Voice manJoe Alaskey

When he was just 3 years old, Alaskey would seek out props so he could do imitations of people: glasses, or a cigar butt. He worked in various odd jobs until he broke into show business, imitating people like Jackie Gleason, Cary Grant, and — tellingly — the cartoon character Yosemite Sam (doing that character in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was his first big film). When his mentor, voice actor Mel Blanc, died in 1989, Alaskey was one of his successors, voicing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety, and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons. He also did voices in multiple video games and (mostly animated) TV shows. “He took it so seriously, it meant so much to him. It was a heavy responsibility,” said his niece and former assistant, Trish Alaskey. “He loved the characters — he loved Mel — and it was very important to him that they came off the right way.” Joseph Francis Alaskey III died February 3 from cancer, at 63.

From This is True for 7 February 2016