How June Foray ended up voicing two different cartoon characters named Witch Hazel

You probably remember the Looney Tunes version better.

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"How would you like to work with Bugs Bunny?" June Foray’s agent asked her in 1954. "Oh my god! Bugs Bunny! I mean, everybody loves him all over the world," Foray recalled saying in an interview with Emmy TV Legends.

"Well, you have a date," her agent said.

When Foray met Bugs Bunny director Chuck Jones, she didn't know exactly what kind of character he had in mind for her to play. It turned out that he wanted to cast Foray for a very specific reason. He wanted her to reimagine a character named Witch Hazel that she had voiced in Disney's Donald Duck cartoons.

"I thought: How can he do that, did he buy the rights from Disney?" Foray said. "How could I play another Witch Hazel?"

It turned out that Disney didn't have the rights to Witch Hazel because medicinal products that used a flower called witch hazel as a primary ingredient had already used the name "Witch Hazel" for various branded items. Disney's version of the character was modeled after a nurse named Hazel employed by Disney who everybody loved, while Jones' character was simply a pun on the plant that many believe powerfully wards off infections.

"Disney couldn't copyright it," Foray said.

To resolve her own internal conflict over the duplication, she created a twist in cartoon history that still confuses some kids who loved both versions of Witch Hazel, the one in Bugs Bunny cartoons and the one in Disney cartoons.

Foray apparently had not noticed that Bugs Bunny had already introduced a version of Witch Hazel voiced by Bea Benaderet in the 1954 short "Bewitched Bunny." Foray became the second voice for the second Witch Hazel with "Broom-Stick Bunny."

To differentiate her Disney Witch Hazel from her Bugs Bunny Witch Hazel, Foray said she gave the Disney character a British accent and the Bugs character an American accent.

"When I did the Witch Hazel for Chuck, I made her very humorous," Foray said. "She wasn't evil at all."

Of the two, Foray said the Bugs Bunny character is the one fans remember best. "People remember that Witch Hazel a little more," Foray said.

The Looney Tunes version of Witch Hazel casts spells to keep herself very ugly, and her wild hair was a funny focal point for fans.

"The hairpins flying," Foray laughed, describing the comedy of the character.

In "Broom-Stick Bunny," Witch Hazel accidentally transforms into a beauty instead of the hag she wants to be, and in this dolled-up form, Foray was surprised to see a reflection of herself on the screen.

Warner Bros. / HBO MaxWitch Hazel turns beautiful — and into June Foray — in ''Broom-Stick Bunny''

"She became beautiful in the end, and she looked very much the way I did, and the way I wore my hair," Foray said. "And I asked Chuck about that, and he said, 'Yes, I modeled her after you when she became beautiful.' So that was very flattering."

After "Broom-Stick Bunny," Foray said she and Jones became "fast friends" and stayed that way over a lifetime of roles. He cast her more than a dozen times in cherished animated classics, including in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as Cindy Lou Who.

"He's a terrific guy," Foray said, explaining how Jones played a special role in this golden era of animation. "I love Chuck."

"I think Chuck is the intellectual of the animation producers," Foray said, recalling he could recite Socrates at the drop of a hat. "Very witty man."

Of this new version of Witch Hazel that brought the pair of life-long friends together, Foray said, "She's a delightful character."

Do you remember being confused by different characters named Witch Hazel when you were a kid?

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DMZABO 24 days ago
Witch Hazel always has a spot in my top 10 women’s character cartoons
MAGronemeyer 25 days ago
"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the ugliest one of all?"
MarkSpeck 25 days ago
Never knew about the other Witch Hazel. Guess I need to bone up on my Disney cartoons.
BrittReid 27 days ago
She was also the voice of "Talky Tina".
jaelinsmith40652 28 days ago
June Foray voiced alot of characters back in my childhood in the 2000's until her death in 2017 as I like her if she and Alan young was gonna play the 2017 - 2021 Disney's Ducktales because they worked back in the 80's. Until his death in 2016.
June Foray was also the voice of Rocky the flying squirrel of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame.
justjeff ncadams27 28 days ago
Don't forget she was also Natasha Fatale, Nell Fewick, Fearless Leader's mother and a myriad of other characters for Jay Ward Productions including Ursula on George of the Jungle... plus she did a ton of voice work on other WB cartoons.

Check out the credits listed on her Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Foray#:~:text=She%20played%20multiple%20characters%20on,also%20starred%20on%20Fractured%20Flickers.

Sure wish she had made to 100 and beyond (she was 99 when she passed)...
dmagoon ncadams27 27 days ago
At least once, Nelson Muntz (voiced by a woman (not June Foray)) sounded much like Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
Pacificsun ncadams27 27 days ago
Incredibly talented. But in the day, voice actors got very little press. A sad shame.
Pilaf ncadams27 12 days ago
Why doesn't ME TV bring that most excellent show back?
ncadams27 28 days ago
I wasn’t confused by different characters named Witch Hazel. Kids don’t think about these things, they just want to watch something funny. It didn’t matter if there were different versions of Elmer Fudd of if Porky the Pig was a kid in some cartoons and an adult in others. Or Shemp replaced Curly. Or Popeye’s nemesis was Bluto then Brutus. Or Mickey Mouse had a dog named Pluto and a friend named Goofy who was also a dog. Made no difference to me - I just wanted to be entertained. I never analyzed these things as a kid. AlthoughI used to wonder why three adult sons were still living at home with there father on Bonanza.
LittleMissNoName 28 days ago
Cool story. Knowing she voiced Granny and Witch Hazel, was surprised to find out she was attractive in real life.
She did a cameo in the live-action Boris and Natasha movie (with Jason Alexander and Sally Kellerman as the title characters) in which she asks Natasha for an autograph, using her "Pottsylvanian" accent.
MarkSpeck daDoctah 25 days ago
She and Bill Scott reprised their Rocky and Bullwinkle characters for a comedy bit on Joe Piscopo's album "New Jersey" (a very funny album, BTW, also featuring Joe doing a medley of rock songs Sinatra-style and also "The Honeymooners Rap" with Joe as Ralph and Eddie Murphy as Norton).

June appeared on the Howard Stern Show, doing Rocky to Howard's Bullwinkle, for a raunchy skit that also involved another guest, Dick Butkus. Describing it wouldn't do it justice. You'd have to hear it to believe it.
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