Earlier this week we shared with you that Imagineer Marty Skylar had passed away. But, this morning I realized, Marty wasn’t the only Disney great we lost this past week. On Wednesday July 26, 99 year old voice actress June Foray, the First Lady of Animated Voicing, passed away. Initially all I knew about June was what the local radio was telling me, that she was a key voice in Rocky and Bullwinkle (Rocky J Squirell and Natasha), various voices on Looney Tunes (Granny and Hazel) and Merry Melodies shorts, the Flintstones (Granny and various others), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (Aunt May) and The Grinch That Stole Christmas (Cindy Lou Who.) It wasn’t until I saw a post by Disney great Margaret Kerry that I realized June also had an amazing Disney connection.
Born June Lucille Forer in Springfield, Mass. on September 18, 1917, June did vocal work in local radio starting at the age of 12. Eventually she and her family moved to Los Angeles where she continued to work in radio while attending high school. June was a longtime supporter of the animation industry and she is “credited with coming up with the idea for the Annie Awards” and she also lobbied for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to recognize animated films.
June’s work with Disney films is what credited for getting June into animation voice work. From Variety.com “Foray got her start in the animation business when someone from the Walt Disney studio called her to ask if she could do the voice of a cat. “Well, I could do anything,” recalled Foray in an interview with Variety. “So he hired me as Lucifer the cat in ‘Cinderella,’ and then I started to work for Disney.” Much of her work for Disney was uncredited, including work as a mermaid and squaw in “Peter Pan.” But she starred as the voice of Hazel the Witch in the 1952 Donald Duck short “Trick or Treat,” using a voice that would later morph into “Looney Tunes” character Witch Hazel. She would often say that she voiced a long litany of cartoon witches, many of them named Hazel.” June’s work with Disney spans all the way from Cinderella to Mulan 2. Most notably readers will probably remember her as Grammi Gummi, Grandmother Fa, Magica De Spell, Mrs. Beagle and Magica De Spell. But she also lent her voice to famous Disney characters in Cinderella, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Susie the Little Blue Coupe, and Lambert the Sheepish Lion. She also voiced Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in the last Oswald short ever to be made, which was a non-Disney produced and made short. Below is list of Disney characters (and Oswald) June voiced from 1943 until 2013.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit- The Egg Cracker Suite (1943) – Made by Walter Lanz Productions, not Disney
- Lucifer – Cinderella (1950)
- Spike’s wife / Various kids – Let’s Stick Together (1952)
- Mrs. Sheep / Lambert (purring and meowing) / Lambs / Sheep (voice) – Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952)
- Susie – Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952)
- Hazel the Witch – Trick or Treat (1952)
- The Dame – How to Be a Detective (1952)
- Mermaid / Squaw – Peter Pan (1953)
- Mrs. Geef / Goofy Jr. – Father’s Week-end (1953)
- Hazel the Witch – DTV Monster Hits (1987)
- Wheezy / Lena Hyena – Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
- Grammi Gummi and other characters with only one appearance- Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991)
- Ma Beagle, Magica De Spell, Mrs. Featherby – DuckTales (1987-1990)
- Mrs. Featherby – DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990)
- Ma Barker – Bonkers (1993)
- Grandmother Fa – Mulan and Mulan Story Studio (1998)
- Grandmother Fa – Mulan 2 (2004)
- Magica De Spell – DuckTales: Remastered (2013)
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