How did you meet June Foray?
I first saw June Foray in person when I moved to LA in 1986. She and Bill Scott in person, live, right in front of me doing Rocky and Bullwinkle in a mall (The famous Sherman Oaks Galleria) trying to attract people to a set up there, for Asifa, selling cels for the benefit of the animation organization they co-founded back in the late 1960s. Today I am the president of that organization, Asifa-Hollywood.
Do you have any memories with her?
June and I became friends slowly over the last 30 years. "Slowly" - partially because I'm shy around big celebrities - which she certainly was. June would be at every Hollywood event, every animation event, every Academy of Motion Pictures event. She would always be the first to arrive. Whenever I arrived she would call be over to her table, or where she was standing. She always made me - and everyone - feel so special.
Do you have or know of any stories that involve her that my readers may not know?
One thing readers should know is how passionate she was about animation. She was the medium's champion when it was belittled or ignored or threatened. She fought to maintain the Best Animated Short award as part of the Oscar telecast (most people do not know how long it became perilously close to being wiped out). She established the Annie Award (through Asifa Hollywood) in which the animators honor their own. She, a voice actress, knew more about animation's history - past, present and future - than most animators and artists I knew. We bonded on that - and I will think of her every day as I pursue my work with Asifa, and in preserving animation history.
I do have several stories that your readers will enjoy. The very first time I met Ms. June Foray was about 17 years ago. Ms. Foray was one of our guests for that year's JFG. The event was held at the Mission Capistrano. She was and will always be an AMAZING person! We were at this singing waiters restaurant nearby one evening. And, June go up onto the bar and was moving all around performing like crazy. Ms. Foray performed pretty much all of her famous voices, such as Witch Hazel, Granny, Natasha Rocky the Flying Squirrel, etc. You name it, she did it! And, she was 82 years old at the time going on 42!! That's old-school as you're going to get. Another other time I met Ms. Fray was when a few of us and our friends were going to the Hollywood Bowl to see Bugs at the Symphony. June Foray was gracious and fun as always. She sat with us in the park area just outside the Hollywood Bowl. We took pictures with her outside and later inside the dressing room with maestro George Daugherty and his partner David and their beautiful Golden Retriever.:) Linda Jones brought Ms. Foray onto the stage just before the evening's performance began. It was heaven.:) The other time I met June Foray was at our CJ102 celebration in Glendale, CA back in 2014. We held a very special 102nd anniversary celebrating the life and times of Chuck Jones. The event was held at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Glendale, I believe. Ms. Foray was in attendance,along with Marian Jones, Chuck Jones' widow, as well as the entire Jones family, Robert McKimson, Jr., the family of Abe Levitow, Eric Goldberg, Bob Kurtz, Leonard Maltin, George Daugherty, and even the grandson of Leon Schlesinger, to name just a few.Several of Chuck Jones' glorious shorts played on the screen. It was a night to remember! Kamden, even thought Ms. Foray is no longer physically with us, her charm, humor and legacy will live on. Kamden, thank you for allowing me to share my stories with your readers. Be well.
So one day I was driving June home from her TV appearance at our studios in Long Beach, CA. It was pouring rain. I was pretty upset about the possible headlines: "Schnook Indicted in Death Of Legend June Foray; Stupid Accident In The Rain!" So I was being extra careful behind the wheel. Suddenly, June yells out (in character as Natasha) "Quick, dollink! Turn left at light! Boris is AFTER us!" I was in love.