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Legendary Voice Actress June Foray Passes Away at 99

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A legend passed this week, as one of the iconic voices of our childhoods, June Foray, died on July 26, just under two months away from her 100th birthday.

June Foray got her start in voice acting at the age of twelve, and she kept working almost her entire life. She has been the voice of so many iconic characters, Granny from The Looney Tunes, Rocky J. Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle, Magica De Spell in DuckTails, Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Grandmother Fa in Mulan, among countless others.

While Foray began her career taking mostly uncredited roles, she eventually made a name for herself, not just for her voice acting roles, but for her contributions to the field. She was an early member of “Association Internationale du Film d’Animation” or “ASIFA”, known in America as the “International Animated Film Association”, and it was June herself, who came up with the Annie Awards, honoring outstanding achievements in animation. The Annies have now been presented by the Los Angeles branch of ASIFA, almost every year since 1972. In addition to the Annies, June was also instrumental in the creation of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Until 2001, there had been no Oscars dedicated specifically to animation.

Though Foray came up with the idea for the Annie Awards, it would be a full decade before she won one of her own, when in 1982, she was given the Winsor McCay Award, which is given in recognition of a lifetime or career contributions in animation. In 1995, June was the first recipient of an award which was named for her, the June Foray Award, which is given to individuals in recognition of a significant or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation. Foray also won Annies in 1997 & 1998 for her role as Granny in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries.

Her Annie Awards are far from her only awards, in 2000, Foray was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, in 2012, she won a daytime Emmy for her guest role on The Garfield Show, which, at the age of 94, made her the oldest person to be nominated for and receive an Emmy. In 2013, she was given the Governor’s Award at the Primetime Emmys, signifying a lifetime of achievement within the film industry.

June Foray never seemed to slow down, and kept right on working until an unfortunate car accident in 2015, which contributed to her declining health and was likely a factor in her death. Her last roles were in 2014, when she reprised her role as Rocky in an animated short, and as Granny in Cartoon Network’s, The Looney Tunes Show.

All of us at the Rotoscopers offer our condolences to the family and friends of June Foray. She will be sincerely missed.

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Jonathan North

Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his YouTube channel, where he reviews all manner things, including (almost) every version ever of Alice in Wonderland. His favorites are the 1999 version starring Tina Majorino, and of course, the 1951 Disney version. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, @jonjnorth.