ANIMATION ANECDOTES
July 27, 2017 posted by Jim Korkis

June Foray 1917-2017

June Foray in a recording session on November 29th 1965

The world is much too quiet today with the passing of June Foray. Fortunately, she got a chance to catch a small glimpse of how much people loved her when she was the victim on December 30, 2016 of a fake news story that she had passed away.

The instant flood of sincere appreciation for all she has done and all the lives she has unselfishly touched in a positive way was overwhelming. She outlived most of her contemporaries and was one of the last survivors from the Golden Age of animation.

In June 1992, June Foray wrote the foreword for a book I had written that was never published entitled Hooked: Peter Pan on Stage and Screen. We had known each other because of our work with ASIFA-Hollywood and I was impressed by her graciousness and enthusiasm in helping out an aspiring book author.

In 1998, I got a chance to interview her on stage at the Animation Celebration at the Disney Institute in Orlando and even got a chance to do a cold reading with her in front of the audience from an animation script neither of us had previously seen.

One of the most memorable moments of my life was after we finished and she turned to me and in front of the audience said, You were pretty good. Im impressed. Once again, she was gracious and supportive even though she didnt need to be. It was just her nature to be so wonderful and I saw that same unselfishness demonstrated to so many others over the years.

She was an intelligent, articulate, talented, passionate, funny, hard working, generous and attractive petite spitfire who seemed ageless.

The title of June Forays 2009 autobiography was Did You Grow Up With Me Too? She was assisted in sharing the memories of her career by writers Mark Evanier and Earl Kress who, like everyone else, were huge Foray fans.

Actually, not everyone was a Foray fan. June was put on President Nixons infamous Enemies List and was audited by the IRS for nearly a decade for taking a stand on something she believed in. It was just another of the countless interesting anecdotes and events in her long, colorful life.

Millions of people grew up hearing Junes voice on a huge variety of animated cartoons for just about every animation studio for decades to intriguing ADR work for both men and women. For instance, she voiced several boys playing on the beach in the iconic film Jaws (1975). She is the voice of the wife of Mayor Carlos (who is being dunked in a well) in the Pirates of the Caribbean Disney theme park attraction.

Even though she made on camera appearances in including appearing in comedy sketches for thirteen weeks on Johnny Carsons Carsons Cellar televsion program, she used to joke she liked working off camera where she could earn more money in less time.

She played a Hispanic telephone operator in a 1967 episode of the television series Green Acres. She played the role of Marku Ponjoy, High Priestess of a fire cult in the film, Sabaka (1954) starring Boris Karloff.

In 1960, she provided the voice for Mattel’s original popular selling “Chatty Cathy” doll and then three years later did the voice of the evil “Talky Tina” doll in a The Twilight Zone episode (“Living Doll”).

Even the general public knows that she provided the voices for Rocky and Natasha on The Bullwinkle Show (“These cartoons weren’t for children and they weren’t for adults. They were for everyone.”), Granny and Witch Hazel in Warner Brothers cartoons, Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the voice of Jokey Smurf on The Smurfs and so many others.

Her career included radio, theatrical shorts, feature films, television, record albums (particularly with Stan Freberg who said, whatever the age, whatever the accent, June could always do it.”), video games, commericals, talking toys, and other media.

Born June Lucille Forer in Springfield, Massachusetts, September 18, 1917, she got into voice-over work at the age of 12, performing in a local radio drama. She moved to Los Angeles at 17 and quickly established herself as a popular radio actress on national broadcasts. She had never been out of work for over eighty years.

She always claimed her first major animation role came in 1950, playing Lucifer the Cat in Walt Disney’s Cinderella.

“Someone at Disney heard one of the many childrens records I had done for Capitol and called me in to do the sounds of Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella, recalled June. But I never got to meet Walt.

Old issues of Radio Life magazine state that she did voices for cartoons in the 1940s. One of the earliest was probably The Unbearable Bear (1942) for Chuck Jones where she did the voice of Mrs. Bear. Her mechanically sped up voice can be heard in Walter Lantzs final Oswald the Rabbit cartoon, The Egg Cracker Suite (1943) with June as the voice of Oswald.

In Disney’s animated feature, Peter Pan, she played a mermaid. They put her in a one piece bathing suit along with Margaret Kerry and Connie Hilton and filmed them performing on a makeshift wooden set covered with tarps resembling rocks for live action reference for the animators. She did do the voice of the Squaw in the film.

In the 1960s, she became a devoted advocate for the preservation and promotion of animation. She was the leading force of ASIFA-Hollywood, including holding sales of animation cels in her backyard to raise funds for the organization which is where I first met her and Bill Scott who voiced Bullwinkle.

She also created the Annie Award (her husband coined the name) and the now famous award ceremony in 1972. In 1995, ASIFA established the June Foray Award for individuals who have made a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation. June was the first recipient.

“I talk about animation, and my career in animation, and the success that animation has finally become. Instead of being second class citizens in this world of show business, we are now attaining a dignity that should have been affording us many years ago”, she stated several years ago.

In 2012, June received her first Emmy nomination and won in the category of Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role as Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show. By doing so, she became at age 94, the oldest entertainer to be nominated for, and to win, an Emmy Award at the time. Just another in the many groundbreaking achievements throughout her career.

On July 7, 2000 a star bearing the name “June Foray” was unveiled on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“I love everything I do, with all of the parts that I do, because there’s a little bit of me in all of them. We all have anger and jealousy and love and hope in our natures. We try to communicate that vocally with just sketches that you see on the screen and make it come alive and make it human. That’s what I enjoy doing”, June said in 2003.

June Foray with Asifa-Hollywood President (and Cartoon Research editor) Jerry Beck in 2007.

16 Comments

  • Thank you, June. The world feels different, & worse, without you in it.

  • 😲 I can’t believe that she’s gone! Her last role was the voice of Rocky in Rocky and Bullwinkle animated short that was released with Mr.Peabody and Sherman. Just two months shy of her 100th birthday. She did both the voices of Witch Hazel for Disney’s Trick or Treat (1952) and replacing Bea Bernadette in Broom Stick Bunny (1956) . My ten favorite moments with June Foray are Tom-ic Energy where she did the screams of a older woman and a younger woman when Tom chased Jerry through a apartment building, Rock and Rodent where she did the scream of a frumpy female mouse and blasted her friend out of his seat, the Fracture Fairy Tales episodes Goldilocks and the Three Bears (version 2 where Goldilocks ran a winter resort but opened is in the middle of summer),Speeding Beauty (love her crazy gibberish in the end of the episode) and Red Riding Hood where she owned the fur salon), George of the Jungle where she was the voice of a record screaming bloody murder “HELP!!! MURDER!!!! POLICE!!! followed by “This is a recording.), as Cindy Lou Who in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, in Bah! Humduck! As Granny portraying The Ghost of Christmas Past,Grandmother Fa in Mulan and in In The Simpsons episode Some Enchanted Evening in sevetral roles including the phone receptioness for The Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper Service. She’ll be sorely missed by all. 😭😭😭

  • Thanks for posting this, Jim, and I hope your Hook book gets published. I was looking forward to having a June Foray home video retrospective on her hundredth birthday later this year — well, no reason I still can’t do that. I was a boy during the original run of Rocky and Friends, and June was already a star on radio when my parents were kids. It warmed my heart to see her name in the credits of the Looney Tunes Show in recent years. What a career, what a talent, what voices! There will never be another like her.

  • She was such an amazing woman, with an amazing voice. She’ll be missed… and will always be remembered. Rest in Peace, June.

  • I’m so shocked by June’s passing. She would have been 100 this year. She was definitely one of a kind. Some of my favorite voices she did include both Witch Hazels from Disney and Warner Bros., the mother ape in “The Apes of Wrath” (“Elvis! Guess what the baby said!”), Rocky J. Squirrel and Granny. I think she’s the greatest voice actress in animation history. R.I.P, June. You’ll never be forgotten.

  • RIP, June Foray.

    She was in the 1968 Oscar winner by Saul Bass “Why Man Creates”, as an offsreen lady apporving of a poor man being shot (“I don’t know, I like it, I’m not an expert”) and in early Yogi cartoons. (Though I can take or leave too much of her post 60s work, but that’s due not to her but to others involved ion later shows..)

    And I didn’t know she dubbed boys in Jaws

  • Aw what a shame that she died just two months shy of her 100th birthday, but there is still cause for celebration as folks noted above.

    It is hard to pin down favorite performances, but I always like the earliest ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS episodes, that iconic first story arc, “JET FEUL FORMULA”; I also like the adaptation of “sleeping beauty” from the fourth season, where it is found that she is only a beauty as long as she gets her night’s sleep, so you see her sleeping in any spot she can find, including the trombone in the orchestra. Stan Freiberg is absolutely correct in that June could perform just about any voice you gave her, and she was one of the hardest working voice over actors in the business for decades. I’m so glad that someone pointed out her performance in one of teh SNIFFLES cartoons, “THE UNBEARABLE BEAR” as the sleep-walking/talking Mama Bear. I’d crack up listening to that ever since I was a kid, and I guess we should thank Jay Ward Studios for creating a place where such comedy could thrive.

    Maybe we will one day see the original broadcasts of the shows, if someone could just get the legalities of a cereal company owning the original music and films of “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS” and “THE BULLWINKLE SHOW” figured out and untangled! I repeatedly obsess about this, because I know that, on certain shorts, there are two different takes on the voice tracks, some of which were re-recorded for rebroadcasts once the name of the show changed over to “THE BULLWINKLE SHOW”. There is still so much history to uncover there. Thank you, always, June for your contribution to animation humor. The expanding skies will be laughing as your spirit enters, and we will miss you a lot!!

    Oh, and yes, there is another reason why all legalities to Jay Ward materials should be untangled–so a true documentary on the contribution of June Foray can be a special feature in the new set that would be reconfigured to celebrate the libration of all that history!

  • This is the first I’ve heard about Foray being on Nixon’s Enemies List. What did Nixon think made her worthy of such unfair treatment?

  • I hope someone can make up a “Speechless” cartoon tribute such as the one done for Mel Blanc.

    • And I hope Boomerang does a special tribute to June Foray by airing the WB theatrical cartoons that she starred in as well as the MGM theatrical Short like Tex Avery’s Car of Tomorrow and the Tom and Jerry cartoons from the late 1950s to the Chuck Jones version of the mid 1960s, the Jay Ward cartoons and the most recent cartoons that she starred for WB like Tiny Toon Adventures,The Tweety and Sylvester Mysteries,Baby Looney Toons and the recent reincarnation of Looney Toons (The Looney Toons Show).

  • I noticed in the picture of her at that microphone, in the background is a Wollensak T1500 reel-to-reel tape recorder.

  • Aw, I always liked her. So long, Ms. Foray.

  • We also lost Bill Woodson this year as well on February 22, 2017 just five months short of his 100th birthday he did voice overs for the Super Friends,Battle of the Planets The Small One, Spider-Man and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends with June Foray and other animated shows such as Garfield and Friends,The Jetsons,Tiny Toon Adventures,Duckman and others.

    Sad that we lost two voice over legends (Bill.Woodson and June Foray) who were going to celebrate thier 100th birthday this year.

  • Such a great talent. She was one of my favorite female voice actress. One of my favorite projects she did was “The Fisherman and his Wife” (1979) which was done by Steve Bosustow Production(a studio which I think we need to talk about here) and co-stared Hans Conrad. She will be dearly missed.

  • Got wind of this a while back. It’s sad to hear that such a great voice talent has passed away, let alone being so close to the 100 mark. She will be missed!

  • One of June’s most visible yet virtually unremembered roles was as the voices (along with Paul Frees) of all the non-starring roles (i.e., Jay North and Sajid Khan, plus the few English-speaking American guest-stars) Indian citizens on MAYA in the 18-episode 1967-68 NBC primetime series MAYA. June played all the women plus a sizable number of the children involved in the show, which was filmed in India without sound (as so many ’60s European productions with multi-national casts did), and was entirely dubbed. June and Paul managed to do it without making it terribly obvious that they were the only other voices your heard. In fact, IMDB seems completely unaware of their work on the series, though the episode that’s currently accessible on youtube.is ample proof.

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