Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) was an American voice actor, actor, radio comedian, and recording artist. Although he began his 60-plus-year career performing in radio, Blanc is best remembered for his work as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation - in fact, for all of the major Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by radio actor Arthur Q. Bryan (although Blanc later voiced Fudd, as well, after Bryan's death).

He later worked for Hanna-Barbera's television cartoons, most notably as the voices of Barney Rubble on The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons. Blanc was also the original voice of Woody Woodpecker for Universal Pictures, and provided vocal effects for the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons directed by Chuck Jones for MGM. Furthermore, during the golden age of radio, Blanc was a frequent performer on the radio programs of famous comedians from the era, including Jack Benny, The Abbott and Costello Show, Burns and Allen, and Judy Canova.

Having earned the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Voices", Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry.

Early life

Blanc was born in San Francisco, California, to Russian-Jewish parents Frederick and Eva Blank. The younger of two children, he grew up in the neighborhood of Western Addition in San Francisco, and later in Portland, Oregon, where he attended Lincoln High School. Growing up, he had a fondness for voices and dialect, which he began voicing at the age of 10. He claimed when he was 16, he changed the spelling from "Blank" to "Blanc", because a teacher told him that he would amount to nothing and be like his name, a "blank". Blanc joined The Order of DeMolay as a young man, and was eventually inducted into its Hall of Fame. After graduating from high school in 1927, he split his time between leading an orchestra, becoming the youngest conductor in the country at the age of 19, and performing shtick in vaudeville shows around Washington, Oregon, and northern California.


Radio work

Blanc began his radio career at the age of 19 when in 1927, he debuted as a voice actor on the KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to Los Angeles in 1932, where he met Estelle Rosenbaum (1909 - 2003), whom he married a year later, before returning to Portland. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and co-host his Cobweb And Nuts show with his wife Estelle, which debuted on June 15. The program played Monday through Saturday from 11:00 pm to midnight, and by the time the show ended two years later, it appeared from 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm.

With his wife's encouragement, Blanc returned to Los Angeles and joined Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show.

Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer. The first role came from a mishap when the recording of the automobile's sounds failed to play on cue, prompting Blanc to take the microphone and improvise the sounds himself. The audience reacted so positively that Benny decided to dispense with the recording altogether and have Blanc continue in that role. One of Blanc's most memorable characters from Benny's radio (and later TV) programs was "Sy, the Little Mexican," who spoke one word at a time. The famous "Sí . . . Sy . . . Sue . . . sew" routine was so effective that no matter how many times it was performed, the laughter was always there, thanks to the comedic timing of Blanc and Benny. Blanc continued to work with him on radio until the series ended in 1955 and followed the program into television from Benny's 1950 debut episode through guest spots on NBC specials in the 1970s. They last appeared together on a Johnny Carson Tonight Show in January 1974. A few months later, Blanc spoke highly of Benny on a Tom Snyder Tomorrow show special aired the night of the comedian's death.

By 1946, Blanc appeared on over 15 radio programs in supporting roles. His 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, as well as his young cousin Zookie.

Blanc also appeared on such other national radio programs as The Abbott and Costello Show, the Happy Postman on Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime. During World War II, he appeared as Private Sad Sack on various radio shows, most notably G.I. Journal. Blanc recorded a song titled "Big Bear Lake".

Animation voice work during the golden age of Hollywood

In December 1936, Mel Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Productions, which was producing theatrical cartoon shorts for Warner Bros. After sound man Treg Brown was put in charge of cartoon voices, and Carl Stalling became music director, Brown introduced Blanc to animation directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Frank Tashlin, who loved his voices. The first cartoon Blanc worked on was 1937's "Picador Porky" as the voice of a drunken bull. He soon after received his first starring role when he replaced Joe Dougherty as Porky Pig's voice in "Porky's Duck Hunt", which marked the debut of Daffy Duck, also voiced by Blanc.

Following this, Blanc became a very prominent vocal artist for Warner Bros., voicing a wide variety of the "Looney Tunes" characters. Bugs Bunny (whom Blanc made his debut as in 1940's A Wild Hare) was known for eating carrots frequently. To follow this sound with the animated voice, Blanc would bite into a carrot and then quickly spit into a spittoon. One oft-repeated story is that Blanc was allergic to carrots. However, Blanc denied having any allergy.

In Disney's Pinocchio, Blanc was hired to perform the voice of Gideon the Cat. However, Gideon eventually was decided to be a mute character (similar to Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), so all of Blanc's recorded dialogue was subsequently deleted except for a solitary hiccup, which was heard three times in the finished film. Blanc also originated the voice (and laugh) of Woody Woodpecker for the theatrical cartoons produced by Walter Lantz for Universal Pictures, but stopped voicing the character after he was signed to an exclusive contract with Warner Bros. During World War II, Blanc served as the voice of the hapless Private Snafu in various war-themed animated shorts.

Throughout his career, Blanc, aware of his talents, protected the rights to them contractually and legally. He, and later his estate, never hesitated taking civil action when those rights were violated. Voice actors at the time rarely received screen credits, but Blanc was a notable exception; by 1944, his contract with Warner Bros. stipulated a credit reading "Voice characterization(s) by Mel Blanc." Blanc asked for and received this screen credit from studio boss Leon Schlesinger when Schlesinger objected to giving Blanc a pay raise.

Voice work for Hanna-Barbera and others

In 1960, after the expiration of his exclusive contract with Warner Bros., Blanc continued working for WB, but also began providing voices for the TV cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera; his most famous roles during this time were Barney Rubble of The Flintstones and Cosmo Spacely of The Jetsons. His other notable voice roles for Hanna-Barbara included Dino the Dinosaur, Secret Squirrel, Speed Buggy, and Captain Caveman, as well as voices for Wally Gator and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.

Blanc also worked with former "Looney Tunes" director Chuck Jones, who by this time was directing shorts with his own company Sib Tower 12 (later MGM Animation/Visual Arts) doing vocal effects in the "Tom and Jerry" series from 1963 to 1967. Blanc was the first voice of Toucan Sam in Froot Loops commercials.

Blanc reprised some of his Warner Bros. characters when the studio contracted him to make new theatrical cartoons in the mid-to-late 1960s. For these, Blanc voiced Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales, the characters who received the most frequent use in these shorts (later, newly introduced characters such as Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse were voiced by Larry Storch). Blanc also continued to voice the "Looney Tunes" for the bridging sequences of The Bugs Bunny Show, as well as in numerous animated advertisements and several compilation features, such as The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979).

Car accident and aftermath

On January 24, 1961, Blanc was involved in a near-fatal car accident, as he was going to a studio to work on a commercial. He was driving alone when his sports car collided head-on with a car driven by 18-year-old college student Arthur Rolston on Sunset Boulevard. Rolston suffered minor injuries, but Blanc was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center with a triple skull fracture that left him in a coma for two weeks, along with sustaining fractures to both legs and the pelvis. About two weeks after the accident, one of Blanc’s neurologists tried a different approach. Blanc was asked, “How are you feeling today, Bugs Bunny?” After a slight pause, Blanc answered, in a weak voice, “Eh... just fine, Doc. How are you?” The doctor then asked Tweety if he was there, too. “I tot I taw a puddy tat,” was the reply. Blanc returned home on March 17. Four days later, Blanc filed a US$500,000 lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. His accident, one of 26 in the preceding two years at the intersection known as Dead Man's Curve, resulted in the city funding restructuring curves at the location.

Years later, Blanc revealed that during his recovery, his son Noel "ghosted" several Warner Bros. cartoons' voice tracks for him. Warner Bros. had also asked Stan Freberg to provide the voice for Bugs Bunny, but Freberg declined, out of respect for Blanc. At the time of the accident, Blanc was also serving as the voice of Barney Rubble in The Flintstones. His absence from the show was relatively brief; Daws Butler provided the voice of Barney for a few episodes, after which the show's producers set up recording equipment in Blanc's hospital room and later at his home to allow him to work from there. Some of the recordings were made while he was in full-body cast as he lay flat on his back with the other Flintstones co-stars gathered around him. He also returned to The Jack Benny Program to film the program's 1961 Christmas show, moving around by crutches and a wheelchair.

Later career

In the 1970s, Blanc gave a series of college lectures across the US and appeared in commercials for American Express. He also collaborated on a special with the Boston-based Shriners Burns Institute called Ounce of Prevention, which became a 30-minute TV special.

Throughout the 1980s, Blanc performed his "Looney Tunes" characters for bridging sequences in various compilation films of Golden-Age-era Warner Bros. cartoons, such as The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, and Daffy Duck's Quackbusters.

After spending most of two seasons voicing the robot Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Blanc's last original character was Heathcliff, in the early 1980s. Blanc continued to voice his famous characters in commercials and TV specials for most of the decade. His final performance of his "Looney Tunes" roles was in "Bugs Bunny's Wild World of Sports" (1989).

In the 1983 live-action film Strange Brew, Blanc voiced the father of Bob and Doug MacKenzie, at the request of comedian Rick Moranis.

In the 1988 live-action/animated movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Blanc reprised several of his classic "Looney Tunes" roles (Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety, and Sylvester), but left Yosemite Sam to Joe Alaskey (who later became one of Blanc's regular replacements until his death in 2016). As Disney produced the film, the company had to earn the blessing of Warner Bros. (and other rival studios) to feature the various non-Disney characters in the movie. The film was also notably the only other Disney film Blanc was involved in after Pinocchio more than 45 years prior. Blanc died just a year after the film's release. His final recording session was for Jetsons: The Movie (1990).


Blanc began smoking cigarettes when he was 9 years old. He continued his pack-a-day habit until he was diagnosed with emphysema, which pushed him to quit at age 77. On May 19, 1989, Blanc was checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by his family when they noticed he had a bad cough while shooting a commercial; he was originally expected to recover. Blanc's health then took a turn for the worse and doctors found that he had advanced coronary artery disease. He died on July 10 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, at the age of 81. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood. Blanc's will stated his desire to have the inscription on his gravestone read, "THAT'S ALL FOLKS" (the phrase was a trademark of Blanc's character Porky Pig).


Blanc is regarded as the most prolific voice actor in the history of the industry. He was the first voice actor to receive on-screen credit.

Blanc's death was considered a significant loss to the cartoon industry because of his skill, expressive range, and sheer volume of continuing characters he portrayed, which are currently taken up by several other voice talents. Indeed, as movie critic Leonard Maltin once pointed out, "It is astounding to realize that Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam are the same man!"

According to Blanc, Sylvester the Cat was the easiest character to voice because "It's just my normal speaking voice with a spray at the end." Yosemite Sam was the hardest because of his loudness and raspiness.

A doctor who once examined Blanc's throat found that he possessed unusually thick, powerful vocal cords that gave him an exceptional range. The doctor reported that they rivaled those of famed opera singer Enrico Caruso.

After his death, Blanc's voice continued to be heard in newly released productions, such as recordings of Dino the Dinosaur in the live-action films The Flintstones (1994) and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000). Similarly, recordings of Blanc as Jack Benny's Maxwell were featured in Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). More recently, archive recordings of Blanc have been featured in new CGI-animated "Looney Tunes" theatrical shorts; I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat (shown with Happy Feet Two) and Daffy's Rhapsody (shown with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island).

Blanc trained his son Noel in the field of voice characterization. Although the younger Blanc has performed his father's characters (particularly Porky Pig) on some programs, he has chosen not to become a full-time voice artist.

For his contributions to the radio industry, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard. His character Bugs Bunny also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (the only others to have received this honor are Walt Disney as both himself and Mickey Mouse, Jim Henson as both himself and Kermit the Frog, and Mike Myers as both himself and Shrek).



Original Air DateProgramRole
1933The Happy-Go-Lucky HourAdditional voices
1937The Joe Penner ShowAdditional voices
1938The Mickey Mouse Theater of the AirMayor of Hamelin, Neptune's Son, Priscilly, Royal Herald, additional voices
1939–1943Fibber McGee and MollyHiccuping Man
1939–1955The Jack Benny ProgramSy, Polly the Parrot, Mr. Finque, Nottingham, Train Announcer, Jack Benny's Maxwell, additional voices
1941–1943The Great GildersleeveFloyd Munson
1942–1947The Abbott and Costello ShowMel Blanc, Botsford Twink, Scotty Brown
1942–1948The Cisco KidPan Pancho, additional voices
1943–1947The George Burns and Gracie Allen ShowThe Happy Postman
1943–1955The Judy Canova ShowPaw, Pedro, Roscoe E. Wortle
1946–1947The Mel Blanc ShowMel Blanc, Dr. Christopher Crab, Children, Zookie


1937–1969Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical shortsNumerous voicesIncludes the Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Sylvester series
1940PinocchioFigaro, Gideon (hiccup), Marionette SoldiersVoice
1940–1941Woody Woodpecker theatrical shortsWoody WoodpeckerVoice
1943–1945Private Snafu WWII shortsPrivate Snafu, Bugs Bunny, additional charactersVoice
1944Jasper Goes HuntingBugs BunnyPuppetoon; cameo
1948Two Guys From TexasBugs BunnyLive-action; animated cameo
1949My Dream Is YoursBugs Bunny, TweetyLive-action; animated cameos
1949Neptune's DaughterPanchoLive-action
1950Champagne for CaesarCaesar (parrot)Voice
1951Alice in WonderlandDinahVoice (uncredited)
1959–1965Loopy De Loop theatrical shortsAdditional charactersVoice
1961Breakfast at Tiffany'sOver-eager dateLive-action; cameo
1962Gay Purr-eeBulldogVoice
1963–1967Tom and Jerry theatrical shortsTom and Jerry's vocal effectsDirected by Chuck Jones
1964Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!Grifter Chizzling, Southern Accented Bear in train, Mugger (grumbling sounds)Voice
1964Kiss Me, StupidDr. SheldrakeLive-action
1966The Man Called FlintstoneBarney Rubble, Dinovoice
1970The Phantom TollboothOfficer Short Shrift, The Dodecahedron, The Demon of InsincerityVoice
1974Journey Back to OzCrowVoice
1979The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner MovieBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, Pepé Le Pew, Marvin the Martian, additional voicesCompilation film
1979-1988Looney Tunes theatrical shorts and video shortsNumerous voicesVoice
1981The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny MovieBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, additional voicesCompilation film
1982Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit TalesBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, additional voicesCompilation film
1983Daffy Duck's Fantastic IslandDaffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Tasmanian Devil, Bugs BunnyCompilation film
1983Strange BrewFather MacKenzieLive-action; voice
1986Heathcliff: The MovieHeathcliffVoice
1988Who Framed Roger RabbitBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, SylvesterLive-action/animated film; cameos
1988Daffy Duck's QuackbustersDaffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, additional voicesCompilation film
1990Jetsons: The MovieCosmo SpacelyReleased posthumously; dedicated to Blanc


1950–1965The Jack Benny ProgramProfessor LeBlanc, Sy, Department Store Clerk, Gas Station Man, Mr. Finque, additional charactersLive-action
1959The Many Loves of Dobie GillisMr. ZieglerLive-action; episode: "The Best Dressed Man"
1960–1989The Bugs Bunny ShowBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, additional voicesCompilation series
1960–1966The FlintstonesBarney Rubble, Dino, additional voicesVoice
1960Mister MagooAdditional voices36 episodes
1961Dennis the MenaceLeo TrinkleEpisode: "Miss Cathcart's Friend"
The JetsonsCosmo Spacely, additional voicesVoice
1962–1963Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har HarHardy Har Har, additional voicesVoice
1963Wally GatorColonel Zachary GatorVoice; 1 episode
1964The Beverly HillbilliesDick BurtonLive-action; 1 episode
1964–1965Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-LongDroop-a-Long, additional voicesVoice
1964–1966The MunstersCuckoo clockLive-action; voice; 6 episodes
1965–1967The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel ShowSecret SquirrelVoice
1966The MonkeesMonkeemobile engineVoice; 1 episode
1969–1971The Perils of Penelope PitstopYak Yak, The Bully Brothers, Chug-A-BoomVoice
1971–1973The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm ShowBarney Rubble, additional voicesVoice
1972Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie GooliesDaffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, Pepé Le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn, Charlie DogTV movie
1972–1973The Flintstone Comedy HourBarney Rubble, Dino, Zonk, StubVoice
1973Speed BuggySpeed BuggyVoice
1973The New Scooby-Doo MoviesSpeed BuggyVoice; episode: "The Weird Winds of Winona"
1976Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the AnimalsBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky PigTV special
1977Bugs Bunny's Easter SpecialBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Sylvester, Pepé Le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn, Porky PigTV special
1977Bugs Bunny in SpaceBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Marvin the MartianTV special
1977–1978Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-LympicsSpeed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Barney RubbleVoice
1977–1978Fred Flintstone and FriendsBarney Rubble, additional voicesVoice
1977–1980Captain Caveman and the Teen AngelsCaptain CavemanVoice
1977A Flintstone ChristmasBarney Rubble, DinoTV special
1978How Bugs Bunny Won the WestBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite SamTV special
1978A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's CourtBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck (as King Arthur), Yosemite Sam (as Merlin), Porky Pig (as Varlet), Elmer Fudd (as Sir Elmer of Fudd)TV special
1978Bugs Bunny's Howl-Oween SpecialBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Speedy GonzalesTV special
1978–1979Galaxy Goof-UpsQuack-UpVoice
1979Bugs Bunny's ValentineBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, CupidTV special
1979The Bugs Bunny Mother's Day SpecialBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester, StorkTV special
1979Fred and Barney Meet The ThingBarney Rubble, Dino, additional voicesVoice
1979The New Fred and Barney ShowBarney Rubble, Dino, additional voicesVoice
1979–1980Fred and Barney Meet the ShmooBarney Rubble, Dino, additional voicesVoice
1979–1981Buck Rogers in the 25th CenturyTwikiLive-action; voice
1979Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving DietBugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester, Tasmanian Devil, MillicentTV special
1979Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas TalesBugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam (as Scrooge), Porky Pig (as Bob Cratchit), Tweety (as Tiny Tim), Foghorn Leghorn, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Tasmanian Devil, Santa ClausTV special
1980Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All OverBugs Bunny, Young Bugs Bunny, Young Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian, Hugo, Wile E. Coyote, Road RunnerTV special
1980The Bugs Bunny Mystery SpecialBugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Porky PigTV special
19803-2-1 ContactTwiki1 episode
1980–1982The Flintstone Comedy ShowBarney Rubble, Dino, Captain CavemanVoice
1981Bugs Bunny: All American HeroBugs Bunny, Clyde Rabbit, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Tweety, SylvesterTV special
1981–1982TrollkinsAdditional voicesVoice
1982Bugs Bunny's Mad World of TelevisionBugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Pepe Le PewTV special
1982–1984The Flintstone FunniesBarney Rubble, Captain CavemanVoice
1984–1988Heathcliff and the Catillac CatsHeathcliffVoice
1986–1988The Flintstone KidsDino, Robert Rubble, Captain Caveman, Piggy McGrabitVoice
1987The Jetsons Meet the FlintstonesBarney Rubble, Dino, Cosmo SpacelyTV movie
1988Rockin' with Judy JetsonCosmo SpacelyTV movie
1988Bugs vs. Daffy: Battle of the Music Video StarsBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Yosemite Sam, Pepe Le Pew, SylvesterTV special
1989Bugs Bunny's Wild World of SportsBugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Angus McCroryTV special
1989Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo CelebrationBarney RubbleTV special; aired just seven days after his death