Born Joseph Francis “Joe” Alaskey III on April 17, 1952, Alaskey was credited as one of the successors of Mel Blanc at the Warner Bros. Animation studio. Alaskey alternated with Jeff Bergman in impersonating the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety and other characters from Warner Bros.
Alaskey died in Los Angeles, California from cancer on February 3, 2016, aged 63. He was survived by his brother, John, and his nieces and nephews.
From the time Alaskey was three years old, he looked for props he could use to portray different characters. Alaskey was interested in archeology at the age of ten. After archeology, he was interested in becoming a priest and an English teacher.
Alaskey moved to New York City in the 1970s. While initially in New York City, he worked in insurance while he tried to get his acting career started.
Alaskey was occasionally seen onscreen impersonating Jackie Gleason, with whom he shared a physical resemblance. In the 1980s, Gleason personally chose Alaskey to re-record selected dialogue from the “lost episodes” of The Honeymooners found in Gleason’s private collection. After Gleason died, he watched the project get shelved.
In 1985, Alaskey provided various voices for Galtar and the Golden Lance. Alaskey was in several television shows including Night Court, Head of the Class, Back to the Future, and Spitting Image: The 1987 Movie Awards.
His first major film was Who Framed Roger Rabbit as Yosemite Sam. Alaskey provided a vocal Gleason impersonation in the “Mighty’s Wedlock Whimsy” episode of Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures in 1988, and a Cary Grant impersonation in “The Bride of Mighty Mouse” episode from the same season.
Alaskey did voice work for non-Warner Bros. characters. He has voiced Grandpa Lou Pickles on Rugrats (inheriting the role after David Doyle’s death in 1997). He voiced Lou again in the Rugrats spin-off series, All Grown Up!. He also created the voice of Thomas Timberwolf for the internet series TimberWolf, created by animation legend Chuck Jones. He was heard briefly as a voice-over announcer for the Toon Disney channel (and sometimes Dcom extras on Disney Channel). He was the voice of Curt Connors in the Spider-Man 2 video game and Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. Alaskey was in the independent film The Legend of Sasquatch and voiced Mermaid Man in the video games SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! and SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab. He voiced Stinkie in Casper as well as that film’s 1996 animated spin-off, The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper. Alaskey played Beano Froelich in Out of This World but left the show early in its final season, making only infrequent appearances in a few episodes. In the 1980s, he worked as the original announcer on the short-lived game show Couch Potatoes, hosted by Marc Summers.
Alaskey made several onscreen appearances, portraying the show’s “next door neighbor”. For the show’s final weeks, he was replaced by Jim McKrell and the “next door neighbor” concept was dropped. During this time, he was also a panelist on The New Hollywood Squares, hosted by John Davidson.
In 2008, Alaskey participated in a unique interview conducted by Logan Leistikow and released by TheYellowMic.com. He answered questions and told his story, then went out onto Hollywood Boulevard and talked to people on the street who wanted to hear his famous voices. This was the first time Alaskey had performed in public in this manner.
In 2003, he took over the roles of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He also, at times, provided the voices for Sylvester, Tweety, and other Looney Tunes characters. Alaskey was the primary voice for Plucky Duck on Tiny Toon Adventures.
In 2014, Alaskey started narrating the television documentary series Murder Comes to Town. The series airs on the Investigation Discovery Network.
Alaskey’s only live-action leading role in a film was as lovelorn Ron Douglas in the black comedy Lucky Stiff (1988), directed by Anthony Perkins and co-starring Donna Dixon and Jeff Kober.
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