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Douglas Rain Dead: Voice of HAL 9000 in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Was 90 | Hollywood Reporter
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea 2001: A Space Odyssey .
Douglas Rain, the veteran Canadian stage actor who provided the soft and gentle voice of the rogue HAL 9000 computer for Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, has died. He was 90.
Rain died Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital outside Stratford, Ontario, the Stratford Festival announced.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Rain trained at the Old Vic Theatre in London, performed in a host of Shakespearean plays at the Stratford Festival and received a Tony Award nomination in 1972 for his turn opposite Claire Bloom in Robert Bolt’s Vivat! Vivat Regina!.
The first drafts of the 2001 script had HAL being voiced by a woman and was called Athena; afterward, it was decided that the computer should sound more like a man. Nigel Davenport, Martin Balsam and others were tried out — and ruled out — before and during filming of the 1968 sci-fi thriller.
“Well, we had some difficulty deciding exactly what HAL should sound like, and Marty just sounded a little bit too colloquially American, whereas Rain had the kind of bland mid-Atlantic accent we felt was right for the part,” Kubrick told Newsday film critic Joseph Gelmis in an interview for the 1970 book The Film Director as Superstar.
Kubrick told Rain that he had made the computer “too emotional and too human.” So, in late 1967, the actor flew to New York City and spent a day and a half — about 9 1/2 hours in all — to voice HAL.
As reported on the blog 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Rain “did the recordings with his bare feet resting on a pillow, in order to maintain the required relaxed tone.”
Rain rarely spoke about the work in 2001 that made him an aural immortal. He left that to others, including 2001 star Keir Dullea.
“He’s the main character of the film as far as I’m concerned,” the actor, who played Cmdr. David Bowman, said in a 2016 interview. “It was brilliant casting. Something about his voice, it was perfect. It was unusual.”
For the scenes on the set with Dullea — like when HAL famously says, “I am sorry, Dave, I am afraid I cannot do that”— the computer was voiced by assistant director Derek Cracknell, a Brit; for scenes with Gary Lockwood, who played the astronaut Frank Poole, it was Kubrick who often supplied the lines.
As Rain’s HAL tells a BBC reporter in the film: “The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.”
HAL, “born” on Jan. 12, 1992, in Urbana, Illinois, also is a chess master and “enjoys working with people.”
Woody Allen convinced Rain to voice another evil computer in his futuristic comedy Sleeper (1973), and in 1984, Peter Hyams talked him into returning as HAL for the sequel 2010. Ken Segall, then Apple’s creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day, wasn’t as lucky when the actor declined to participate in a Super Bowl commercial about the Y2K bug.
“Rain was unmovable,” Segall wrote on his website in February 2017. “He was an artist, and he didn’t stoop to doing commercials.”
Born in 1928, Douglas Rain attended the University of Manitoba, worked in radio dramas and studied acting at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. In 1950, he left for a two-year apprenticeship at the Old Vic.
Rain came home in 1953 to become a co-founding member of Stratford Shakespearean Festival. He made his Broadway bow in 1956 in Tamburlaine the Great at the Winter Garden Theatre, and a year later worked with fellow Canadian William Shatner in the movie Oedipus Rex, directed by Stratford co-founder Tyrone Guthrie.
Producer Ivor Powell (Alien, Blade Runner) , who also worked on 2001, noted a few years ago that Rain had narrated a 1960 National Film Board of Canada short film called Universe. An inspired Kubrick reportedly had seen that film nearly a hundred times and certainly was aware of Rain’s abilities.
According to the Year We Make Contact blog, Rain recited his 2001 lines in the New York studio “with Kubrick sitting four feet across” from him. He never saw a foot of the film until he watched it in a theater months later.
Rain then needed just two days to voice HAL again in Hyams’ 2010.
His long association with Stratford included star turns as another “Hal”— King Henry V — in Henry V, which was made into a TV production in 1966; as Macbeth opposite Maggie Smith in 1978; as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice in 1996; and as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons in 1998.
“Canadian theater has lost one of its greatest talents and a guiding light in its development,” festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino said Sunday. “Douglas Rain was that rare artist — an actor deeply admired by other actors. The voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas shared many of the same qualities as Kubrick’s iconic creation — precision, strength of steel, enigma and infinite intelligence, as well as a wicked sense of humor.
“But those of us lucky enough to have worked with Douglas soon solved his riddle and discovered that at the center of his mystery lay warmth and humanity, evidenced in his care for the young members of our profession. Douglas dedicated his talent to the stages of his native land, and we are proud in return to dedicate the coming season’s production of Othello to his memory. We owe him so much.”
Rain was married to and divorced from veteran Canadian actress Martha Henry, his second wife. Survivors include his sons David and Adam and granddaughter Salima.
Rain also narrated the 1975 Oscar-winning documentary The Man Who Skied Everest, but that and all of his years in front of cameras and on stages could not compete with the 9 1/2 hours he spent on 2001.
“He’s a classical actor in Canada,” Dullea told NPR in 2010. “This is not a quote, but I’m told that his attitude is, ‘I’ve done Shakespeare and the classics for 50 years, and all anyone wants to talk to me about is a film that I worked on for two days.'”
This Mom Didn’t Want To Vaccinate Her Baby, So Her Doctor Responded In The Best Way
136 points 7.5K This Mom Didn’t Want To Vaccinate Her Baby, So Her Doctor Responded In The Best Way Mindaugas Balčiauskas BoredPanda staff If you’re a regular reader of Bored Panda you are probably aware of our stance on vaccination by now. We encourage you to vaccinate your kids, and think the best response to those who deny science and common sense to endanger public health are cold, hard facts , along with a healthy dose of humor . Show Full Text The latest example of this is from a doctor responding on reddit to the question “What is your most surprising ‘I can’t believe I have to have this conversation with an adult’ story?” Now celebrities, especially in starstruck USA, already have way too influential a voice in areas where they have no educational background or expertise. Would you want Rihanna as the pilot on your flight to Florida? No, because she has no idea what she’s doing and would have you down in a ball of flames in around FourFiveSeconds . So why would you put your child’s life in the hands of Jenny McCarthy? You wouldn’t. And this doctor’s response perfectly illustrates why people should stop listening to unqualified opinions, and seek out advice from those who have the relevant training and expertise. It’s just simple common sense! Scroll down below to check it out for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments! We all want what’s best for our kids, which is why it’s a good idea to take the advice of your doctor rather than actors
Credits: Pexels (not the actual photo) After someone on reddit asked the medical community about their shocking experiences with patients This doctor voiced frustration with people choosing to seek advice in the wrong places Here’s what people had to say about it Almost finished… To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our top stories. Please enter email address Bored Panda works best if you switch to our Android app Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app! Thanks for Sharing! Get the best of Bored Panda in your inbox SIGN UP! Nanni 17 1 day ago
Oh my fucking socks! -_- Can we just take a moment and remind ourselves that these idiot parents are still alive and well thanks to the vaccines they got themselves. Idiots. 92 points Char Char 1 day ago (edited)
Up voted and I swear I cant wait to use the phrase “oh my fucking socks” in conversation this weekend! 42 points AMY SANDERS 1 day ago
Me too!! Nanni 17 15 hours ago
Why only this weekend, I use it all the time ^_^ 0 points FanDaPanda 1 day ago
I feel like theres so much room for interpretation. A comma or punctuation mark can change so much! Love it lol 6 points Jilltdcatlady 10 hours ago
Oh, My fucking socks! Oh My! Fucking socks! Oh, my fucking socks? English grammer can be awesome. 0 points
I have yet to see socks fuck – please post a video. -1 point Nanni 17 15 hours ago
Vonskippy, I don’t have one, I’m not a pervert. 3 points
Nanni17, way to be judgemental there snowflake. -2 points Jo Smith 1 day ago
As an autistic person, it is deeply offensive to me that these people think being autistic is worse than dying of a nasty disease. 64 points reply Person2638 1 day ago
That’s exactly what I say. Even IF (because there’s no proof) vaccines caused autism, isn’t that better than having your child DIE? 12 points Sandra La Madeleine 1 day ago
Exactly. Vaccines IS NOT responsible for autism. But let’s say for a moment that it is. I’d rather have an autistic child than a dead child. 9 points Molly Tallmadge 1 day ago
I agree Jo. I also have Autism, and everyday I see parents trying to fix things with the most crazy things, like fad diets or pot or herbal supplements. I see moms loving their kids so much they will try everything. And believe everything. If they see an article saying something about Autism they will believe it. It’s horrible, but really just a case of misinformation. 8 points Peerless Magda 1 day ago
I’m with you. my sister has asperger autism and it’s NOT because of vaccines or drug abuse… It’s the way she is.. If my 6month old son has autism it’s because of genetics and if this is the case then it’s the way it is.. Maybe autism (asperger for example) is a evolutionary thing, because all should mind their own f***ing business and try logic instead.. (I’m a foreigner so go grammarnazis) 5 points Happiness is Hippo 11 hours ago
Your grammar is better than a lot of people who have english as a first language. Your attitude regarding your baby son is lovely, he’s lucky to have such a sensible and loving mother. 1 point Great Panda Mamu 1 day ago
Jo, I want to upvote this a thousand times. I have a niece who is autistic. Enough said. 3 points Cathy Scriven-Williams 1 day ago
There have been shown to be advantages to having autism too. These include a better memory and better performance in auditory and visual tasks and non-verbal tests of intelligence Some researchers believe that autism should be regarded as different rather than a deficit. 2 points Lee Kerr 1 day ago
I couldn’t agree more. My son was autistic before he had the MMR and was no worse or better afterwards. He can be frustrating to deal with at times but no more than most people not on the spectrum 1 point Genesis Harrison 1 day ago
Jo your everywhere!