Mel Blanc

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Mel Blanc

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Known as “the Man of 1,000 Voices,” Melvin Jerome Blank was working as a voice actor in radio when his ability to create voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He was a regular on the Jack Benny Program in various roles, including supplying the sound effects for the Benny’s antique Maxwell automobile gasping and wheezing and struggling to crank up.

He is most famous for voicing a wide variety of cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, and many others. After his career at Leon Schlesinger Studios Mel went to Hanna Barbera and continued to voice characters like Barney Rubble from The Flintstons and Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons. Mel’s skill and expressive range made his death a great loss to the cartoon industry. He had voiced so many characters that no one person can match his vocal range. His son, Noel Blanc, has taken up his father’s mantle since his father’s death.

Family and early life

Mel Blanc was born in San Francisco, California, but he grew up in Portland, Oregon. At 16 he changed the spelling of his last name, from Blank to Blanc because a high school teacher made fun of it. Mel was also an accomplished bassist, violinist and sousaphone player. He and his wife, Estell Rosenbaum had one child, Noel Blanc.

While in a coma after a cataclysmic automobile accident, doctors unsuccessfully tried to get Mel to talk. Finally, a doctor, who was also a fan of his cartoon characters, asked Mel, “Bugs? Bugs Bunny? Are you there?” Mel responded, in Bugs Bunny’s voice, “What’s up, Doc?” After talking with several other “characters”, the doctors eventually led Mel out of his coma.

Career outline

Mel Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Studios (the subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures) in 1936.Blanc’s success on the Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS radio network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946 to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, in addition to a wide range of comical support characters.

Blanc also auditioned for the character C3PO in George Lucas’s 1977 motion picture Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It was Blanc who ultimately suggested use mime actor Anthony Daniels for the role. One of his last recording sessions was for a new animated theatrical version of The Jetsons, Jetsons: The Movie.

Personal style

According to Blanc, Bugs Bunny’s voice is an equal blend of someone from the Bronx and someone from Brooklyn.

Honors and awards

Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1977 Legion of Honor 1966 DeMolay Hall of Fame 1987





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