Melvin Jerome Blanc was
a Jewish American voice actor and comedian.
He was born on May 30, 1908, in San Francisco,
California and grew up in Portland, Oregon.
At the age of 16, he changed the spelling
of his last name from “Blank.”
Blanc began his show business career as
a musician, performing with the NBC studio
orchestra on violin, bass, and tuba.
Blanc 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
Benny’s “Maxwell” car and Polly the Parrot. Blanc’s
most memorable routine from Benny’s program is called “Sy,
the little Mexican” in which he spoke one word at a time.
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 also appeared
on other national radio programs such as The Abbott and Costello
Show and Burns and Allen. For his contribution to radio,
Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1936, Blanc joined Leon Schlesinger Studio, which
produced animated cartoons. He soon became noted for voicing a wide
variety of cartoon character, including Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Porky
Pig, Daffy Duck, and many others. Blanc also served as the voice of
Barney Rubble on ABC’s The Flintstones.
In the early 1960s, Blanc went to Hanna Barbera and
continued to voice various characters with Barney Rubble from The
Flintstones and Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons being his most
famous. Blanc’s last original character was an orange cat named
Heathcliff; this was in the early 1980s. He continued to voice his famous
characters in commercials and TV specials for most of the decade. One
of his last recording sessions was for a new animated theatrical version
of The Jetsons, Jetsons: The Movie.
Blanc received the Legion of Honor in 1966. He was
also inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on April 27, 1987.
Blanc died on July 10, 1989, from cardiovascular disease,
in Los Angeles, California. His gravestone is inscribed, “THAT’S
Blanc trained his son, Noel, in the field of voice
characterization. Noel also became a voice artist, including some Bugs
Sources: “Mel Blanc (1908-1989).” American
Jewish Historical Society, American
Jewish Desk Reference, (NY: Random
House, 1999). pg. 438, Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database