June Foray, the first lady of voice acting, passed away yesterday at age 99. Best known for voicing Rocky the Squirrel, she was a mainstay of Disney and Warner Bros., including Granny and Witch Hazel. The above photo is from 2011, at the premiere of Happy Feet Two and if I’m as spry and elegant in my 90s – let alone living to my 90s – I’d be very very lucky.
Mark Evanier has the necessary reading
She was, of course, the premier female voice talent of her era. I don’t know who the runner-up was but whoever it was, she was in a distant second in terms of hours logged voicing cartoons and commercials, dubbing movies, doing narration, appearing on radio shows and records…even providing the voice for talking dolls. A few years ago when Earl Kress and I assisted her with her autobiography, we foolishly thought we could whip up a near-complete list of everything she’d done. Not in this world possible. I know more of June’s credits than most people and I’d be surprised if I know 10% of it.
In the world of voice acting in the Golden Age, there were only a few women needed, and Foray was the greatest of her era, truly an inspiration and icon. I was lucky enough to interview her when I first moved to LA, 30 years ago, and visit her in her house, a museum of awesome even then. I’ll never forget her telling my that to be a good voice actor you had to have good diction, and pointing out my own distinct accent!
She had my unrelenting admiration from then on, but I would have had to stand in line. Everyone loved June Foray.
Losing June and Flo Steinberg in a few days leaves us without some of our greatest ladies. Geek girls are remaking pop culture over the last decade but we must never forget those pioneers who didn’t have the internet and social media to back them up. They had to do it on the ground, one inch at a time and that must never be forgotten.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.