Douglas Rain, the voice actor who played the role of the HAL 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 Film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” has died at the age of 90. The Canadian stage actor passed away from natural causes in an Ontario hospital.

Rain spent nine-and-a-half hours recording the voiceover for the HAL 9000 computer in the film [VIDEO], including the famous words in the videos below. He also sang several versions of the song “Daisy Bell” as the computer was disconnected.

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Voice actor Douglas Rain dies

Douglas Rain passed away on Monday morning in an Ontario hospital at the age of 90 from natural causes. The voice actor was best known for his role in film [VIDEO] as the HAL 9000 computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However, he had previously provided the voiceover for a Canadian science documentary “Universe” in 1960.

Stanley Kubrick heard Rain’s voice in that documentary and according to The Guardian, watched it around 100 times. Kubrick was so impressed by the actor’s voice he hired him for his new sci-fi film project.

Reportedly Kubrick had initially hired Martin Balsam to play the voice role in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but once he heard Rain, he scrapped the idea, saying at the time that Balsam sounded too “colloquially American,” while Rain had the sort of bland, mid-Atlantic accent they believed was right for the voice role. As reported by the BBC, Kubrick also considered actor Nigel Davenport for the voice role, but later decided he didn’t want a British accent in the role.

The BBC notes that actor Anthony Hopkins was influenced by Rain’s voice role as HAL in his performance as Hannibal Lecter in the film “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Douglas Rain and his stage acting career

The Guardian reports that Rain was born in 1928 in Winnipeg, Canada and in 1950 won a scholarship at the Bristol Old Vic to study acting.

However, he said later that he didn’t enjoy the “stagnant atmosphere” in both the acting school and the English theatre as a whole, adding that England had lost the “true essence of theatre.”

In 1953, Rain returned home to Canada and was involved in the Stratford Festival Company, of which he was a founding member. He acted in the festival for more than 40 years until 1998. Rain later received a nomination for a Tony award for his 1972 role in Robert Bolt’s “Vivat! Vivat Regina!”

No film acting for Douglas Rain

While his voice role in “2001: A Space Odyssey” as HAL 9000 received critical applause, Rain never had a live acting role in a feature film.

He said this was likely due to his reputation as a classical stage actor and that while he wanted to act in films, no one ever approached him.