June Foray, Voice Of Rocky The Squirrel, Turns 99!

June Foray may not be a name that you are familiar with, but you have most certainly heard her voice. The legendary voice actress is best known for voicing Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show cartoon show since 1959. Foray has continued to voice the character for various special projects, with her most recent being the 2014 Rocky and Bullwinkle short film that was included with the DVD release of the Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie.

Ms. Foray celebrated her 99th birthday on September 18, and to celebrate, a petition was created asking the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to honor her with an honorary Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. The petition went live on September 23, and fans have been adding their well-wishes for the voice actress.

“Honoring June Foray with an Oscar for her lifetime of exceptional work would be universally welcome. Please consider making this opportunity happen.” – Susan P., Culver City

This wonderful woman made life better for an entire generation and deserves to be recognized and rewarded for her work!” – Bob T., Fayetteville

“June Foray gave voice to my sense of humor. The talent she has shared over the course of decades deserves to be recognized.” – Anonymous

Rocky and Bullwinkle
Rocky and Bullwinkle from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle movie (2000) (Image via Universal Studios/Getty Images)

June Foray began her career in radio, starring as the host of the Lady Make Believe show from 1937 to 1939. Her first cartoon film role was playing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in The Egg Cracker Suite in 1943 for Universal Studios. Oswald was Walt Disney’s predecessor for Mickey Mouse, and the studio lost the copyright to the character in 1928. She only played the character one time, and by then, the character looked nothing like the Disney original.

Foray voiced her first Disney character, Lucifer the cat, in the 1950 animated feature Cinderella. Her voice appeared in numerous Goofy cartoons, and she played numerous small roles in other Disney films and TV shows, including Mrs. Sheep from Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Squaw from Peter Pan, Grammi Gummi from The Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Magica de Spell for DuckTales, Ma Barker for Bonkers, and Grandmother Fa for Mulan and Mulan II. She is also well remembered for playing Witch Hazel in the Donald Duck cartoon Trick or Treat in 1952. Ironically, she played another Witch Hazel for Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoon, Broom-Stick Bunny in 1956. Although Foray played many characters for Walt Disney Studios, she never actually met Walt Disney.

For Warner Bros. Foray has voiced Granny from the Sylvester and Tweety shorts since 1955, with her most recent recording of Granny appearing in The Looney Tunes Show in 2014.

In 2013, TV Guide ranked Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show as the sixth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time. In addition to playing Rocky for the Jay Ward series, June also played Natasha Fatale and Nell Fenwick from the Dudley Do Right segments. Bill Scott, Ward’s partner and head writer, voiced Bullwinkle until 1985. In 2000’s live action/animated The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the moose was voiced by Keith Scott (no relation to Bill) and then later by Tom Kenny for the 2014 short.

Other characters voiced by Foray include Cindy Lou Who from the 1966 Christmas special Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, twins Ursula and Marigold from the 1967 cartoon series George of the Jungle, and Karen from the 1969 Frosty the Snowman Christmas special.

In 1959, Mattel hired Foray to voice the toy company’s latest doll, Chatty Cathy, who would speak when the string was pulled from the doll’s back. This led to Foray’s creepiest role ever. In a 1963 “Living Doll” episode of The Twilight Zone, Foray lent her voice to play the fictional “Talky Tina” doll who wanted her owner’s stepfather dead.

[Featured Image by Alexandra Wyman/Invision/AP Images]