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Joe Alaskey dies at 63; impersonator was a later voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck

Joe Alaskey dies at 63; impersonator was a later voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck
Voice actor Joe Alaskey, who succeeded Mel Blanc as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, arrives at the premiere of "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" in Hollywood in 2003. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Joe Alaskey, a voice actor who succeeded the legendary Mel Blanc as characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in various TV and film reprisals of the Looney Tunes through the 1990s, has died.

Alaskey, who was also Yosemite Sam in the live-action and animated film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988), died Wednesday in Green Island, N.Y., after a short illness, said his niece and former assistant, Trish Alaskey. He was 63.

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Alaskey was a self-taught impersonator who started doing impressions at the age of 5, and he worked his way from radio gigs to Hollywood, his niece said.

He had been a colleague of Blanc's and had a prominent place among a pool of actors tapped to play the Looney Tunes characters after Blanc's death in 1989. He voiced them all, including Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, in videos, short films and TV cartoons through the early 2000s.

"He took it so seriously, it meant so much to him — it was a heavy responsibility," his niece said. "He loved the characters — he loved Mel — and it was very important to him that they came off the right way."

Alaskey also did voice roles in the "Rugrats" movies and was Plucky Duck in "Tiny Toon Adventures."

Alaskey's niece recalled her uncle's visits to her school during her childhood, when he would perform his familiar voices for children. "Oh my God — it made us stars! My friends were requesting autographs," she said.

Joseph Francis Alaskey III was born April 17, 1952, in Troy, N.Y., to Joseph Francis Alaskey Jr. and Domenica "Dorothy" De Sorrento De Luca Alaskey. He graduated from the La Salle Institute in Troy and was a longtime resident of Encino before recently relocating back to New York state.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, JoAnne Valente, and is survived by his brother, John Ned Alaskey, and his nieces and nephews.

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