June Foray Poster


Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (5)

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (cardiac arrest)
Birth NameJune Lucille Forer
Nickname The Cartoon Queen
Height 4' 11" (1.5 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Legendary voice actress June Foray was born June Lucille Forer on September 18, 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Ida (Robinson) and Maurice Forer, an engineer. Her father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and her mother was of French-Canadian and Lithuanian Jewish descent.

She started in the voice field at the age of twelve, at a time when she was already doing old lady voices. She had the good fortune of having a speech teacher who also had a radio program in the Springfield area. This teacher became her mentor, and added June to the cast of her show. Eventually June's family moved to California, where she continued in radio. By age fifteen, she was writing her own show for children, "Lady Makebelieve", in which she also provided voices. June dabbled in both on-camera acting and voice work, but was particularly talented in voice characterizations, dialects and accents. Just like Daws Butler, one of her later co-stars, June was a "voice magician" and worked steadily in radio from the 1930s into the 1950s.

In the 1940s, and possibly even as early as the 1930s, June branched out from radio and began providing voices for cartoons. In the 1940s she provided the voices for a live-action series of shorts called "Speaking of Animals", in which she dubbed in voices for real on-screen animals, a task she was to repeat many years later in an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1954). In the late 1940s June, Stan Freberg, Daws Butler, Pinto Colvig and many others recorded hundreds of children's and adult albums for Capitol Records. Her female characterizations on these records ran the entire gamut from little girls to middle-aged women, old ladies, dowagers and witches. No one seemed to be able to do these same voices with the warmth, energy and sparkle that June did.

In the 1950s June's star in animation not only began to rise but soared when Walt Disney sought her out and hired her to do the voice of Lucifer the cat in Cinderella (1950). The Disney organization continued to use June many times over, well into the 21st century. Warner Brothers also hired her to replace Bea Benaderet and do all of its "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons. June has done many incidental characters for Warners, but her most famous voice has been that of Granny (in the "Tweety and Sylvester" series). Unfortunately, since Mel Blanc's contract called for exclusive voice credit on these cartoons, June never received credit for all the voices she did. During this time she also appeared on The Woody Woodpecker Show (1957).

In 1957, Jay Ward met with June to discuss her voicing the characters of "Rocky the Flying Squirrel" and "Natasha Fatale" in a cartoon series. On November 19, 1959, the show debuted as Rocky and His Friends (1959), later changing its name to The Bullwinkle Show (1960). June provided many other voices for this show, especially its "side shows" such as "Fractured Fairy Tales" and "Aesop and Son". She did fewer voices for the "Peabody's Improbable History" segment, but she did appear in at least three of those episodes. After the show had been successful for a few years, Ward added one of its most popular segments, "Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties". June was a regular in this side show as Dudley's girlfriend Nell Fenwick.

Since Ward used June exclusively for nearly all his female voices, he showcased her talents as no other producer had before. June missed out on doing voices for three of the show's "Fractured Fairy Tales" because she could not reschedule some bookings to do recording work with Stan Freberg, so Julie Bennett filled in for her on those occasions. Dorothy Scott--co-producer Bill Scott's wife--also filled in for June a few times for "Peabody's Improbable History". Her collaboration with Ward made her incredibly famous, and "Rocky the Flying Squirrel" became her signature voice. To this day June regularly wears a necklace with the figure of Rocky attached to the chain.

Ward later produced two other cartoon series, Hoppity Hooper (1964) and George of the Jungle (1967). June's appearances on "Hoppity Hooper" were limited to the segments of "Fractured Fairy Tales", "Dudley Do-Right" and "Peabody" that aired during its run. On "Fractured Fairy Tales" June did a whole montage of voices similar to those from her Capitol Records days. Her witch voices were so incredibly funny and magnificently done that Disney and Warner Brothers tapped her to provide that same voice for the character of Witch Hazel. She was once again the lone female voice artist, this time on "George of the Jungle". Included on that show were the "Super Chicken" and "Tom Slick" side shows.

In the 1960s, June lost out to Bea Benaderet when she auditioned for the voice of "Betty Rubble" on The Flintstones (1960). June appeared numerous times during the decade in holiday specials such as Frosty the Snowman (1969) and The Little Drummer Boy (1968)). In the 1960s and 1970s, June dubbed in voices for full-length live-action feature films many times. Jay Ward and Bill Scott also had her dub in dialogue for silent movies in their non-animated series Fractured Flickers (1963).

In the early 1970s, June tried her hand at puppetry. She became the voice of an elephant, an aardvark and a giraffe on Curiosity Shop (1971). Around this time she also recorded various voices for the road shows of "Disney on Parade", which toured the US and Europe for several years.

She acted on-camera occasionally over the years, primarily on talk shows, game shows and documentaries; in the early years of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), she performed a 13-week stint as a little Mexican girl. However, June had said that she prefers to record behind the scenes because she can earn more money in less time.

June Foray died on July 26, 2017, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. She was ninety nine years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Brian Kistler (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Hobart Donavan (19 January 1955 - 3 December 1976) (his death)
Bernard Barondess (10 April 1941 - 12 September 1945) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Frequently portrays Granny or Witch Hazel
Thick husky resonant voice
Short stature

Trivia (17)

Though rarely credited, she was the voice of several female characters in many Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from Warner Brothers.
Her most famous voice characterization is Rocket J. Squirrel on Rocky and His Friends (1959).
Was the last surviving member of "The Great Ones", the voice actors of animation's Golden Era, until her death in July 2017 at the age of 99.
ASIFA-Hollywood (the US chapter of Le Association Internationale du Film D'Animation) has named an award in her honor. "The June Foray Award" is given each year to "an individual who has made a significant and benevolent impact on the art and industry of animation".
Her appearance on Green Acres (1965) (as an Hispanic telephone operator) is her last on-screen role to date (not including those in which she appeared as herself, such as documentaries, talk shows and award shows). She has an on-screen cameo in Boris and Natasha (1992).
Only one person has ever voiced a character in a remake of an animated series where she had provided the voice in the original. Britt Irvin voices the character Ursula on George of the Jungle (2007), which Foray had voiced on the 1960s series.
Was a former faculty member at the University of Southern California.
In 2012 she received her first Emmy Award nomination, in the category of Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role as Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show (2008). At age 94 she was the oldest entertainer to be nominated for, and receive, an Emmy Award.
Awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Blvd. on July 7, 2000.
Born on September 18, 1917. The 1940 U.S. Federal Census lists June Forer as 22 years old. The census was taken in April, and June's birth in September verifies 1917 as year of birth. She is listed as living in Los Angeles, CA, and working as a "Radio Artist" in the "Entertainment" industry. Listed in the household are: Morris (51), born in Russia; Ida (42), born in Mass.; Bertrum (25), born in Mass.; June (22), born in Mass.; Geraldine (15), born in Mass.; Father in-Law, Louis Robberson (69), born in Russia.
Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jews, and her mother was of Lithuanian Jewish and French-Canadian descent. Her maternal grandfather, Lewis Robinson, was born in 1872 in Lithuania, when it was part of the Russian Empire. His birth name was either Ludovicius Rabinovicius or Ludwig Rabinowitz. He emigrated to the United States in 1886, entering at Boston with his first cousin Eli Glassman, joining family that lived there. Lewis met his wife, Mary Jane Elizabeth Allard, in Northampton, MA, where they wed in 1891. Mary converted to Judaism to marry Lewis, taking the faith name of Sarah, which is engraved on her headstone in the Jewish cemetery in West Springfield, MA. She passed away on April 1, 1931, from influenza. Ida, June's mother, was born in Northampton, MA. Lewis was a successful shoe salesman and opened his own store in Springfield (Billy Curtis, who played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz (1939), worked for him before going into acting). June's family, along with her grandfather, relocated from Springfield to Los Angeles in 1936, joining other family who were already there and leaving other family behind.
Voice acting mentor and friends with Katie Leigh and Corey Burton.
Known for her starring role as Grammi Gummi on Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985).
She and her Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985) co-star Katie Leigh have done voice-overs in two cartoons together: The Real Ghostbusters (1986), in 1989, and four years later, on All-New Dennis the Menace (1993), in 1993.
It was because she was the voice of the Chatty Cathy doll that Rod Serling cast her as Talking Tina in The Twilight Zone: Living Doll (1963).
Passed away on July 26, 2017, two months away from what would have been her 100th birthday on September 18.
Iinterviewed in the 2004 book "The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors" by Tim Lawson and Alisa Persons.

Personal Quotes (10)

My mother and father were artistic people. My mother was a singer and a pianist. They enjoyed the opera and the theater and movies. And so they would take us kids to all of the wonderful functions at the Bijou Theater in Springfield, Massachusetts. I wanted to be a stage actress. Then I could come home and impersonate all these people I had seen in the movies. I was an omnivorous reader as well. So, I memorized a lot of classics. The little old lady that I do actually with Tweety and Sylvester, I memorized lines from "The Old Woman Shows Her Medals". It's a play by J.M. Barrie. Oh my goodness, I just did so many impersonations of stars, and read William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde and "The Importance of Being Ernest". It was a very exciting life.
I'd hate to be stranded on a desert island, unless it were Hawaii, but I'd certainly enjoy seeing these films over and over until rescued.
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.
I had already been working at Disney and Warner Brothers, doing a multiplicity of voices. Jay Ward and Bill Scott had this wonderful idea of a moose and a squirrel. My agent called and said, "Have you ever heard of Jay Ward?" and I said "No". He said, "Well, he wants to take you to lunch." So I met Bill and Jay at a restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard. that is no longer in existence. However, Jay knew precisely whom he wanted. He didn't want anybody else. So nobody ever auditioned for Jay. He just said, "I want June Foray".
[on celebrities being cast over professional voice actors] We are all doing supplementary parts while Cameron Diaz is getting paid $10 million. The stars receive millions of dollars for doing voices for animated films, and then there is the poor actor who has to struggle to make at least $15,000 a year just to keep his benefits. A lot of the young people--wonderful, good, solid voice actors--have families and are buying homes, and work is bad for them. Frankly, I don't think simply because a star's name is on it that is going to sell the film if it's not good. You get big stars doing live-action films, and if it's a flop, their appearance doesn't alter the basic outcome.
Once I was in a telephone booth--you know, they used to have them on the streets--anyway, Pat Buttram used to call me when he finished The Gene Autry Show (1950), and he would call me, every Halloween as Witch-Hazel, to find out what the witches were wearing. Well, that day I wasn't home, I had a studio call, so I went into one of these telephone booths and I called him, and I said, "What are the witches wearing this season?" And there were people waiting to get in! And they kept looking at each other--"What kind of nut is that?'"
I taught voice-overs at USC, a lot of the young people would say, "Hey Ms. Foray, listen!" And they did wonderful voices, but you'd get copy in front of them and they couldn't act. So I think it has to be inherent in you, to have that ability to act, whether you can do funny voices or different voices or not, you have to have that emotion, that's just born.
[on her first time working at Warner Bros.] I had seen Mel Blanc so many times at the studios, NBC and CBS when he was working in radio, but I had never met him. And here he was in all of his glory, with his mustache and balding head! And then [Michael Maltese] came in. Mike Maltese was [Chuck Jones' favorite writer, and he was the one who wrote Broom-Stick Bunny (1956), and as soon as I walked in, Mike Maltese said, "You're a Virgo!" And I said, "Well how did you know?" He said, "Well, I just know these things!"
[on Chuck Jones] Chuck Jones as a man was an intellectual; Chuck could quote Aristophanes or Mark Twain at the drop of a peg-board. Brilliant man, besides being handsome.
I always recorded first. [Mel Blanc] was in the studio with me, but I always recorded first, because sometimes they would speed up Mel's voice.

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