Voice actress June Foray, here receiving an
award UCLA Animation Workshop Festival in 2011, will receive the
Governor's Award at the Grammys.
Amanda Edwards/UCLA/Getty Images
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show featured a fearless flying
squirrel and his slow-witted moose sidekick. They did battle with two
scheming but incompetent Soviet spies named Boris and Natasha.
cartoon is an American classic, beloved for a wry sense of humor that
appealed to kids and their parents. It originally aired from 1959 until
1964, but has been in syndication ever since, most recently on the
Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
June Foray was the voice behind
Rocky the Squirrel, and the evil Natasha. Now 95, she's receiving the
prestigious Governor's Award today at the Creative Arts Emmys.
Foray is not just known for her Bullwinkle characters. She also played Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Jokey Smurf on The Smurfs and Granny, the overprotective owner of Tweety and Sylvester. She even provided the voice for the Chatty Cathy doll.
tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin that she never expected
the Bullwinkle characters would become so iconic. "All I wanted to do
was work," she says.
Foray also reveals that femme fatale Natasha — who rolled her Rs with captivating Slavic flair — is not actually Russian.
How do you come up with the voices? Do you get guidance or is it all your imagination?
they would just call me. I didn't have to audition, for which I was
most grateful. I'd say is she heavy, is she nice, is she meek, what kind
of character? And I'd read along and they'd say, Oh, that's just fine.
How did you come up with Natasha's sound?
Well, I thought with Boris and Natasha, it was Russian, and [Bullwinkle
producer] Jay Ward said, no no no, they're from Pottsylvania. Don't
make them from Russia, because we had enough problems as it was. So I
made her sort of continental.
If you don't mind, could you channel Natasha for me now?
(As Natasha:) Why not, darlink?
I was doing Natasha for so long! She and Boris would just be together
all the time. (As Foray:) So, no, I never have any problem.
I did Granny, I started I think in 1955, and I wasn't old enough to be a
granny. But now that I am, I'm still doing Granny! Isn't that funny?