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June Foray, voice actor of Tweety Bird’s owner and more, dies at 99

Voice actress June Foray attends the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Happy Feet Two" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on November 13, 2011 in Hollywood, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

June Foray, the voice-over star who played hundreds of characters including, Cindy Lou Who, Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Nell Fenwick, has died at the age of 99, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed on Wednesday.

Foray, also known as the first lady of voice acting, died Wednesday according to close friend Dave Nimitz who posted a notice of her passing on Facebook.

“With a heavy heart again I want to let you all know that we lost our little June today at 99 years old she is resting peacefully now with her beloved sister Geri and Sam her brother-in-law,” the post began.

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“I’m going out of my mind with the loss and losing all three of them within the last month-and-a-half but they’re in a better place now truly cherish my time with June and in the family for the last 14 years she is now in heaven with her family and my mother…Saturday we are having a private family only memorial for Sam so its very bittersweet for me,” the post read.

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Foray provided voices for a wide range of characters including Tweety Bird’s owner Granny, the killer Talky Tina doll in the 1963 Living Doll instalment of The Twilight Zone, Peter Parker’s Aunt May in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the chain-smoking Wheezy Weasel in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and many more.

She specialized in the voice acting of older ladies and grandmothers, playing Granny and Witch Hazel in Looney Toons cartoons, Grandma Fa in Mulan (1998), Grammi Gummi in Adventures of the Gummi Bears and she voiced the elderly woman who worked at the Baby Buggy Bumper Babysitting Service in The Simpsons.

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Foray won a Daytime Emmy in 2012 for The Garfield Show, in which she played Mrs. Cauldron, a cartoon character who described herself as “your friendly neighbourhood old lady, who might be a witch.”

“I was performing witches and grandmothers before I was old enough to be a grandmother,” she once said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In 1968, she received a Grammy Award for voicing Cindy Lou Who for the TV special How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) and was the recipient of the Television Academy’s Governors Award in 2013.

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In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Foray revealed that her favourite cartoon was the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

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“I love the [Rocky and] Bullwinkle show because it’s so mordantly witty. … But I love everything I do with all of the parts that I do because there’s a little bit of me in all of them. We all have anger and jealousy and love and hope in our natures. We try to communicate that vocally with just sketches that you see on the screen and make it come alive and make it human.”

Foray then voiced Rocket J. Squirrel and Natasha for TV’s Rocky and His Friends, which debuted in 1959.

She brought Rocky back for an episode of Family Guy in 2001 called The Thin White Line and for The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000).

Foray was also Nell Fenwick, the Canadian Mountie’s girlfriend, on The Dudley Do-Right Show and voiced Mother Magoo in the Mister Magoo series.

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Once news of her passing spread, condolences started pouring in on Twitter.

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She was married to Hobart Donavan, who died in 1976.

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