Emmys: June Foray, Voice of 'Bullwinkle's' Rocky and Natasha, to Receive Governors Award

Courtesy of Television Academy; Everett Collection
June Foray and Natasha Fatale (inset)

The animation legend, now 95, will receive the honor at the 2013 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 15.

She voiced a flying squirrel and a Russian femme fatale, among countless other beloved characters, and now here's something you'll really like: June Foray is getting an honorary Emmy for her 60 years of behind-the-scenes service. Foray, who is 95, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Governors Award, which she'll receive at the Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday, Sept. 15.

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Often referred to as "The First Lady of Cartoon Voices," Foray has lent her skills to such animation icons as Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale on The Bullwinkle Show, Cindy Lou Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Granny, the old woman oblivious to Tweety and Sylvester's ongoing warfare, on The Bugs Bunny Show. Foray also voiced Looney Tunes' Witch Hazel and was the voice of Jokey Smurf on The Smurfs.

"Each year the Board of Governors recognizes a person or organization whose contributions to our industry will forever live on," says Television Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum in a statement. "June Foray absolutely embodies everything that this honor represents. A legend and a pioneer, June is not only in a class of her own, but she literally created that class. There is simply no one more deserving of this honor."

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Born June Lucille Forer in Springfield, Mass., in 1917, Foray got into voice-over work at the age of 12, performing in a local radio drama. She moved to Los Angeles at 17 and quickly established herself as a popular radio actress on national broadcasts like Lux Radio Theater and The Jimmy Durante Show. Her first major animation role came in 1950, playing Lucifer the Cat in Walt Disney's Cinderella. Among her more unusual gigs, Foray provided the voice of the original Chatty Cathy doll, and later played the Talky Tina doll it inspired in a terrifying chapter of The Twilight Zone.

"My name is Talky Tina," Foray sweetly intoned in the 1963 episode. "And I'm going to kill you."

Foray has never stopped working in Hollywood, moving between TV and film, animation and live action. (She voiced several boys in 1975's Jaws, for example.) But it wasn't until 2012 that Foray received her first Emmy nomination, in the category of outstanding performer in an animated program for her work as Mrs. Cauldron on The Garfield Show. She won.