June Foray, RIP (1917-2017)
July 27, 2017 5:48 AM   Subscribe

posted by Cash4Lead at 5:52 AM on July 27


Really sad to hear.
posted by Krazor at 5:53 AM on July 27

Argh, somehow I left out the link for Greenpernt Ogle, Parts 1 and 2.
posted by JHarris at 5:56 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

This is sad news.

posted by Thorzdad at 5:57 AM on July 27

posted by SPrintF at 5:58 AM on July 27

These hidden folks behind the screen of the puppet show, they are my heroes.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:01 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]

posted by ZeusHumms at 6:01 AM on July 27

posted by AzraelBrown at 6:05 AM on July 27

Mark Evanier's recollections.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:07 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]

I'm probably going to throw some of those Rocky & Bullwinkles on during MST Club's preroll tonight, if you show up around 8 (PM, Eastern time) that's when we'll get underway.
posted by JHarris at 6:07 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]

Damn it, briank ***shakes fist***
posted by wittgenstein at 6:08 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]

posted by allthinky at 6:09 AM on July 27

posted by lordrunningclam at 6:09 AM on July 27

posted by Billiken at 6:20 AM on July 27

posted by Faint of Butt at 6:23 AM on July 27

posted by Proofs and Refutations at 6:24 AM on July 27

The Simpsons producers were absolutely ecstatic that they wrangled her to voice the Happy Elves and a receptionist in an early show. She was voice acting royalty, with a career going back to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

posted by Doktor Zed at 6:25 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]

As Chuck Jones put it, "June Foray [wasn't] the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc [was] the male June Foray." She was just 2 months shy of her 100th birthday. May every character she ever played keep her in the ears and minds of all who ever saw them. RIP.
posted by xingcat at 6:26 AM on July 27 [17 favorites]

I started working on a tribute post for her a few minutes before jharris posted. I'd gotten as far as noting that she did Granny in Tweety & Sylvester in her 30s, and Rocky well into her 90s... and a bunch of her other credits, including both Cyndi Lou Who and Witch Hazel for Chuck Jones, Chatty Cathy for Mattel and the evil doll Talky Tina for The Twilight Zone, Jokey Smurf, Spider-Man's Aunt May, Majica DeSpell on Duck Tales, both of Woody Woodpecker's nephews, and pretty much every female voice on a Jay Ward cartoon, from Natasha Fatale to Nell Fenwick. So much that needs to be linked (I'm sure all of it is on YouTube somewhere).

Chuck Jones said "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc is the male June Foray." She outlived EVERY animation icon of her generation.

My two saddest disappointments regarding her long, wonderful life were (1) she didn't make it to an even 100, and (2) neither she nor anyone else who should know ever declared that Rocket J. Squirrel was really a girl squirrel.

Her voice(s) will live on forever.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:28 AM on July 27 [17 favorites]

posted by Flexagon at 6:33 AM on July 27

Sorry about that foop. Your post would have been much better than mine!
posted by JHarris at 6:37 AM on July 27

posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:37 AM on July 27

Well, I would've had a lot more different links, but I was taking so many "crying breaks", it probably would have taken the rest of the morning. Anyway, I'll have many video links for you to include on MST3K Club tonight. In a way, Jay Ward's cartoons were predecessors to MST... it was originally produced in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, right?

Here's another career retrospective from animation blogger Jim Korkis.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:43 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

N.B.: If you can place the Simpsons quote “Very few cartoons are broadcast live—it’s a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists," the character speaking it is an homage to June Foray.
posted by kimota at 6:47 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]

posted by kuppajava at 6:52 AM on July 27

posted by frodisaur at 6:56 AM on July 27

posted by mikelieman at 6:58 AM on July 27

posted by Catblack at 6:59 AM on July 27

I am reminded of this poster created for Mel Blanc, which brings me to tears each time I see it.

There is a special poignance when a death silences multiple voices. Foray was one of the greats. Glad she had such a long run.

posted by kinnakeet at 7:00 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]

Mark Evanier . . .

A couple years ago, Evanier wrote a series of posts about his Top 20 Voice Actors, placing June Foray at #3.

They're all worth reading and they're all on this itty bitty card.

Oops . . . .


posted by Herodios at 7:00 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

posted by jim in austin at 7:03 AM on July 27

posted by dlugoczaj at 7:18 AM on July 27

posted by Melismata at 7:26 AM on July 27

posted by zerolives at 7:39 AM on July 27

posted by ubiquity at 7:40 AM on July 27

-Oh boo hoo! Boo hoo hoo!
-Look Bullwinkle, a lady in distress!
-Excuse me ma'am, are you a lady in distress?
-Dis dress, dat dress, who cares what I'm wearing, I'm distraught!

boo hoo hoo, indeed :(
posted by sexyrobot at 7:46 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


99 years still does not seem like enough.

Chatty Cathy for Mattel and the evil doll Talky Tina for The Twilight Zone

I did not know until today, but of course she was.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:51 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]

A couple years ago, Evanier wrote a series of posts about his Top 20 Voice Actors, placing June Foray at #3.

Just for the record, she wasn't at #3: "The list will not be in any particular order but I will tell you that if it was, the top five would include some arrangement of Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, June Foray, Paul Frees and Don Messick."
posted by Etrigan at 8:02 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]

posted by crazy_yeti at 8:12 AM on July 27

posted by Ber at 8:56 AM on July 27

posted by Gelatin at 8:58 AM on July 27

That trick will never work!

posted by tommasz at 9:00 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]

posted by camyram at 9:03 AM on July 27

June Foray and Bill (Bullwinkle) Scott were at Siggraph 1980 (in Seattle). They were super friendly and open and warm and wonderful and talked with anybody, even me.
posted by hexatron at 9:11 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


that's all, folks
posted by tgov27 at 9:28 AM on July 27

She had a long and rich life and touched so many. May she rest in peace.

posted by halonine at 9:46 AM on July 27

JHarris, our interests are upsettingly well-aligned.
posted by zerolives at 9:48 AM on July 27

I has the sad feels. Maybe this will help.
posted by pjern at 9:50 AM on July 27

pjern, in the video you linked, it was SO appropriate that only Rocky (voiced by June Foray) had the courage to make the final painful pun. Because Rocky was fearless... and so was June.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:00 AM on July 27

How do you . in a different voice?

Awww, hell.

posted by Samizdata at 10:13 AM on July 27

posted by Chrysostom at 10:29 AM on July 27

This is bad news for moose and especially squirrel. :(

Thanks, June, for making me smile!

posted by mosk at 10:33 AM on July 27

One of the Great Ones. She and Dawes are featured on many of the famous bits from Stan Freberg's best work.

posted by Artful Codger at 10:53 AM on July 27

kinnakeet: I am reminded of this poster created for Mel Blanc, which brings me to tears each time I see it.

When Mel Blanc died, Nick At Nite was running Looney Tunes in prime time. It was such a shock to hear the usually jovial image voice guy deliver the somber "nick at nite remembers Mel Blanc" over a character montage.

That said, Cartoon Network had better have a fitting tribute to this powerhouse legend in the game.

Thank you and Godspeed, June.
posted by dr_dank at 11:08 AM on July 27

posted by the sobsister at 11:08 AM on July 27

My brother is a huge Rocky & Bullwinkle fan. For a while in the 90s he worked on air in radio, and at some point got to meet June Foray and talk with her. He could do a pretty decent Bullwinkle voice himself, and as I recall she indulged him with a little dialogue together. (Probably one of the "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat" bits.)
posted by dnash at 11:16 AM on July 27

posted by Cookiebastard at 11:30 AM on July 27

That said, Cartoon Network had better have a fitting tribute to this powerhouse legend in the game.

They'd have to interrupt their near constant stream of Teen Titans Go to do that. (YES IM BITTER)
posted by JHarris at 12:48 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]

posted by Joey Michaels at 1:22 PM on July 27

Anything from Looney Tunes or its lessor successors would probably have to be on CN's sister channel Boomerang. Same for Smurfs (as well as the Garfield cartoons where she worked for Mark Evanier in some of her last voice roles). Disney XD could do something with '80s Duck Tales or Gummi Bears, but I don't see any channel with Bullwinkle or other Ward/Scott toons on its schedule. 😣🦌🐿😭

If it's worth noting, this is apparently the first Hanna-Barbera cartoon June did a voice on; a very early Yogi Bear where she played the wife of a picnic-ing family (and neglectful mother). Very early Yogi... they didn't even have the look of Ranger Smith established yet.

Here's Cindy Lou Who meeting the Grinch.

3 minutes of highlights from Bugs vs. Witch Hazel

A short clip of Granny wailing on Sylvester

A classic Chatty Cathy commercial and a condensed version of the Twilight Zone 'Talking Tina' story. (And here is a 25-minute documentary on the Chatty Cathy doll - June appears about 6:00 in)

Surprised how little Jokey Smurf content I could find, but the character's "exploding gift box" bit was pretty one-dimensional, even for Smurfs. And not much more than a few seconds of Knothead and Splinter in the Woody Woodpecker toons.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:37 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]

posted by filtergik at 2:58 PM on July 27

3 minutes of highlights from Bugs vs. Witch Hazel

They made me wait almost to the end to get to the line I was waiting for:

"That's sharp enough to split a hair/hare . . . "
posted by Herodios at 3:13 PM on July 27

posted by Rash at 3:18 PM on July 27

posted by haiku warrior at 4:29 PM on July 27

posted by dances with hamsters at 5:09 PM on July 27

Blooper audio reel from 1963 Rocky & Bullwinkle

She did so much for so many generations.
posted by not_on_display at 5:10 PM on July 27

(I wanted to post a period for every voice that was now silenced but instead I'll just direct you to look straight up at night and witness what that would have looked like.)
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:13 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]

June Foray was the first woman's voice that I recognized as a child on cartoons that I made a point of learning her name, she will always be an inspiration!
posted by reedcourtneyj at 5:14 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]

Aw. Literally one of the voices of my childhood. Rest in peace! :(
posted by Space Kitty at 5:27 PM on July 27

posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:48 PM on July 27

One of the great disconnects of my life: the first time I saw a video showing her while she did Rocky's voice. I couldn't connect that all-too familiar sound at all with the picture.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:36 PM on July 27

There's a spectacular photo of her at work on the Korkis link posted by oneswellfoop. Don't miss.
posted by sageleaf at 9:21 PM on July 27

posted by bryon at 12:06 AM on July 28

posted by dannyboybell at 4:21 AM on July 28

Foray gifted all of us 80s kids with one last performance as Magica De Spell in 2013's DuckTales Remastered for PS3, X360, Wii U, PC, and mobile. It's also Alan Young's final time as Scrooge McDuck. I highly recommend it. They came back one last time to these memorable characters for the fans and I'm eternally grateful to have had one last adventure with them as an adult.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:02 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Yes! Ducktales Remastered was disappointing in some ways, but the voice acting wasn't one of them! Indeed, now that the show's being rebooted with entirely new voices, it's kind of the classic show's swan song.
posted by JHarris at 6:29 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

June Moray is my hero. As someone who can't help but do voices she is my inspiration and my muse. RIP, you amazing woman.
posted by h00py at 7:12 AM on July 28

Sad news, but wow she leaves a remarkable legacy. I listened to a lot of old-time radio and was a huge fan of The Stan Freberg Show, so now when I see the name June Foray, I usually think of her in that show before I think of Rocky (who I loved) or her other animated characters.

When I was a kid, I taped most of the Freberg shows from an OTR program on public radio and listened to my favorite episodes over and over. (The show was done in the 1950s so there were definitely cringeworthy sketches which I either didn't replay or tried to ignore (e.g. about American Indians or the writer of messages in fortune cookies) or have blocked out by now.)

(Btw, it's great that all of The Stan Freberg Show episodes are on archive.org. If you haven't listened to the show before, you don't really have to start from the beginning, and I wouldn't recommend episode 1 as the best one to start, actually. Maybe episode 2 or 13 would be better. As noted on that page, some of the episodes (the earlier episodes) are not the best quality -- the later ones are better there, and sometimes you can find episodes on youtube. I got the shows when they were officially released on CD set a long time ago; aside from the sketches and the voice talent, a few other things really made his radio show stand out to me early on: the fantastic sound effects by Bill James and Gene Twombly (alumni from the Jack Benny Show), top-notch live music/orchestra/singers with Billy May, Peggy Taylor, the Jud Conlon Rhythmaires, and the crispness of the audio quality.)

When I think now about some of my favorite characters June Foray played on the Freberg show, they're all interesting women with different voices:

- Mrs Edna St. Louis Missouri (gosh, even typing that made me chuckle, I'm so sorry Ms Millay), the panel expert on Tarzan from the "Face the Funnies" sketches (from episodes 6 and 8) where all the panelists are super earnest comics experts bickering at each other -- my description isn't doing it justice but I guess it basically is a demonstration of comics nerd thunderdome circa 1957, and it still cracks me up. When cortex, jessamyn, mathowie and pb did the wonderful MeFi Comics Podcast for April Fool's years ago, it made me think of this Freberg sketch. (Btw I still listen to the MeFi Comics Podcast occasionally when I need something to cheer myself up -- actually just listened to it again a couple of weeks ago and talked about it with another MeFite friend.)

- In retrospect, even her role as the wife in the "Home Handyman" sketch (episode 12) is memorable because of Foray's acting lifting up the writing. She makes the character likeable (and I love that she hums/whistles along with her husband, played by Freberg), with a great delivery as usual. It is literally a sketch about a leaky faucet and DIY plumbing, and she made me laugh. (I wish her character had been the one to fix the faucet, but ah well.)

- Mrs Hagmire Prill (sp?) (episodes 2 and 3), sculptor and birder and tree frog fan. Back when I first heard her, I thought the character was pretty unpleasant and didn't think much about her. Recently when I heard the sketches again, I had a totally different take -- Mrs Prill certainly has a strong personality, and yes she can get rude at times, but she knows how to be assertive and speak up for herself. Come to think of it, this is true of Edna St Louis Missouri, too. This was played for laughs at the time, but it's really interesting and important to hear now. The character is intriguing and could be a subject of a MeFi post if she were a real person: She can do bird calls. She climbs up trees and loves to nerd out about tree frogs. She also had a hobby of sculpting miniature decorations in soap, and when we meet her she's at Mount Rushmore, showing off her 400-foot oleomargarine sculpture (!) of Mary Margaret McBride, and planning to create more other sculptures for Wyatt Earp and Fats Domino.

- And of course Ms Lucretia Willway, the secretary in the Madison Avenue werewolf sketch "Gray Flannel Hat Full of Teenage Werewolves" (starts about 8 minutes into episode 13). It's like an episode on its own and runs nearly 20 minutes: it's about a rather reluctant teenage werewolf who, when the sun comes up, transforms into... an advertising man. Good acting all around (with actors doing multiple roles -- and Daws Butler has a show-stealing moment of his own), the excellent "Food" commercial that I still think about when I get hungry, and the great song spoof of "Tammy" near the end. I really like that Foray plays what seems to be a fairly stock role with a "normal" voice, and yet it works out perfectly. I knew she could do many voices that were obviously characters (e.g. Rocky, Natasha, other roles on the radio show), but I appreciated her range even more after listening to her in this sketch.

A lot of these women I want to know more about -- they feel like they could be real people. How did Edna St Louis Missouri get interested and pursue a graduate degree about Tarzan? Was Lucretia Willway always cool and confident? How did Mrs Prill decide to choose the subjects of her sculptures? Thanks to June Foray for bringing them, and so many others, to life.

posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 4:41 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]

The Cartoon Research blog has some relatively rare June Foray performances.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:08 AM on August 3

posted by On the Corner at 12:32 AM on August 15

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