Janet Waldo, best known as the voice actress behind George Jetson’s rambunctious teenage daughter Judy on the 60s cartoon series The Jetsons and as Josie on Josie and the Pussycats, died Saturday, her family has confirmed. She was 96.
A native of Yakima, Washington, Waldo’s career began while attending the University of Washington, where a performance in a student theater production brought her to the attention of Bing Crosby, through whom she was introduced to a Paramount talent scout and received a screen test. Appearing in several live action films in small roles, Waldo’s breakthrough occurred on radio, when she received a part on Cecile B. DeMille’s Lux Radio Theater. From there numerous radio roles followed, including Edward G. Robinson’s Big Town, The Eddie Bracken Show, The Gallant Heart, Sears Radio Theater and Stars over Hollywood.
During her radio career, Waldo was best known for her eight-year starring role on CBS’s Meet Corliss Archer. The long-running radio sitcom about perky, well-intentioned teenager Corliss Archer was adapted into two films starring Shirley Temple, and later into a TV series (though Waldo declined to play Corliss on television). She also had recurring roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Red Skelton Show and People Are Funny.
Waldo also occasionally appeared on live action television, including I Love Lucy, the later The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and early episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, reprising her role on the radio show.
Waldo’s skill at portraying teenagers served her well in her career and she would go on to lend her voice to two iconic animated teen characters. The first was Judy Jetson on the 1964-66 Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Jetsons, voicing the character in all appearances except for 1990’s Jetsons: The Movie. Later, she voiced main character Josie in Josie and the Pussycats and the later spinoff, Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space.
Other animated voice roles include Pearl Slaghoople on The Flintstones, as role she reprised the role on various Flintstones spinoffs well into the 1990s, Nancy in Shazzan, Granny Sweet in The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, Penelope Pitstop in both Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, and Morticia in the short-lived animated adaptation of The Addams Family. She also had numerous guest appearances including Thundarr the Barbarian, The Scooby-Doo Show, and The Smurfs.
Waldo continued to work almost until the end of her life, notably until 2012 on the evangelical radio show Adventures in Odyssey, and a 1996 episode of King of the Hill. She is survived by family including her daughter.