Accomplished voice performer Greg Burson died on July 22nd at the age of 59, according to animation writer/director Mark Evanier’s blog (www.newsfromme.com). The Anaheim native was a prot’g’ of Daws Butler, from whom he inherited the roles of such iconic Hanna-Barbera characters as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss and Quick Draw McGraw. He was also the main replacement voice of Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe LePew and other classic Looney Tunes characters originated by Mel Blanc, and took over the role of Mr. Magoo after the death of Jim Backus.
In addition to his prolific career in cartoons, Burson found a lot of work as a “straight” announcer and narrator, racking up credits on many commercials, movie trailers, TV promos and other productions requiring an authoritative voice.
Burson died of complications from diabetes and arteriosclerosis, but Evanier, who worked with Burson on a number of cartoons, says a long bout with alcoholism was also a contributing factor. Burson made headlines in 2004 when a swat team surrounded his house in Tujunga because there was a report that he was armed and threatening to shoot another person. Alcohol reportedly played a role in the misunderstanding.
A memorial service for Burson is being held this Saturday. Family and friends who would like to attend can contact Evanier via his website, www.newsfromme.com.