Audiences would not recognise June Foray, who has died aged 99, nor would they recognise her voice. But they would recognise instantly many of the hundreds of voices Foray created in a career that spanned 85 years, most notably those of the heroic flying squirrel, Rocket J Squirrel, and the sinister spy, Nastasha Fatale, pitched perfectly to the off-the-wall humour of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Foray was dubbed the First Lady of Voicing. When the director Chuck Jones proposed in 2000 that she be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, someone suggested Foray was a female Mel Blanc, the artist who provided most of the voices for Jones’s Warner Bros cartoons, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and friends. Jones replied: “No. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”