Norma MacMillan, longtime character actress who found success as a voiceover artist for Casper the Friendly Ghost and many others beginning in the 1950s, died Fridayof a heart attack at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was 79.
A native of Vancouver, she appeared in dozens of stage productions, including work at the Vancouver Little Theatre and the Totem Theatre, where her husband, Thor Arngrim, was producer.
They moved to Toronto in 1954 where she worked in CBC radio and television and became known for her children’s voices. She moved to New York in 1957 and became the best-known child voice in America, supplying those of many cartoon characters including Casper the Friendly Ghost and Sweet Polly Purebread.
In the fall of 1963, she appeared on the one of the hottest-selling albums of the year, “The First Family,” the first album of its kind to satirize a popular sitting president and featuring Vaughn Meader as JFK, with MacMillan supplying the voices of young Caroline and John John.
Additionally, MacMillan lent her voice to such cartoons as “The Smurfs,” “The Challenge of the Gobots,” “The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Milo’s Adventures” and most recently the character of Mom Rectangle, the mother of the villainous Dr. Rectangle on “Fat Dog Mendoza.”
As an actress in feature films and TV, she appeared as a nurse in “Big Business” with Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler, “Nightmare on the 13th Floor,” “Big Bully” and “Love at Stake.”
TV credits included “Night Court,” “Columbo,” “Thirty Something,” “Webster” and “Mr. Belvedere.” She also appeared in the Katharine Hepburn TV movie “Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry.”
In 1993 she and her husband returned to Vancouver, where she continued to work in TV and film.
In addition to her husband of 47 years, she is survived by a son, actor Stefan Arngrim; and a daughter, actress-activist Alison Arngrim.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at St. Paul’s Church, 1130 Jervis, Vancouver.
Per her request, flowers will be welcome at the service and immediately following the service, distributed to hospices in the Vancouver area.