There are few people who it can be said has been a part of the lives of children for generations. June Foray was one of those rare people. A woman whose presence and phenomenal voice touched the lives of millions, June Foray died just shy of her 100th birthday at her home in California.
June Foray was born in Massachusetts in 1917. She started working in radio in the 1930’s and in the 40’s began doing voice acting for films. In the 50’s she began doing some of her most recognizable work. For the sake of time, I’m going to break down some of her memorable roles by decade;
Foray was the voice of Lucifer the cat from the feature film Cinderella. She played the Witch Hazel character for both Disney and Warner Brothers in shorts starring Donald Duck as well as Bugs Bunny. She provided the voice of Granny in the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. She also began her long association with one of her most memorable characters: Rocket J. Squirrel on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.
June Foray was the original voice of Betty Rubble in the pilot episode of The Flintstones and would go one to do several voices for the series. She provided the voice for the menacing doll Talking Tina on The Twilight Zone. She brought Cindy Lou Who to life in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. She was the voice of Ursula on George of the Jungle as well as Karen in the Christmas classic Frosty the Snowman. She also provided the voice for the original Chatty Cathy doll from Mattel.
She provided the voices of Ralph, Faintly Macabre and the Princess of Pure Reason in the movie version of the Phantom Tollbooth. She continued to provide various voices for television specials like Horton Hears A Who, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Raggedy Ann.
Personally, my experience with June Foray started in the 80’s. Besides hearing her voice in several animated series, I met her once in California and she was incredibly gracious, nice and could whip out her signature voices at a moment’s notice. I always appreciated that she took the time to talk to a shy little kid in the voice of Rocky Squirrel and make him smile. In the 80’s Foray voiced Aunt May on the series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. She also provided the voice of Jokey Smurf on the Smurfs. She brought to life Grammy Gummi on The Adventures of the Gummi Bears as well as Ma Beagle and Magica De Spell on Ducktales. On the big screen, she voiced Lena Hyena in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
June Foray continued to provide her signature voices to several animated series, movies and shorts including reprising her role of Granny in Space Jam. She provided voices for series like The Simpsons and Rugrats as well as 2 Stupid Dogs. She received an Annie Award in the 90’s for her work as Granny on The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. She also provided the voice of Grandmother Fa in the animated film Mulan and its sequel.
The 00’s and Beyond
Foray would continue to be in demand for her characters and disctinct voice and would continue to work on series like The Powerpuff Girls, Family Guy, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and The Garfield Show, for which she would receive an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program in 2012. She was featured in two documentaries in 2013. One specifically about her body of work titled, The One and Only June Foray and the other created by Futurama star John DiMaggio titled I Know That Voice.
June Foray was iconic for her ability to bring a character to life on the big and small screen and her voice is recognizable in many of the things that we enjoyed as children. Her talent will continue to live on in the work she provided and in the memory of the kids she entertained.