William Dufris, who voiced the title character in the U.S. and Canadian version of the children’s series Bob the Builder for its first nine seasons, has died of cancer. He was 62. Pocket Universe Productions, which Dufris co-founded, confirmed the news on social media Tuesday but did not give details.
“There is a hole in a lot of people’s hearts right now.,” the company said in a tweet (see it below).
Born on February 1, 1958, in Houlton, ME, Dufris got his start in voice acting in London during his early 20s. He worked on audiobooks, language tapes and the like and also acted in BBC Radio plays opposite such stars as Helena Bonham-Carter, Kathleen Turner, Sharon Gless and Stockard Channing.
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He also voiced the Peter Parker character in director Dirk Maggs’ audio productions of Spider-Man, along with other productions including Judge Dredd and An American Werewolf in London. “A bright light has gone out in the world,” Maggs tweeted:
Dufris’ biggest role came in the dubbed North American version of the UK’s animated kids series Bob the Builder, voicing the busy title character for its first nine seasons. The show aired on Nick Jr. from 2001-04 and PBS Kids from 2005-18. It followed the daily routine of carpenter Bob and his trusty crew of building vehicles, including Scoop, Muck, Lofty and Dizzy, along with human partner Wendy and his cat Pilchard.
In each episode, the crew would be summoned to take on a big construction project, and upon getting their assignment, Bob would turn to his crew and ask, “Can we build it?” — to which his “staff” replied in unison, “Yes we can!” It became the series’ signature catchphrase.
Dufris also voiced Bob the Builder in a number of North American direct-to-video projects.
His other voice credits include the UK toon series Rocky and the Dodos and the English-dubbed versions of such animated features as Odin, Venus Wars and a pair of Lupin the Third pics.
Most recently, Dufris directed Pocket Universe Productions’ EC Comics Presents… The Vault of Horror! — an audio drama adaptation of the 1950s comic books.
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