Joe Alaskey lived through his characters. “Even at 3 years old,” he once said, “I was always looking for a pair of sunglasses or people’s cigar butts to grab to do characters, and that led into me working on impressions, and that led into theater.”

As himself, Alaskey was a jovial, energetic jack-of-all-trades. But he could be just about anyone else.

The impressionist and Emmy award-winning voice actor who succeeded Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck passed away from cancer Wednesday in New York. Alaskey was 63.

Over the course of his lifetime, he lent his voice to some of animation’s greatest hits. He became one of the principal actors on the Looney Tunes after Blanc’s death in 1989, voicing not only Bugs and Daffy, but virtually all the characters, including Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird. Alaskey also played Yosemite Sam in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” both his first major film and a seminal work in live-action animation.

He was born Joseph Francis Alaskey III in Troy, New York.

Alaskey was in his early 20s when he moved to New York City to pursue show business as a stand-up comedian. In 1981, he got a call from Friz Freleng, the creator of Looney Tunes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Alaskey is survived by a brother and his nieces and nephews.


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