Actor of stage and screen Douglas Rain died Sunday morning from natural causes in St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital outside Stratford, Ontario. He was 90.
If you don’t recognize Rain’s from his numerous roles on stage, you may recognize his voice as the sentient computer HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Born on March 13, 1928 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Rain began his career as a radio actor and then trained at Old Vic Theatre in London. He went on to become one of the trailblazing members of the Stratford Festival, a renowned repertory theatre festival based in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. In the 1953 inaugural season of the company, he played Marquis of Dorset and Tyrrell in William Shakespeare’s Richard III. He was the understudy for the title role of the play which was portrayed by Alec lec Guinness, who is best known for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy. Rain continued to perform in numerous Shakespearean plays at the Stratford Festival for 32 seasons. He made his final appearance in the Stratford Festival production of A Man For All Seasons in 1998.
In 1972, he and received a Tony Award nomination in 1972 for his role in Robert Bolt’s Vivat! Vivat Regina! which he appeared opposite Claire Bloom.
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright took to Twitter to remember Rain saying, “RIP Douglas Rain, the chillingly calm tones of HAL 9000 in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. One of the best performances in film, with just his voice.”
Rain continued his Shakespearean work with his roles in television and film. He appeared in TV movie versions of Twelfth Night (1964) and Henry V (1966). His career also included over a hundred film and television roles as well as voiceover work for the National Film Board of Canada.