Anyone who was a kid anytime in the past 50 years will be bummed out by this news. And it’s not even humans, either. Flying squirrels are no doubt lowering their furry heads and taking a moment of silence today for the most famous flying squirrel of them all. The Hollywood Reporter has reported that prolific voice actress June Foray died yesterday, less than two months shy of her birthday. She was 99.
June Foray, who was born June Forer but changed it to the far more glamorous-sounding Foray, started out in radio when she was 12, and was working regular radio gigs by 15. She starred in her own radio series in the 30s. In the 40s she got into film, sometimes live-action, but mostly voice-over work for cartoons. In the 50s she got into television and that’s probably where most of us are familiar with her work.
June did so many voices, she earned the nickname The First Lady of Voice Actors. If I were to list all her voice acting credits, we’d be here well into the night. Instead, here’s a best of. Most people will know June as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. But she also voiced stunning spy icon Natasha Fatale, Tweety’s Granny, Betty Rubble in the pilot episode of the Flintstones, Lucifer in Cinderella, one of those jealous Wendy-hating mermaids in Peter Pan, and Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. You know you’re dealing with a true cartoon voice legend when The Simpsons created a character based on her.
She also has the honor of voicing not one, but THREE former Hot Sluts: Sonja from Heathcliff, Nagaina from Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and probably the most important of all, Magica De Spell! I really regret not leading with that one, since it’s clearly some of her best work.
I loved June Foray for a lot of reasons (see everything above), but she will always and forever be the voice of a possessed doll to me. June was the original voice of Mattel’s Chatty Cathy doll, and not long after The Twilight Zone asked her to voice Talky Tina in the episode Living Doll, which is legitimately one of the best and scariest Twilight Zone episodes. Proof: Have you ever spotted an old doll with a pull-cord in someone’s basement and immediately avoided eye contact with it? Exactly. June may be gone, but we’ll always have the universal fear of creepy talking dolls.
Rest in peace, June.