Cartoons

Joe Alaskey passes away aged 63

Cult Faction is sad to report that Joe Alaskey, the US voice artist who provided vocals for such Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat, has died aged 63 years old following a battle with cancer.

Alaskey, inherited the roles after the 1989 death of voice artist pioneer Mel Blanc, reportedly had cancer. You would also have heard Alaskey as the voice of President Richard Nixon in Forrest Gump and Grandpa Lou Pickles in the Rugrats films (inheriting the role after David Doyle’s death in 1997).

Born in Troy, New York on 17th April 1952 and as well as his voice work Alaskey was occasionally seen onscreen impersonating Jackie Gleason, with whom he shares a physical resemblance. In the 1980’s, Gleason personally chose Alaskey to re-record selected dialogue from the “lost episodes” of The Honeymooners found in Gleason’s private collection.

He provided a vocal Gleason impersonation in the “Mighty’s Wedlock Whimsy” episode of Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures in 1988, and a Cary Grant impersonation in “The Bride of Mighty Mouse” episode from the same season. Alaskey was in the independent film The Legend of Sasquatch and voices Mermaid Man in the video games SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! and SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab. He voiced Stinkie in Casper as well as that film’s 1996 animated spin-off, The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper.

Alaskey played Beano Froelich in Out of This World but left the show early in its final season, making only infrequent appearances in a few episodes. In the 1980’s, he worked as the original announcer on the short-lived game show Couch Potatoes, hosted by Marc Summers. Alaskey made several onscreen appearances, portraying the show’s “next door neighbor”. For the show’s final weeks, he was replaced by Jim McKrell and the “next door neighbor” concept was dropped. During this time, he was also a panelist on The New Hollywood Squares, hosted by John Davidson.

In 1994, Alaskey voiced McKluck and the Sneetches in Storybook Weaver, and later in 2004, deluxe version in Storybook Weaver Deluxe.

In 2008, he participated in a unique interview conducted by Logan Leistikow and released by TheYellowMic.com. He answered questions and told his story, then went out onto Hollywood Boulevard and talked to people on the street who wanted to hear his famous voices. This was the first time Alaskey had performed in public in this manner.

In 2014, Alaskey started narrating the television documentary series Murder Comes to Town. The series airs on the Investigation Discovery Network.

Alaskey’s family have thanked fans on Facebook for their “support, condolences and respect”.

 

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