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June Foray (1917-2017)

Sad news for the animation community, as the legendary voice actor June Foray has passed away, just a couple of months away from what would have been her 100th birthday.  Even if you didn't know her name, the chances are you are familiar with her work, as she worked in animation from the 1950's onwards, and kept working right up until this decade (her last credit was in 2014)

She got her big break in animation voicing Lucifer the cat in Walt Disney's Cinderella before appearing in a number of other Disney films in minor roles. Soon after she started working for Warner Bros and appeared in Looney Tunes shorts as Witch Hazel and as Granny in Sylvester and Tweety- a role she would continue to voice throughout her career, along with Rocky from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  Among 100s of other credits, famous roles included appearances in The Smurfs, Mulan and Duck Tales.

Her body of work is an impressive one, enough to make her a legend in the animation industry. But her contribution went further than that. She was also a founder member of ASIFA West Coast, the organisation that would become ASIFA-Hollywood. She campaigned to see animation get recognition, and is even credited with coming up with the idea of The Annie Awards, and is seen as instrumental in the effort to establish a Best Animated Feature category at The Oscars.  In 1995 The Annies established the June Foray Award in her honour, for people who have made an outstanding contribution to the medium. And the first winner? Ms Foray herself of course!

An all round legend, then and one whose contribution to the art of animation should never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with her family and her many friends at this time. Rest in Peace.