Douglas Rain, the voice of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000, has died aged 90


Actor Douglas Rain, who provided the quietly sinister voice of HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at the age of 90.

The Canadian star passed away on Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital near Stratford, Ontario, it has been confirmed.

The celebrated star began his career by training at London’s Old Vic theatre and later won acclaim for his roles in a variety of different Shakespeare plays.

But his most recognised role came as the voice of HAL 2000 in 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the 1984 sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

In the film, Rain’s soothing voice is initially seen as a welcome comfort to Keir Dullea’s Cmdr.David Bowman, before things later take a sinister turn.

Although Rain rarely discussed his work, Dullea previously described his turn in the sci-fi classic as “perfect.”

“He’s the main character of the film as far as I’m concerned,” Dullea said in a 2016 interview. “It was brilliant casting. Something about his voice, it was perfect. It was unusual.”

Rain was married to veteran Canadian actress Martha Henry, before the pair’s eventual divorce. He is survived by sons David and Adam and granddaughter Salima.

Paying tribute, the director of Canada’s Stratford Theatre Festival described Rain as one of Canada’s “greatest talents”.

“Canadian theater has lost one of its greatest talents and a guiding light in its development,” director Antoni Cimolino said.

“”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 humor.”