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This article details the life and career of voice actor Mel Blanc and his experience as a Freemason.

“I have been a member of DeMolay for 63 years. I thank God and DeMolay for helping me become kind and thoughtful to my parents and all my friends. I had many opportunities to do the wrong things, and I might have done them if it were not for DeMolay. God bless them.”- Mel Blanc

Known as the “Man of 1,000 Voices”, Mel Blanc was one of the most talented and successful voice actors in Hollywood history. He’s brought to life the personalities of cartoon characters that we know and love such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. With over 1,000 acting and voice credits throughout his career, Brother Blanc is an iconic figure of many childhoods.

Brother Blanc was also a dedicated Freemason from a young age, belonging to DeMolay, Freemasonry, Shriners International, and Scottish Rite Freemasonry. His passion for bringing joy and entertainment to others, along with his commitment to Freemasonry, have cemented him as a man who fully exemplified the Masonic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

Voice Actor Mel Blanc
Portrait of Mel Blanc, renowned voice actor

Mel Blanc: A Young Entertainer

Mel Blanc was born Melvin Jerome Blank on May 30, 1908, to parents Frederick Harvey Blank and Eva H. Katz Blank in Los Angeles, California. At an early age Blanc and his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he grew interested in music and entertainment. He enjoyed putting on fun and exciting voices for his friends at school, although his teachers were not as enthralled. After a teacher told him that his future was “blank”, just like his name, Brother Blanc changed the spelling of his name as soon as he came of age.

Brother Blanc started his career in radio at the age of just 15 years old. His first job in the radio industry was as a singer on KGW’s Stories by Aunt Nell, a children’s program. Brother Blanc’s gig on Stories by Aunt Nell didn’t pay much so he soon began playing the tuba professionally as well.

Brother Mel Blanc Goes to Hollywood

In the next few years, Blanc gained regional recognition for his performances, and was recruited by NBC’s KGO San Francisco in 1931 for their program The Road Show. However, this didn’t last long. Shortly after NBC announced Blanc’s involvement, the program was canceled.

Blanc continued to acquire some short-term work in Los Angeles after the failed The Road Show but ended back in Portland soon after. Although, everything happens for a reason; in Portland he met and married his wife, Estelle Rosenbaum, in 1933. The married couple began working together the same year as co-hosts of a daily radio show called Cobwebs and Nuts. Their show gave Blanc the platform to further showcase his talent by voicing a multitude of characters, as the radio station had a low budget and couldn’t afford to hire other voice actors.

Blanc continued to work alongside his wife until they made to move back to Los Angeles after their radio show ended. In 1938, Estelle gave birth to their only child, a son named Noel.

In Los Angeles, Blanc was working on programs by KNX and NBC. At this time, he chose to audition for Warner Bros. He was at first rejected but was given a second chance to audition, and he was hired as part of Leon Schlesinger’s animation studio. His first voiceover for the company was for the short Picador Porky in 1937, and the rest is history.

The Man of 1,000 Voices

From that point on, Brother Blanc‘s career began to soar. The first of his many famous voices, Daffy Duck, was first heard in 1937. Three years later, we met Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker. Months after that, we found Tweety Bird. At the time, the media dubbed him as “Hollywood’s busiest actor”.

Some more of Brother Blanc’s famous voices include:

  • Pepe le Pew
  • Sylvester the Cat
  • Yosemite Sam
  • Foghorn Leghorn
  • Porky Pig
  • Barney Rubble
  • Wile E. Coyote
  • Road Runner
Mel Blanc surrounded by drawings of the cartoon characters he’s voiced
Mel Blanc surrounded by drawings of the cartoon characters he’s voiced

10 years into his career in 1947, Blanc signed with Capitol Records where he recorded story albums such as Bugs Bunny: Stories for Children. Four years later he worked on his first film, Neptune’s Daughter. In the 50s, he started appearing on shows such as The Flintstones, Bugs Bunny Show, and Mister Magoo.

Mel Blanc: A Freemason

Voice Actor Mel Blanc wearing Shriner's Fez
Blanc wearing an Al Malaikah Shrine Temple Fez

Amid his booming career as a voice actor, Blanc was a dedicated Mason. He first got involved with Freemasonry in 1925 when he was 17. He joined the Sunnyside Chapter of DeMolay in Portland, Oregon. He was a proud member of the chapter his whole life, even gaining Legion Honor in 1966.

Along with his involvement in Sunnyside, Blanc joined the Mid Day Lodge No. 188 in Portland in 1931 after taking his Entered Apprentice degree the previous year.

In 1951 when Brother Blanc was 43 years old, he furthered his Masonic education and became a part of the Scottish Rite Valley of Los Angeles. Inspired by his time visiting children at the Shriners Hospital in Portland, he also joined the Al Malaikah Shrine Temple. Blanc was dedicated to his charity work, continuing to visit children during his adult life at the Los Angeles Shrine Hospital. His passion for hospital volunteerism flourished after a 1961 car accident left him in a coma; once recovered, Brother Blanc continued to make his children hospital rotations a priority.

The Death of a Legend

Mel Blanc’s tombstone
Mel Blanc’s Tombstone reading: “’That’s All Folks’, Mel Blanc, Man of 1000 Voices, Beloved Husband and Father, 1908-1989”

After 66 years of bringing to life hundreds of beloved cartoon characters, Mel Blanc died from heart disease in 1989 at the age of 81. Before his death, he gave voice to a variety of characters in the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. His last work was in Jetsons: The Movie which was released posthumously in 1990. Honoring his career, his tombstone reads “That’s All Folks.”

To this day, Brother Blanc is considered one of the most successful voice actors in Hollywood’s history, with his characters and voices just as beloved today as they were during his lifetime.

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