It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I must inform everyone that Joe Alaskey died last night of cancer. He was only 63 years old.
*Image courtesy of behindthevoiceactors.com
For those not immediately familiar with the name, Alaskey was one of the successors to the immortal Mel Blanc as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety, just to name a few. He also originated the voice of Plucky Duck in Tiny Toon Adventures, and took over the role of Grandpa Pickles on Rugrats, as well as being the voice of Stinkie in the film Casper (1995).
I have been in love with animated cartoons since before I can remember. My earliest memories are getting up on Saturday morning, plopping down in front of the television in my grandparents’ living room and watching The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. When I got older and learned how these cartoons were made, I was fascinated by how one man (Mel Blanc) could perform so many voices (though, contrary to popular belief, he did not do ALL of them). Blanc’s talent was so enormous, that when he passed in 1989, no one performer was able to continue his work, so the voices were split among a number of artists (including his son Noel Blanc). Alaskey definitely performed the lion’s share of voices though.
It always hurts when a great talent is ripped away too soon, and I will think of Alaskey whenever I put in a Looney Tunes cartoon to watch. RIP Joe Alaskey, you brought joy and laughter to millions.
The illustration below was originally released after the passing of Mel Blanc. In the full picture, the Looney Tunes characters stand silent beside an empty microphone, speechless because the man who gave voice to them is gone. I thought it only fitting to share this image in honor of Alaskey’s passing.
I’m not sure who created this drawing, but it’s a perfect tribute both then and now