Friday, February 05, 2016

Joe Alaskey, "Rugrats" Voice Actor, Passes Away

Joe Alaskey, a prolific voice actor known for portraying iconic cartoon characters, sadly died of cancer on Wednesday 3rd February 2016. He was 63.

Best known to Nickelodeon fans as the voice of Grandpa Lou Pickles on Nickelodeon's iconic original animated series "Rugrats" and it's spin-off, "All Grown Up!" between 1997-2008, Joe also voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other beloved "Looney Tunes" characters.

Joe Alaskey and Daffy Duck at the world premiere of "Looney Tunes: Back In Action" in 2003. Photo: Lee Roth / Star Max via AP Images

His death was confirmed by Trish Alaskey, his niece and former personal assistant.

The Troy, New York, native, was a master impressionist who began with bit roles on television sitcoms. But his first major voice acting role came in 1988's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," playing Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn, according to his official website.

After legendary voice actor and comedian Mel Blanc died in 1989, Alaskey became a go-to voice for various Warner Bros. projects involving the "Looney Tunes" characters.

Joe Alaskey voiced Grandpa Lou Pickles on Nickelodeon's "Rugrats" and "All Grown Up!" between 1997-2008

He was also the second actor to play Grandpa Lou Pickles on the animated Nickelodeon show, "Rugrats," following the death of David Doyle on February 26, 1997, and was the main voice for Plucky Duck on "Tiny Toon Adventures."

In 2004, he took home a Daytime Emmy for voicing Daffy Duck in the series "Duck Dodgers." Five years later, he released an autobiography, "That's Still Not All Folks!!"

Joe's voice could also be heard in many other television series, including Nickelodeon's "My Life as a Teenage Robot", "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "Hey Arnold!", as well as "Extreme Ghostbusters", "Duckman", "Where's Waldo?" and "Back to the Future", and the Nickelodeon video game "SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab". Joe could also sometimes be seen in front of the camera, including a cameo on the sitcom "Nurses".

He most recently narrated the television documentary series "Murder Comes to Town," which aired on the Investigation Discovery Network.

In an interview with in 2012, Alaskey said pinning down the Bugs Bunny voice was one of the hardest things he had to perfect - particularly because of Blanc.

"He was such a good actor, and he made such an impression with his delivery," Alaskey said. "There was also the matter of the accents, the Brooklyn and the Bronx mixed together. It's very tricky, but I eventually got it down."

Original sources: NBC News; Additional source: Rugrats Wiki.