We can all agree that 2016, in which we lost a swath of icons including David Bowie, Prince and Carrie Fisher, was a rather sad year for the world of entertainment. Aside from the many famous faces, quite a few well-known voices from classic cartoons and stop-motion animation have also died this past year.
Let's take a look at the childhood favorites we've lost over the past 12 months.
1. Joe Alaskey (April 17, 1952–Feb. 3, 2016)
Best known for: Grandpa Lou Pickles from Rugrats, Yosemite Sam from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures.
Joe Alaskey was for a time the official voice behind #LooneyTunes franchise characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester. Most of these beloved characters had gone without an official single unifying voice actor for a significant period following the death of legendary voice artist Mel Blanc, who helped to shape these beloved icons. Outside of Looney Tunes, Alaskey voiced Stinkie in 1995's Casper film and Grandpa Lou in Rugrats, a role he inherited after David Doyle, the original Grandpa, passed away.
2. Janet Waldo (Feb. 4, 1920–June 12, 2016)
Best known for: Judy Jetson from The Jetsons, Princess from Battle of the Planets, Cindy Bear from Yogi's First Christmas.
A favorite of Hanna-Barbera, Janet Waldo voiced Judy Jetson, Penelope Pitstop and Josie from Josie and the Pussycats throughout the '60s and '70s. Then in 1990, Waldo became inadvertently embroiled in controversy when her completed performance as Judy in Jetsons: The Movie was redubbed by then-pop star Tiffany. While the studio obviously hoped Tiffany's inclusion would boost ticket sales, the decision was met with public vitriol from fans and industry players alike.
3. Jack Riley (Dec. 30, 1935–August 19, 2016)
Best known for: Stu Pickles from Rugrats.
Jack Riley's long acting career stretches back more than 50 years, but he's perhaps best known for the role of Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show, as well as for being a serial sitcom guest star. By the '90s, Riley had transitioned to voicing Stu Pickles, father of lead character Tommy Pickles on #Rugrats. Here's one of his most memorable scenes below.
The scene has become the subject of many memes and #YouTube videos. Riley continued in the role of Stu through three Rugrats films and spinoff All Grown Up!.
4. Brian Bedford (Feb. 16, 1935–Jan. 13, 2016)
Best known for: Fox from Robin Hood.
An accomplished actor of both stage and screen, Brian Bedford directed and starred in a number of Shakespearean productions. But for many, he will always be the voice of #Disney's anthropomorphic incarnation of Robin Hood. While the film managed to bestow upon us the usual Disney charm on a relatively small budget, Bedford's performance as Robin remains a fan favorite.
5. C. Martin Croker (Jan. 10, 1962–Sept. 17, 2016)
Best known for: Dr. Weird from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Brak Show.
Not exactly known for kid-friendly fare, C. Martin Croker was beloved by #AdultSwim viewers for his work as the PG-rated voices of Zorak and Moltar in Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a parody talk show starring characters from '60s superhero cartoon Space Ghost. He reprised the role of Zorak for The Brak Show, as well as continuing to voice Moltar through the character's tenure as host of Cartoon Network's #Toonami segment, which ran from 1997–1999. Croker later voiced Dr. Weird in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
6. Ron Glass ( July 10, 1945–Nov. 25, 2016)
Best known for: Randy Carmichael from Rugrats and All Grown Up!.
While enjoying a steady career as a live-action actor — including Detective Ron Harris in Barney Miller and Shepherd Book in #Firefly — Ron Glass also lent his pipes to a number of beloved franchises. Most notably he voiced Randy Carmichael in Rugrats, a role he continued through its spinoff All Grown Up!, as well as voicing roles in Aladdin: The Series and Superman: The Animated Series. In 2001, he voiced Dr. Lazenby in the theatrically released film Recess: School's Out.
7. Alan Young (Nov. 19, 1919–May 19, 2016)
Best known for: Scrooge McDuck, Haggis MacHaggis from The Ren & Stimpy Show, Farmer Smurf from The Smurfs.
While his career kicked off in earnest in the late-'40s, for much of the '60s Alan Young was easily most recognizable for his role of Wilbur, owner of the titular talking horse in Mister Ed. Young's post-Ed years saw him morph into an accomplished voice artist. Beginning with the roles of Keyop and 7-Zark-7 in Battle of the Planets, Young's work can be heard in such beloved series as #TheSmurfs, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, and Alvin & the Chipmunks.
Perhaps the most renowned of Young's voice roles is that of Scrooge McDuck in DuckTales. After #DuckTales' demise, Young continued to voice Scrooge in other Disney iterations through to 2016. Doctor Who actor David Tennant, taking over the role of Scrooge McDuck for the upcoming DuckTales reboot, has some very big shoes to fill.
8. George S. Irving (Nov. 1, 1922–Dec. 26, 2016)
Best known for: Geppetto from Pinocchio's Christmas, the Captain from Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure.
George S. Irving enjoyed many award-winning #Broadway roles, while also making a name for himself in voice acting. Indeed, he voiced the Heat Miser, a caricature of himself, in the classic Rankin/Bass Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus. He reprised the role in the sequel, A Miser Brothers' Christmas, released 34 years after the original.
9. Anton Yelchin (March 11, 1989–June 19, 2016)
Best known for: Dudley from SuperMansion, Clumsy from The Smurfs, Shun Kazama in From Up on Poppy Hill.
A rising star in Hollywood, Anton Yelchin had performed in a number of acclaimed live-action and voice roles before his tragic death. He provided the voice for Clumsy Smurf in several live-action/CGI Smurfs films, including The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol and The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. Yelchin also voiced Shun Kazama in the English dub of the #StudioGhibliFilm From Up on Poppy Hill. His voice has most recently been heard in the Dreamorks-produced Netflix series Trollhunters.
10. Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932–Dec. 28, 2016)
Best known for: Lulu Pickles from Rugrats, Mrs. Claus from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, Madame from Kiki's Delivery Service, Charlotte from Charlotte's Web.
Though the beginning years of #DebbieReynolds' illustrious career saw her crowned America's Sweetheart, in later life she would experience a resurgence performing in children's films and TV series. First providing both the speaking and singing voices for Charlotte the spider in 1973's Charlotte's Web, Reynolds later voiced Madame in the English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service and Mrs.Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie. On TV, she voiced characters such as Lulu Pickles in Rugrats, Nana Possible on Kim Possible, and most recently, Great-Great-Grandmommers Whimsical in The 7D.
These are just a few of the voice artists we lost last year. Tell us about your favorite voice actor in the comments section below.