June Foray, Virtuoso of Cartoon Voices, Notably Rocky’s, Dies at 99

On the big screen, she was Lucifer the cat in Walt Disney’s “Cinderella” (1950), a mermaid and a squaw in “Peter Pan” (1953), and Wheezy Weasel and Lena Hyena in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988). On television, she was Cindy-Lou Who in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966); Ursula in “George of the Jungle” (1967); and Aunt May Parker in “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” (1981-83).

She also breathed sinister spirit into a doll in a memorable 1963 “Twilight Zone” episode, telling a little girl’s stepfather, played by Telly Savalas, “My name is Talky Tina, and I’m going to kill you.”

Ms. Foray portrayed grannies, witches, a fortuneteller, innocent girls, sultry femmes and menageries of anthropomorphic chipmunks, cats, woodpeckers, mice, beagles and other cartoon characters in the adventures of Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Mr. Magoo, Sylvester and Tweety, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, the Incredible Hulk, the Smurfs and the Simpsons.


June Foray in Hollywood in 2011, with figures of Tweety and Sylvester. She gave voice to characters in their adventures and many others.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

But the cognoscenti said she was at her peak for Rocket J. Squirrel (a. k. a. Rocky the flying squirrel) and his curvaceous adversary, Natasha Fatale, on the proudly two-dimensional cliffhanger chronicles of “Rocky and His Friends” (later “The Bullwinkle Show”) from 1959 to 1964. In other segments, she played Nell Fenwick, the prim girlfriend of the handsome, muddle-headed Mountie Dudley Do-Right.

In an era when the Cold War was heating up and the Red scare turned everyone blue, the gifted voices of Ms. Foray, Bill Scott, Paul Frees and William Conrad gave vivacity to Rocky, a plucky little rodent with an aviator helmet, and his antlered, dimwitted moose pal (Mr. Scott) as they battled the inept Slavic schemers Boris Badenov (Mr. Frees) and Natasha in Frostbite Falls, Minn., a neverland where silliness and puns live forever.

There was plenty of action for the children, slam-bang stories with standard animation gags like characters blowing up or falling out of windows. But on another level, it was satire, parody and rapid-fire wordplay. Dorson Belles warns his radio audience that invaders from outer space are no joke and that everyone should panic. A mystery gas called “votane” turns Democrats into…

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