A part of my childhood is gone. The marvelous June Foray, who voiced a gazillion cartoon characters throughout her long and celebrated career, has died at age 99. June was most famous, of course, for voicing both Rocky the Squirrel and Natasha in the seminal not-just-for-kids Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-1964). But she was also (*deep breath*) Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), Grandmother Fa in Mulan, Nell on The Dudley Do-Right Show (1969-1970), Granny in all those Tweety and Sylvester cartoons (1955-2014), Jane on George of the Jungle (1967), Mother Magoo on Mister Magoo (1960-1961), Witch Hazel (1952 for Disney; 1956, 1959, 1966 for Looney Tunes) Dorothy Gale on the animated series Off to See the Wizard (1967-1968), Wheezy / Lena Hyena in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and on… and on… and on… Check out the more than 300 credits on her IMDB page. It’s pretty astounding.
She was also the voice of the original Chatty Cathy doll by Mattel, and then voiced it’s murderous doppleganger Talky Tina in an episode of The Twilight Zone (see pic, below).
The LA Times also notes that in the 1974 film Jaws, she provided the voices of children on the beach, and on I Love Lucy she mimicked a barking dog
As Times TV critic Robert Lloyd wrote in his appreciation of Foray, what made her distinctive was “a quality of youthfulness even in older characters, like Granny or Witch Hazel, a playfulness that cuts through the phlegm. She had range, literally, going low for Natasha, the semi-seductive Pottsylvanian spy, and high for Rocky, boy squirrel and skeptical hero. Witch Hazel, she said, she made ‘not evil at all.’ ”
In 2012, speaking with her hometown newspaper — the Republican of Springfield, Mass. — Foray summed it up best:
“I love every character I’ve done because there’s a little bit of me in everything I’ve done.”
(Photos: Pacific Coast News, MediaPunch)