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Walter Curnow is a fictional character in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series. He appears in the book and movie versions of 2010: Odyssey Two as the American engineer who designs Discovery and helps to build Discovery II to go back to Jupiter. When the joint Soviet-American mission on the Leonov is planned instead, Curnow is one of the three American experts to go on the trip, along with Heywood Floyd and Dr. Chandra.
Curnow is one of the first people to set foot on Discovery again, along with Maxim Brailovsky. Due to his engineering expertise, Discovery becomes operational again.
Curnow is described in the book as a large, bear-like man who is naturally loud and tends to be the life of the party. He is bisexual and briefly has a relationship with Brailovsky, until Heywood Floyd tells him to break it off for the sake of crewwoman Zenia Marchenko, who is in love with Max. Following his and Max's break-up Curnow becomes involved with Dr. Katerina Rudenko, whom he marries once they return to Earth.
Despite being younger than Heywood Floyd, Curnow apparently dies some time before 2061 - as does everyone on the Leonov except for Floyd and Zenia Marchenko.
In the 1984 film adaptation, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Curnow is played by the American actor John Lithgow. In the film, the character's extroverted nature is downplayed and his sexuality is never explored or even mentioned, though he and Max Brailovsky do become friends after working together.
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