As part of Bugs Bunny's 50th anniversary, Mel Blanc had filmed an Oldsmobile commercial with his son, Noel Blanc. At the end of shooting, Noel noticed that his dad had a heavy cough. They drove to the doctor, who said that Mel could either stay in the hospital overnight, "just to be safe", or that they could take an inhaler home. Mel Blanc chose the former, and while at the hospital, due to the fact that someone had forgot to put bed rails on his hospital bed, he fell out of bed and broke his femur, which released fat emboli into his brain, causing a stroke. He died within 48 hours on July 10, 1989 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Blanc's death was considered a significant loss to the cartoon industry because of his skill, expressive range, and sheer volume of continuing characters he portrayed, which are currently taken up by several other voice talents. Indeed, as movie critic Leonard Maltin once pointed out, "It is astounding to realize that Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam are the same man!"
Animator Darrell Van Citters did a memorable drawing entitled "Speechless," which showed a spotlight on a microphone, as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales, Pepe Le Pew, Tweety, Sylvester, and Yosemite Sam bowed their head somberly in a moment of silence. It was printed on some newspapers around the world.
After his death, Blanc's voice continued to be heard in newly released properties such as Woody's laugh in games such as Woody Woodpecker: Escape from Buzz Buzzard Park. In particular, a recording of his Dino the Dinosaur from the 1960s Flintstones series was used without a screen credit in the 1994 live-action theatrical film based upon the series. This resulted in legal action against the film studio by the Blanc estate, which claimed his recordings were used without permission or proper credit. The credit was later added to the home release of the movie. Less problematic was the retention of older recordings of Blanc as Uncle Orville and a pet bird in the 1994 update of the Carousel of Progress attraction at Walt Disney World, despite cast changes in other roles. Blanc's distinctive voice can still be heard in the Audio-Animatronic presentation. In addition, Blanc's archive recordings of the Maxwell are used for the AMC Gremlin in the 2003 film Looney Tunes: Back in Action and his recordings of Daffy Duck's Rhapsody, and an untitled Road Runner cartoon will be used in three new Looney Tunes cartoons, including I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat, which was released with Happy Feet 2 (2011), and Daffy's Rhapsody, which was presented with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012).
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