Bugs Bunny at 80: Eight facts you didn't know about the world's most famous 'wabbit'

Warner Bros character Bugs Bunny in a tuxedo
Bugs Bunny first debuted on July 27, 1940 Credit: AP

Bugs Bunny, the world’s most famous rabbit, first appeared 80 years ago today outsmarting the hapless Elmer Fudd, and he hasn't changed much since then.

Since his inception the animated rabbit has become a global icon and in 2012 was awarded the Guinness World Record for the most film appearances for any cartoon character.

Warner Brothers decided to design the character after the appearance of a similar cartoon in a Daffy Duck episode which was popular with their audience.

Several rabbit like characters appeared in Warner Bros cartoons prior to getting his own show, but his official first debut was in the July 27, 1940, animation A Wild Hare.

Here's 8 Bug-tastic facts about the world's most famous wabbit.

Bug’s first voice actor ate carrots while recording his lines

Bugs was voiced by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc who was also the first person to play both Daffy Duck and Woody Woodpecker.

Blanc who perfected Bugs’ stuttering catchphrase “What’s up doc?” by eating chunks of carrot and saying his lines while his mouth was still full. 

Blanc’s life was saved by Bugs Bunny

Blanc played the role of Bugs Bunny for almost 40 years, with his last appearance as the voice behind the rabbit in 1979.

In 1961 Blanc was left in a coma for weeks suffering several fractures to his skull in a serious car accident. 

After failing to wake him up by appealing directly to Blanc, doctors attempted to communicate to him by talking to the characters he played.

Blanc was asked: "How are you feeling today, Bugs Bunny?" to which Blanc answered "Eh... just fine, Doc. How are you?"

His name came from his animator 

In 1938, Ben "Bugs" Hardaway was redesigning a new character after the success of a nameless rabbit in earlier cartoons.

Bugs Bunny on the red carpet Credit: AP

While the character didn’t have a name, a fellow employee would label Hardaway’s drawings “Bugs Bunny” and the name stuck ever since.

Bugs Bunny was a marine in the US Navy

Bugs' popularity soared during World War Two and Warner Bros were keen to show their character helping out.

Soldiers across the US military would often choose the rabbit as their mascot, with Bugs appearing on the side of fighter planes and bombers. 

At the end of the 1943 short Super-Rabbot Bugs is shown wearing a Marines uniform, as a result the US military made him an honorary private.

He would later ‘retire’ at the rank of Master Sergeant. 

He faced off against Herman Goring

Of the several US propaganda cartoons Bugs appeared in, possibly his most famous was when he faced off against Hitler’s righthand man Herman Goring, in 1945’s ‘Herr meets Hare.

During the animated short, a lost Bugs Bunny manages to embarrass and outsmart Goring by disguising himself as Hitler. 

Bugs’ wartime heroism isn’t without controversy, Warner Bros has stopped distributing the 1944 film Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips for its crude depiction of Japanese people.

He has been named the most popular cartoon of all time

Even though Disney’s mascot Mickey Mouse might come to mind as the world's most famous animated animal, Bugs Bunny beat him to the top spot of TV Guide’s 2002 list of greatest cartoon characters of all time. 

Bugs was also voted by theatre owners to be the best cartoon character in the world every year from 1945 to 1961. 

People tried to get him to swap carrots for celery

Bugs popularity in America was so great businesses tried to get him to swap his carrots for other vegetables.

In the 1940s the Salt Lake City’s United Celery Company reached out to Warner Bros and offered to supply their staff with a months supply of their product if Bugs would swap his carrots for their product, the offer was politely refused.

He was the first cartoon character to appear on a US stamp

Bugs managed to beat Mickey to become the first cartoon character to appear on a US Postal Service in 1997 and quickly became popular with collectors.

Mickey did manage to beat Bugs and become the first fictional character to appear on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Bugs coming in second seven years later.