June Foray is an American voice actress best known as the voice of several animated characters in American television, including Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale and Nell Fenwick from the "Bullwinkle" cartoons, Cindy Lou Who of "How The Grinch stole Christmas," Granny from the "Tweety Bird" cartoons and Jokey Smurf from "The Smurfs." Her career has encompassed radio, theatrical shorts, feature films, television, record albums (particularly with Stan Freberg), video games, talking toys and other media. Foray was also one of the early members of ASIFA-Hollywood, the society devoted to promoting and encouraging animation. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring her voice work in television.
Born June Lucille Forer on September 18, 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts, one of three children of Morris Forer and Ida Robinson, she started doing voice work at the age of twelve in a local radio drama when she was 12 years old. By age 15, she was doing regular radio voice work. Two years later, after graduating from Classical High School, she moved with her family to Los Angeles, California where she became one of the WBZA Players, starring in her own radio series, "Lady Make Believe," in the late 1930s and became a popular voice actress with regular appearances on coast-to-coast network shows including Lux Radio Theater and The Jimmy Durante Show.
In the 1940s, Foray began doing film work as well as a few roles in live action movies, but mostly doing voice overs for animated cartoons and radio programs and occasionally dubbing films and television. On radio, she did the voices of Midnight the Cat and Old Grandie the Piano on "The Buster Brown Program." She also did voices on the Mutual Network program, "Smile Time for Steve Allen." Her work in radio ultimately led her to recording for a number of children's albums for Capitol Records.
In 1950, Foray voiced Lucifer the Cat in the feature film, "Cinderella," for Walt Disney Studios, as well as a mermaid in "Peter Pan" and Witch Hazel in the short, "Trick or Treat." She also did a variety of voices in Walter Lantz's Woody Woodpecker cartoons, including Woody's nephew and niece, Knothead and Splinter. Impressed by her performance as Witch Hazel, Chuck Jones invited her over to Warner Brothers Cartoons in 1954 where she did the voice of Granny in the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. She also did the voice of Looney Tune's Witch Hazel although she was not credited for her roles in these cartoons.
Over the years, Foray went beyond television cartoons, voicing Cindy Lou Who in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Mattel's original "Chatty Cathy" doll and Alice McNeil on "Gilligan's Island." She also appeared on camera for a character on "Green Acres." She did two characters on "The Twilight Zone," as the evil "Talky Tina" doll in the "The Twilight Zone" episode, "Living Doll" and "The Bewitchin' Pool." She also supplied voices for characters in the "Tom and Jerry," "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!," "The Jetsons," "The Flintstones" and many other shows. She also did work for Stan Freberg's commercials, albums and 1957 radio series and several Rankin/Bass TV specials in the 1960s and 1970s, voicing characters in "Frosty the Snowman," all the female roles in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and nearly every female on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." Over her career, she devoted voices to characters in "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends," "Teen Wolf," "The Smurfs" and "DuckTales." She continued to voice Rocky and Witch Hazel well into the 90s.
In the mid-60s, Foray became devoted to the preservation and promotion of animation and has since written numerous magazine articles about animation. In 1988, she was awarded the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award. In 1995, she became the first recipient of the June Foray award awarded by the ASIFA-Hollywood, a chapter of the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation for individuals who had significant impacts in the field of animation. In 2007, she also became a contributor to ASIFA-Hollywood's Animation Archive Project.
In 1996 and 1997, Foray won the Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production for her work in Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries.
In October 2006, she portrayed Susan B. Anthony on three episodes of the podcast, "The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd." In 2009, she appeared twice on "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack." She received her first Emmy nomination in 2012 for her role as Mrs. Cauldron on "The Garfield Show," the oldest entertainer to be nominated for and to win an Emmy Award. In September 2013, she was honored with the Governors Award at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Foray now lives retired in Woodland Hills, California. She has been married twice to Bernard Barondess in 1941; they later divorced. She later married Hobart Donovan, the main writer of "The Buster Brown" comic book, who passed away in 1976.
On July 26, 2017, Foray passed away in her home on June 26, 2017 of natural causes at 99, two months shy of her 100th birthday.