Ma Beagle in the televised cartoon DuckTales
(She would later reprise the role of Magica in the 2013 remake of DuckTales
). Most significantly in the later part of her career, she had a leading role voicing Grammi Gummi on the television series, Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears
, where she worked with her Rocky & Bullwinkle co-star Bill Scott for the final time before his death in 1985.
Foray and Stan Freberg
are among the few surviving voice artists from the Golden Age of theatrical cartoons. She remains active to this day, with roles in recent animated films, such as Mulan
(as Grandmother Fa) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action
. Around 2003, she is a special guest star in an episode of the Power Puff Girls
. In October 2006, she portrayed Susan B. Anthony on three episodes of the podcast The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd
In 1995, ASIFA-Hollywood, a chapter of the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (the International Animated Film Association), established the June Foray Award, which is awarded to "individuals who have made a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation." June Foray was the first recipient of the award. At age 90, Foray recently became a contributor to ASIFA-Hollywood's Animation Archive Project.
In 2007, Britt Irvin became the first person ever to voice a character in a cartoon remake that had been previously voiced by Foray in the original series, when she started voicing the character Ursula (Foray's former character) in the new George of the Jungle
cartoon series on the Cartoon Network.
In 2012, Foray was nominated for—and won!—her firstnote Emmy Award
for her role as "Mrs. Cauldron" on The Garfield Show.
That may well make her the record-holder
for the oldest Emmy nominee in any
category. This caused series producer Mark Evanier
to remark: "In case anyone's wondering what you have to do to get nominated for an Emmy, it's simple: Just be the absolute best at what you do for around seventy years."