June Foray: The First Lady of Voice Acting - A Career Retrospective and Tribute
June Foray, born in 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts, was a groundbreaking figure in the world of voice acting. With a career spanning more than seven decades, Foray's immense talent and unforgettable characters earned her the well-deserved title of "The First Lady of Voice Acting."
Foray's foray (pun intended) into the voice acting world began at the young age of 12 when she performed on a local radio drama. Her career took off when she moved to Los Angeles and began working on various radio programs, eventually transitioning to animation in the 1950s.
June Foray is best known for her roles as the sweet and lovable Rocket J. Squirrel and the sinister yet comical Natasha Fatale in the classic television series "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." Her incredible vocal range allowed her to play both characters with ease, showing off her unmatched versatility.
Legendary animator and producer Chuck Jones, who worked with Foray on numerous projects, praised her abilities, saying, "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray." This sentiment highlights the immense respect and admiration Foray garnered within the industry.
In addition to her work on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," Foray lent her voice to a plethora of iconic characters, including Granny from the "Looney Tunes" series, Witch Hazel, and Cindy Lou Who in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Her contributions to the world of animation are immeasurable and everlasting.
Animation historian and critic Leonard Maltin once said, "June Foray is not only one of the best voice actors of all time; she is one of the best actors, period." This sentiment has been echoed by countless fans and colleagues who had the pleasure of working with her or enjoying her performances.
Foray was also a trailblazer for women in the animation industry, co-founding the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) and working tirelessly to ensure that women received recognition and opportunities within the field. Her dedication and passion helped pave the way for countless female voice actors who followed in her footsteps.
Throughout her career, Foray received numerous accolades, including a Daytime Emmy Award, several Annie Awards, and the prestigious Winsor McCay Award for her lifetime contributions to the animation industry. Yet, her most significant accomplishment remains the joy and inspiration she brought to audiences worldwide.
Despite her passing in 2017, June Foray's legacy lives on through her timeless characters and the countless individuals she inspired with her talent, perseverance, and kindness. As the First Lady of Voice Acting, June Foray's impact on animation and entertainment will be remembered and cherished for generations to come.