The death of June Foray at age 99 has silenced Hollywood. The iconic voice actress died at her home on July 26, just two months shy of her 100th birthday, leaving behind one of the most impressive resumes in the business. An Emmy and Grammy Award winner, Foray’s IMDB page lists over 300 acting credits, on everything from Looney Tunes to The Smurfs. In fact, when it comes to June Foray’s voice roles, it’s easier to list what shows she didn’t do.
While June Foray may be best remembered for voicing Tweety Bird’s Granny guardian in the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon shorts and Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the Rocky and Friends cartoons of the 1960s, even longtime fans may not realize that over her eight-decade career she lent her voice to a surprisingly long list of live-action shows and movies as well. Here’s a rundown of some of June Foray’s lesser-known TV and movie roles.
In the early 1950s, Foray worked with Johnny Carson before he went to late night fame in New York. Foray told Emmy TV Legends she was a regular on Carson’s pre-Tonight Show series, Carson’s Cellar. Foray appeared on camera and provided voices on the 13-week comedy series. June Foray later appeared on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955, sounding very much like her Rocky the Flying Squirrel alter ego.
One of Foray’s earliest TV voice roles on a live-action show came on I Love Lucy. June provided the voice of Little Ricky’s puppy in the 1957 episode “Little Ricky Gets a Dog.” A master at “baby” voices, Foray can also be heard in two 1966 Bewitched episodes: “Dangerous Diaper Dan” and “Baby’s First Paragraph.” Three years later, June provided the voice of an unseen character in an early episode of The Brady Bunch (1969’s “A Clubhouse Is Not a Home”).
While Foray famously dropped one Grammy-winning line in the 1966 Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, her holiday voice work went way beyond Cindy Lou Who. June Foray actually provided the original voice of the little girl, Karen, who ran off with Frosty the Snowman as he tried to get to the safe sub-zero temperatures of the North Pole in 1969’s Frosty the Snowman. Foray voiced a teacher in the animated holiday special, too.
In stark contrast to her sweet holiday voice work, many fans know that Foray also provided the voice of the creepy killer doll, “Talky Tina,” in the terrifying 1963 Twilight Zone episode, “Living Doll.”
But what fans may not know is that Foray got the role because she was also the voice of Mattell’s real life, pull-string doll, Chatty Cathy. In other words, Foray was a real living doll.
One of Foray’s most surprising career snafus came in 1959. After years of working with animation legends Joe Hannah and Bill Barbera, June was approached to do the pilot of an animated sitcom about a prehistoric family, The Flagstones. Foray worked with voice legend Daws Butler on the pilot of the show, but was rejected when it came time to cast for the role of Betty Rubble on what would go on to become The Flintstones.
In an interview with Emmy TV Legends, June said it broke her heart not to get the part on The Flintstones. When Hannah-Barbera producers called her a few months later to offer her a role on another show, June reportedly said: “You tell them to take along walk off a short pier. And I didn’t work for Joe and Bill for a long time after that.” June Foray later rejoined the cartoon kings for The Smurfs.
Chuck Jones may have said it best: “June Foray isn't the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc is the male June Foray.”
— Cartoon Brew (@cartoonbrew) July 27, 2017
And in 1975, June Foray landed a role that she could really sink her teeth into. According to the Los Angeles Times, Foray did automated dialogue replacement (ADR) work in the big screen blockbuster, Jaws. Foray provided voices for children playing on the beach in Steven Speilberg’s shark-themed thriller.
[Featured Image by Katy Winn/AP Images]