June Foray: Voice of Rocky The Squirrel, Natasha Fatale, Witch Hazel and Granny (Sylvester and Tweety Shorts) passes away at 99
In a time where most forget history, the history that made art, animation and cartooning stand up as a form of cultural mark in the nation, June Foray, was one of its greatest defenders.
One of the biggest voice actresses of her time, and possibly the biggest female voice actress in the western animation world, she stands as one of the greatest defenders of the medium. While there weren’t many in her field, she paved the way for others to enter.
Her greatest accomplishment may have been the most quaint – she convinced (with many others) as a member of the Academy to allow Animation – to be apart of the Academy Awards (OSCAR) both in the short and long form entries. For years they bandied about – but in 2001 she succeed. She was one of the founders ASIFA Hollywood, and later in the 1970’s created the Annie Awards.
While Peggy Charren and others fought against animation at every turn (ultimately succeeding by 1991), June Foray worked to bring animation out of the gutters. Without her voice and her influence, many animators and those connected in the animation industry would have never made the moves they did during the 70’s and the 80’s which gave a chance – if in many major cases unsuccessful as we see in more recent times – animation in US something more than what the rest of the mainstream thought it was.
She is pretty much, the genesis (good or bad) of animations movement towards more mature works. Even though her claim to fame were hitting a cat trying to eat the cute little bird. And on that front – while many of her male counterparts retired, she came back in the 80’s with the Duck Tales series, reprise her role of Granny on the Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries in the late 90’s and did other smatterings of works.
Of the greats of any century, This is one the great losses animation has bared to witness.
Chuck Jones, the greatest of his age, once remarked: “June Foray isnt the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc is the Male June Foray”
She will be deeply, exceptionally at this time in animation, DEEPLY Missed.