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RIP Douglas Rain, voice of HAL 9000 in 2001: a space odyssey
  • Douglas Rain, Voice of HAL 9000 in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ Dies at 90

    Douglas Rain, who voiced the soft-spoken HAL 9000 robot that went rogue in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” has died. He was 90.

    The Stratford Festival, which Rain, who was a dedicated Shakespearean actor, co-founded in 1952, said that Rain had died of natural causes in Stratford, Ont. in Canada.

    The festival said Rain performed at the festival for more than 45 years.

    All of Rain’s voiceover work for HAL was done in post-production. Other actors were considered for the role, including Martin Balsam, who was eventually dismissed as too American, and Nigel Davenport, who was too English. Kubrick decided to deal with the problem is post-production.

    He was born in Winnipeg in 1928 and began his career as a radio child actor. After attending the University of Manitoba, Rain travelled to London to study at the Old Vic Theatre. He returned to Canada and in 1953, was one of the founding members of the inaugural season of the Stratford Festival, playing the Marquis of Dorset and Tyrrell in William Shakespeare’s "Richard III." Rain was also the understudy of Alec Guinness, who played the title role that season. Guinness later became famous for playing a variety of roles, most notably Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars movie.

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  • narrated by Douglas Rain uncredited

    This 1960 documentary ( from Canada's National Film Board ) recreates the universe as it would appear to a voyager barreling through space. This film was among the sources used by Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey.