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June Foray, voice of Bullwinkle's Rocky and many more, dies at 99

While Foray's face remained behind the scenes for most of her eight-decade career in the entertainment industry, she was an animation icon.
/ Source: TODAY

Legendary voice actress June Foray has died at the age of 99.

Actress June Foray at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Inaugural Governors Awards on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Despite her hundreds of roles in movies and TV shows (and even a few video games), it's possible Foray's own fans could see a photo of her and not know who they were looking at.

But as soon as they'd hear her voice or see her alter egos, she'd be instantly recognizable.

While Foray's face remained behind the scenes for most of her eight-decade career in entertainment, she was an animation icon.

Foray was the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel of "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," and even portrayed Rocky's nemesis (and Boris Badenov's sweetheart) Natasha Fatale. She was also Cindy Lou Who in the original animated version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Granny in "The Sylvester & Tweety" 'toons, and Jokey in the long-running "Smurfs" series.

And that barely begins to cover her many roles.

Over the years, Foray was often compared to ubiquitous Looney Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc. But after working with her on "Grinch," animator Chuck Jones famously said: "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc is the male June Foray."

June Foray, shown on the job Nov. 2, 1967, is modestly listed in the Motion Picture Almanax as "voice specialist," but she had perhaps the most remarkable vocal range in Hollywood. George Brich / AP

Her voice was even known off-screen. In 1960, she recorded the phrases for Mattel's original, wildly successful Chatty Cathy doll.

At 94, Foray gained the distinction of being the oldest artist to win an Emmy when she took the Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program award for playing Mrs. Cauldron on "The Garfield Show." At 96 she told, "I'm still working and I still get awards; I don't even have room for them all,"

It was her close friend, Dave Nimitz, who confirmed 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," he wrote Wednesday night.

Foray died just two months before her 100th birthday.