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Died This Day In LA: Bugs Bunny (Mel Blanc)

Photo by Atomic Pope via Flickr
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The "Man of 1000 Voices," Mel Blanc was the lungs behind Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé Le Pew, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, the Tazmanian Devil, Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, the original Toucan Sam, Twiki from Buck Rogers, and hundreds and hundreds more.

From his work with Warner Bros during the "Golden Age" of American animation to the Hanna-Barbera years and beyond, Blanc is arguably the most influential person in voice-acting history. At the time of his death it was thought that an estimated 20 million people heard his voice every day, according to Wikipedia.

Blanc suffered multiple skull fractures and was nearly killed in a car accident (one of 26 at the same intersection that eventually prompted a $500,000 lawsuit against the city) on Sunset Boulevard in 1961. Unresponsive for three weeks in coma, Blanc later reported that "a clever doctor" helped him out of the coma by addressing him as Bugs Bunny.

"Although he had no actual recollection of this, Blanc's wife and son swore to him that when the doctor was inspired to ask him, 'How are you today, Bugs Bunny?', Blanc answered in Bugs' voice. Blanc thus credited Bugs with saving his life."
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More than two decades later, on July 10, 1989, Mel Blanc died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of heart disease and emphysema at the age of 81 and was buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Per his will, the inscription on his headstone reads eloquently, "THAT'S ALL FOLKS."

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