Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Passing of a Comedic Titan

I can't be alone in saying that another part of my childhood is gone... the legendary voice actress June Foray has died. Like most Americans who grew up in the latter half of the twentieth century, June Foray was a part of my life, having voiced some of the great classic cartoon characters. I would characterize the late Ms Foray as one of the greatest comedic talents in the American entertainment industry. Alongside such comic duos as Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello, we have Foray (as Rocket J. Squirrel) and Scott (as Bullwinkle J. Moose), with June playing the long-suffering, though eternally loyal, straight man to Bill's good-natured doofus:

In the very same show, we have the comic duo Foray and Frees, playing the villains Natasha Fatale and Boris Badanov (one of the greatest character names ever):

Happily, there's an interview with June, discussing her roles in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Her account of her skepticism concerning a show about a moose and squirrel evaporating with her second martini is precious:

My favorite 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' episode is the 'Goof Gas Attack', which was turned into an electronic dance tune in 1986:

My favorite line is when June, as Rocky, channels Lennie Small from Of Mice and Men.

June also had a memorable career working with the producers of Warner Brothers' 'Looney Tunes', with my favorite character of hers being the cackling, unhinged Witch Hazel:

Another memorable role, which had June collaborating with Looney Tunes' director Chuck Jones, was her poignant turn as the trusting Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

Writing this post, the one question I have is, why didn't June Foray have a career as a storied film actress? She was a remarkable beauty:

One clip I did find was from a largely forgotten movie, Sabaka, which features a white cast (ugh) playing Indian characters:

At any rate, June's talent as a live-action actress is better showcased in this clip from The Johnny Carson Show:

It's dated, but June was great in her role.

Most importantly, June was a tireless advocate for the art of animation, being instrumental in the formation of ASIFA, the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation. Besides her devotion to the art of voice-over, June recognized the value of the animated film- besides being one of the founders of the Annies award, she was a champion of awarding Oscars for animated features.

There is a certain breed of troglodyte which insists that women aren't funny, but June Foray's stellar career proves these jerks wrong. I grew up with June Foray, she was funny to me when I was a kid, and she is funny to me now, even though I'm shedding a tear for her.

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