The children of today might disagree, but back in the day TV cartoons constituted an essential part of growing up. Only those who grew up watching Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry and The Road Runner would know what it meant to have your favourite cartoon character’s image on your lunchbox, water bottle and stationery.
According to AFP, Joe Alaskey, the voice behind some of the most beloved cartoon characters including Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird, has died at the age of 63.
Alaskey, who had been battling cancer, in the late 1980s was one of the successors to the late cartoon pioneer Mel Blanc, who was known as “the Man of 1,000 voices”.
Daffy Duck proved to be one of Alaskey’s best characters and in 2004, the New York-born actor won an Emmy for his performance on Cartoon Network’s Duck Dodgers.
Apart from playing Looney Tune characters, he also lent his talent to other roles, playing the voice of Richard Nixon in the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump and Jackie Gleason in King of the World. Most recently he was the narrator of TV series Murder Comes to Town.
Mark Evanier, a television writer who knew Alaskey, paid tribute to the comic actor in a blog, describing him as a man who learned at an early age that “he could overcome great shyness by becoming someone else”.
Evanier said that he often invited Alaskey to take part in panel discussions and had worked with him, and the biggest challenge was figuring out which voice he should impersonate.
“The one I liked best was when he sounded like Joe Alaskey,” wrote Evanier. “He had a long list of voices but that’s the one I will miss the most.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2016.