Douglas Rain, actor, dies

HAL 9000Classically trained Canadian actor Douglas Rain, best known to science fiction fans as the voice of the HAL-9000 computer in 2001: a space odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact, dies at the age of 90. A veteran of the Canadian stage, Mr. Rain was a founding member of the Stratford Festival, and played a variety of parts over 45 years in Stratford, Ontario, some of which led to him reprising those performances on film. It was his narration of a 1960 documentary that got the attention of 2001 director Stanley Kubrick, who hired him to provide narration, an element that was eventually jettisoned before the movie’s release. Kubrick had, in fact, initially hired American actor Martin Balsam to voice HAL, but felt that Balsam’s performance was perhaps too emotional for the ship’s computer. Mr. Rain was enlisted to replace all of HAL’s lines in ten hours of marathon recording sessions in late 1967, long after shooting had wrapped; he claimed never to have seen the final result.

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