Douglas Rain, Stratford Festival actor and voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies at 90
Douglas Rain passed away Sunday morning at the age of 90.
The actor, one of the pioneers of the Stratford Festival, is best known for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Rain was the voice of the sentient computer HAL.
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.
Over the course of his career Rain spent 32 seasons in Stratford.
His final Festival production was "A Man for All Seasons" in 1998.
Rain’s career also included more than a hundred television and film roles, voicework and radio plays.
The Stratford Festival announced his death in a press release Sunday, saying Rain died of natural causes in St. Marys.
“Canadian theatre has lost one of its greatest talents and a guiding light in its development,” said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino in the release. “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 humour. But those of us lucky enough to have worked with Douglas soon solved his riddle and discovered that at the centre 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.”