Happy Birthday, June Foray!

09.18.2010

June Foray in an undated publicity photo.

Voice Actors in the News would like to wish a very happy birthday to “The First Lady of Cartoon Voicing” — June Foray — born September 18th, 1917.

June Foray with fellow Looney Tunes character voicers Maurice LaMarche and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

For cartoon voice actor fans, June needs no introduction. With more than 300 credits listed on The Internet Movie Database, her most notable roles are… well, all of them, but the most widely-known characters she’s voiced are Granny and Witch Hazel in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Rocky and Natasha in Rocky & Bullwinkle, Magica De Spell and Ma Beagle in Disney’s DuckTales, and Jokey Smurf in The Smurfs.

June Foray, Dave Nimitz and Ginger. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

And as we’ve reported here a few times, there’s a June Foray documentary forthcoming, which according to the official site is currently in post-production. (A new trailer was added on August 5th, 2010.)

There’s also the Smurf Justice for June Foray campaign which needs the continued support of all her fans and a great deal more media exposure if it’s going to be successful:

There’s also more than 40 links, interviews and video related to June that I collected via June’s category at The Open Directory Project. And I’ll probably be adding more to it over the next week. One link in particular that’s highly recommended is The Archive of American Television’s 2-hour video interview with June from 2008. Here’s part 1 via YouTube:

Additionally, animation artist Dave Nimitz, who has been close friends with June for ages (and who also donated personal photos for this article), has home videos with June on his official YouTube Channel, and many, many photos featuring June on his Flickr photostream.

Voice Actors in the News staffer Doreen Mulman also has a tribute to June on her blog, including an image Dave Nimitz created for June in honor of her birthday.

Cover image for June Foray's autobiography courtesy of BearManorMedia.com.

Lastly (but certainly not leastly), June’s autobiography Did You Grow Up With Me Too? is available through her official site, JUNEFORAY.COM. Mark Evanier stated via NewsFromME.com in February 2010:

[We] will soon be closing down her site and it will no longer be possible to order signed copies from there. But I like you so I’m giving you what may be your final opportunity. If you want a copy autographed by the legend herself — the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha, Tweety’s owner Granny, Nell Fenwick, Jokey Smurf and so many more — go there now and order one…or more. And don’t come crawling to me when you finally decide you need one and they’re no longer available.

Mark hasn’t followed up on this since, and the site does appear to still have copies available. But if for some reason they’re sold out, you can still purchase the book through the publisher: BEARMANORMEDIA.COM.

June Foray and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

June’s character voices have been entertaining me since I was a toddler. I hope to finally get a chance to meet her so I can tell her in person how much I admire and appreciate her work, and how much it influenced me to pursue a career as a performer.

And from myself and the staff here at Voice Actors in the News, we wish you a very happy birthday, June.

Actress June Foray arrives for the 2009 Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2009. Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.


‘Voices of Character’ Event in Beverly Hills

07.28.2010

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA will be hosting a unique event on August 19, 2010: The Marc Davis Celebration of Animation: Voices of Character with a “panel of experts” that includes prolific cartoon voice actor Jim Cummings, the “First Lady of Cartoon Voicing” June Foray, author/voice talent Yuri Lowenthal and Russi Taylor (voice of Minnie Mouse). Also on the panel will be animation director Bob Peterson (voice of Dug in Pixar’s “Up”) and animator James Baxter as well as casting executive Rick Dempsey and animation historian Charles Solomon as panel moderator. (It seems more special guests will be announced, and we’ll provide updates as they become available.)

Here’s a description of the event from Oscars.org:

While animators have been called “actors with pencils” who toil vigorously to create the “illusion of life,” animated characters equally depend on the unique talents of voice artists to breathe life into their visual components. Vocal range and consistency, comic timing, emotional impact, character definition and song styling are just a few of the very specific choices that can make or break a coordinated effort between picture and sound. Our panel of experts will discuss how they approach their work, what they admire in the work of others, and perhaps even “sound off” on why their work isn’t nearly as appreciated as it should be.

Tickets for this event are only $5, and full details are available through the link below:

http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/events/2010/voices.html

Thanks to Deirdre for the heads-up via VO-BB.com.


Full Coverage: 2010 Annie Awards Ceremony

02.08.2010

This article was originally posted 1.03.2010 and has since been revised and updated as new details have become available.

Presented by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, the 37th Annual Annie Awards were held on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony will also be webcast on AnnieAwards.org beginning Tuesday, Feb. 9th.

Following are the nominees and winners for the voice acting-related categories:

~ Voice Acting in a Television Production ~

Tom Kenny accepting his award. (Photo courtesy Carol Wyatt)


Danny Jacobs, Voice of King Julien: “Merry Madagascar”: DreamWorks Animation

Nicky Jones, Voice of Chowder: “Chowder: The Dinner Theatre'”: Cartoon Network Studios

* WINNER: Tom Kenny, Voice of SpongeBob: “SpongeBob SquarePants: Truth or Square”: Nickelodeon

– Dwight Schultz, Voice of Mung Daal: “Chowder:The Party Cruise”: Cartoon Network Studios

– Willow Smith, Voice of Abby: “Merry Madagascar”: DreamWorks Animation

~ Voice Acting in a Feature Production ~

* WINNER: Jen Cody, Voice of Charlotte: “The Princess and the Frog”: Walt Disney Animation Studios

– Dawn French, Voice of Miss Forcible: “Coraline”: Laika

– Hugh Laurie, Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D.: “Monsters vs. Aliens”: DreamWorks Animation

– John Leguizamo, Voice of Sid: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur”: Blue Sky Studios

– Jennifer Lewis, Voice of Mama Odie: “The Princess and the Frog”: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The highest honor of the night went to Pixar/Disney’s Up for “Best Animated Feature,” which won another award for “Directing in a Feature Production.”

Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder won for “Best Home Entertainment Production,” and Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 was the winner for “Best Animated Short Subject.”

Disney’s Prep and Landing won “Best Animated Television Production” and 3 additional awards, while The Penguins of Madagascar won for the “Best Animated Television Production for Children.”

Producer/animator/artist Bruce Timm was one of three recipients of the prestigious Winsor McCay Award. Timm has also voiced incidental characters and performed background walla for the many DC Comics animated properties with which he’s been involved.

My hearty congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

William Shatner hosting (photo courtesy Carol Wyatt)


William Shatner served as host for the event (previously reported here), and presenters included June Foray, Seth Green, John Leguizamo, Sean Astin, Pete Docter, Ed Catmull and Henry Selick. Disney’s Don Hahn also introduced a special tribute to the late Roy Disney.

Please visit AnnieAwards.org for the complete list of winners.

I will be adding more photos and video from the event over the next week, but in the meantime here’s a video from the 2009 Annie Awards featuring voice actors James Hong, Brad Garrett and Pat Fraley (via ActorsReporter.com):

Update: 2.08.2010, 3:05 AM (EST) — My friend and fellow voice actor fan Matt Dunford had the privilege of attending the Annies and provided the following report:

It was great show. But I really don’t think that Shatner was anywhere near as good as Tom Kenny has been for the past 5 years. But the highlight of the evening was Shatner totally botching the pronunciation of John Leguizamo and the running gag it prompted for the rest of the evening.

[Besides the aforementioned presenters], John DiMaggio and Fred Tatasciore presented an award together. Later on Bill Farmer, Tony Anselmo, and Russi Taylor went on stage and presented an award and also gave a marvelous tribute to Wayne Allwine. It was wonderful, Russi was so thankful to everyone there as she was holding back tears, yet the trio still gave a wonderful performance.

And for VAs in the audience I ran into Dana Snyder from [Aqua Teen Hunger Force], and Michael-Leon Wooley [Princess and the Frog]. Wooley was…very smiley and laughing all the time.

Other comments on the Annie Awards ceremony via Cartoon Brew:

From Floyd Norman: “William Shatner was a terrific host. Plus, he really moved the show along nicely, making the most out of every comic opportunity. I’d gladly have him back at the helm for another awards ceremony.”

From Floyd Bishop: “I thought the show was great, even from the nosebleed seats. The Tom [Kenny]/William Shatner voice swap skit was funny, and as Floyd Norman mentioned, Mr Shatner did a great job of keeping the show moving. It didn’t feel as long as it was.”

Update: 2.09.2010, 5:00 AM (EST) — The first few minutes of AnimationArchive.org’s podcast includes an “Annies Wrap Up.”

Seth Green fan blog “Freakin’ Awesome!” has posted photos collected from around the web of Green’s appearance at the Annie Awards here and here.

I also have a full gallery of photos courtesy of artist Carol Wyatt of Carol Wyatt Illustration (Thanks again, Carol!):

Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards
Annie Awards

And if anyone from ASIFA-Hollywood happens to be reading this, I would like to submit Richard Horvitz as host for the 38th Annual Annie Awards, provided that Tom Kenny is not available again. I’ve observed Horvitz for a few convention panel presentations and he’s naturally funny, quick-witted, great with people and presents himself professionally as well. He also has ample experience as a speaker since he teaches voice acting workshops which come highly-recommended.

While I’m sure having a celebrity guest host helped boost the Annies’ media exposure, wouldn’t you really rather have the host represent someone who genuinely works in your own industry?

Added: 2.08.2010, 3:39 AM (EST) — 2010 Annie Awards videos from the red carpet event:

Lacey Chabert (The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Wild Thornberrys, and the original voice of Meg Griffin on Family Guy):

John Leguizamo (Ice Age film series):

Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse):

Tony Anselmo and Bill Farmer (Donald and Goofy, respectively):

Jennifer Lewis (Princess and the Frog):

Michael-Leon Wooley (Princess and the Frog):

Jennifer Cody (Princess and the Frog):

…and Cody receiving her Annie Award:

Nicky Jones (Chowder)

Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Family Guy)

Tom Kenny vs William Shatner: Battle for the Host!
…also includes Seth Green presenting the award for “Best Home Entertainment Production” (and a brief appearance by John Di Maggio)

A very special thanks to Matt Dunford for providing the event report, to artist Carol Wyatt of Carol Wyatt Illustration / Carol’s Couch for all the photos, and to Doreen Mulman for the heads-up on Carol’s photos.
I’d also like to thank the Academy…

Additional sources: NewsroomAmerica.com and Celebrity2Celebrity.com.

Related posts:
– 1.26.2010 — William Shatner to Host Annie Awards
– 12.17.2009 — Golden Globes Nominees Announced


Happy 50th Birthiversary, Rocky and Bullwinkle!

11.18.2009

Have Mr. Peabody fire up the “WABAC Machine” and travel back to November 19th, 1959 and you’ll discover it’s been 50 years since Jay Ward’s “Rocky and His Friends” made its television debut — still one of the best animated comedies ever produced.

The show’s excellent writing with rapid-fire gags and quips, combined with fun characters, a great voice cast, and the simplicity of the animation gave this show a timeless quality that makes it as funny and entertaining today as it was 50 years ago, and will likely continue to be for generations to come.

Various online news media have begun publishing articles to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famous animated moose and squirrel. Most articles I’ve seen so far merely rehash the series’ history (and are probably just rewording the Wikipedia entry anyway), but of note is this interview in the Star-Telegram with Tiffany Ward (Jay Ward’s daughter) and cast member June Foray (voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale). Here’s an excerpt from June on being recognized by her voice:

“One time, I was buying a magazine in a store and I was chatting with the clerk, and he said, ‘I hope you’re not insulted, but you sound like Rocky the Flying Squirrel.’ I said, ‘I’m not insulted that you think so. I’m delighted.’”

UPDATE: 11.19.2009. 2:00 PM (EST)

    The Journal Star has a feature on “Rocky and Bullwinkle” which includes an archive interview with June Foray. And for additional interviews with Tiffany Ward, see my news post on toonzone.

    Also for a limited time you can view the entire first season (20 episodes) of the show for free on Hulu.com.

    And for more details on the show’s cast (including photos), visit the toonzone-hosted Hokey Smoke! Rocky and Bullwinkle fan site.

I also found a recent photo of June from Gettys Images, taken on the red carpet at the 2009 Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2009.

June’s autobiography, Did You Grow Up With Me Too?, was published in July 2009, and if you haven’t yet purchased it you can order an autographed copy through her official website, JuneForay.com.

And on a related note, I’ve taken this opportunity to add 40 links (articles, interviews, audio and video) to June’s category at The Open Directory Project (dmoz.org). And by the way, that’s not a typo either — I really do mean “40” as in forty links, and I assure you they’re all well-worth your time to browse (I don’t link ’em if they ain’t), and several of them are gems from the last few months that have largely gone unnoticed.

Related post: 8.07.2009 — June Foray DVD Documentary Update


Sometimes Other People Blog About Voice Actors Too

08.21.2009

Monkey Goggles blogger Geoff Carter highlights the work of Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Corey Burton, June Foray, Jim Cummings, Paul Frees, Frank Welker, and others. He promises a follow-up is forthcoming.

Update: 12.20.2009 — Carter fulfills his promise, as promised.

[Thanks to voice actor webmistress extraordinaire Doreen for the heads-up via Facebook.]


Joe Bevilacqua Hosting New Show on Shokus Internet Radio

08.20.2009

Cartoon Carnival image courtesy PR-Inside.com.

Cartoon Carnival image courtesy PR-Inside.com.


For Immediate Release:

JOE BEVILACQUA (JOE BEV) RETURNS TO THE AIRWAVES WITH THE FIRST RADIO CARTOON SHOW EVER – CARTOON CARNIVAL!

As the protege of cartoon voice legend Daws Butler (Yogi Bear), the veteran award-winning broadcaster (NPR, XM Radio) Joe Bevilacqua is no stranger to the cartoon world. Joe Bev even co-authored his mentor’s authorized biography, “Daws Butler, Characters Actor”, available at BearManorMedia.Com.

From Mel Blanc to June Foray, from Disney to Hanna-Barbera, “Cartoon Carnival” is a lively hour of rare and classic cartoon audio, children’s records, cartoon music and sound effects, new radio cartoons, interviews and mini-documentaries about the wonderful world of animation.

“Cartoon Carnival” with Joe Bev premieres on Shokus Internet Radio — ShokusRadio.com — September 7, 2009 (Labor Day). The show will run seven days a week from 3 to 4 pm (PST), 5 to 6 pm (CT), 6 to 7 pm (EST).

“We are delighted to be welcoming Joe Bev and his terrific ‘Cartoon Carnival’ program to Shokus Internet Radio. Joe is an extremely talented guy and his show is a perfect fit for our radio station, which caters primarily to the baby boomer generation. The listeners are going to immediately embrace Joe’s personality and his knowledge of the classic days of film and television animation. ‘Cartoon Carnival’ will be an instant hit.” – Stuart Shostak, Owner/Program Director, Shokus Internet Radio

Just in the first show, listeners will be treated to:

– A Tribute to Joe Barbera, featuring Leonard Maltin, Hanna-Barbera cartoon clips and Joe Bev’s interview with Barbera.

– Voice Lessons from Daws Butler, the very first tape Butler ever sent Joe Bev in 1976.

– A never-before heard Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear cartoon.

– A live performance of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” featuring the original voice of Rocky and Natasha, June Foray.

– Mel Blanc’s demo tape… and more!

For more Joe Bev, check out JoeBev.Com.

===========================

ShokusRadio.com is now offering previous broadcasts on CD for $4.95 each. Past interviewees (available for puchase on CD) include voice director Mark Evanier, animation writer/voice actor Earl Kress, Janet Waldo (The Jetsons), author/voice actor Keith Scott, Eddie Carroll (voice of Jiminy Cricket), Ronnie Schell (Grim & Evil, Megas XLR, Yo Yogi!), and Jimmy Weldon (The Yogi Bear Show).

And just to give you an idea how entertaining Shokus’ interviews are (and why you should consider purchasing them), here’s one from February 2009 with Chuck McCann (The Powerpuff Girls, DuckTales) discussing how he came to meet Stan Laurel:


June Foray DVD Documentary Update

08.07.2009

I have a response from Gavin Freitas, producer of the forthcoming June Foray DVD Documentary (previously mentioned here), who says that he does have a release date in mind but is not quite ready to announce it.

Gavin adds that Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons and Futurama) and cartoon voice actor Billy West (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy) have been confirmed as guests for the documentary.

Groening and West join a growing list of individuals interviewed for the documentary, including Gary Owens, Joe Alaskey, Will Ryan, Rob Paulsen, Tom Kenny, Mark Evanier, and June’s VO agent Don Pitts.

Here’s the promo video, just in case you missed it last time I linked it:

In related news, on September 30, 2009, The Rittenhouse Archives will release their 50th Anniversary Edition of “The Complete Twilight Zone Trading Cards” set, which includes a limited-edition special chase card autographed by June Foray from her role in the episode “Living Doll.”

Rittenhouse’s official site says that this set “will cover all 156 episodes in one comprehensive collection, [and each] box of this set will contain 4 Autograph Cards.”

Visit SciFiHobby.com for more details and ordering info.

I’d like to interject that it’s not going to be easy to specifically obtain June’s autographed card in this set. There are 81 cards in the base set, and ordering only the base set will not include any bonus or autographed cards. The “box” order includes 24 packs and retails at $84, but each box includes only 4 random chase card inserts. So it’s literally going to be the “luck-of-the-draw” that you’ll find one of the bonus cards with June’s autograph.

They call them “chase cards” for a very good reason.