June Foray, Voice Of Bullwinkle's Rocky And Natasha, Has Died At 99
While her face might not have been one that animation lovers may have recognized with speedy accuracy, actress June Foray definitely had one of the most recognizable voices in pop culture history, having voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel and the devious villain Natasha Fatale on the classic Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Sadly, Foray passed away this week at 99, just two months before her 100th birthday.
At the time of this writing, it's not been confirmed how June Foray died, but when one hits the age of 99, the list of causes doesn't need to be extensive. The mournful news was revealed by friend Dave Nimitz via a Facebook post, where it was also revealed her death (on Wednesday, July 26) followed two other family members' passings in short order. Understandably, all involved are currently having a rough time emotionally.
Thankfully for her fans, June Foray has a lifetime of excellent work that will succeed her, providing entertainment for new generations for decades to come. Born in Massachusetts on September 18, 1917, Foray got an early start in the voice-focused field, breaking into radio dramas and more as a teenager. That success led to acting and film work, though any live-action appearances she made were definitely outnumbered by her vocally proficient duties. She worked with Disney on such hits as Cinderella (as Lucifer), Mulan (as Grandmother Fa) and in the Donald Duck installment titled "Trick or Treat" (as Witch Hazel).
Of all her successes, arguably June Foray's most memorable roles came as part of Jay Ward's The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (or one of the other names it went by) in 1959. For the show, she voiced the titular flying squirrel Rocky and the Russian villainess Natasha, and dutifully continued voicing them both for any current iterations of Rocky and Bullwinkle popping up, though that torch will likely be passed to another talented voice actress in the future. And it's not as if those were the only two females she voiced for Ward's iconic series, as she voiced the majority of the women in the show.
There was no shortage of other notable roles Foray voiced over the years outside of Frostbite Falls, either. For Warner Bros., she took over as the Looney Tunes Granny after Bea Benaderet vacated the role, and also took over that other Witch Hazel. For a lightning round of other famed characters she played, Foray voiced Aunt May in the 1980s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends series, Ursula in George of the Jungle, Ma Beagle on DuckTales, Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and more. Often a Hanna-Barbera go-to, she also appeared on everything from Scooby-Doo to The Smurfs to The Garfield Show to Tom and Jerry to The Simpsons. Because of course she wasin The Simpsons, and for a Rocky & Bullwinkle gag, too.
That's all to say nothing of her live-action career, which admittedly consisted largely of cameos. But cameos in shows like Married with Children and Green Acres. And, of course, we can't forget her popping up for a few appearances in the 2000 feature The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which wasn't the most memorable movie for other reasons.
With more accolades and awards than Boris Badenov could shake a stick at, June Foray will forever remain one of animation's brightest stars, and we at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the actress' family and friends in their time of mourning.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.