Douglas Rain

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Douglas Rain
Rain in Stratford, Ontario in 1968
Douglas James Rain

(1928-03-13)March 13, 1928
DiedNovember 11, 2018(2018-11-11) (aged 90)
Alma materUniversity of Manitoba
Banff School of Fine Arts
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Known forVoice of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Spouse(s)Lois Shaw
Martha Henry
AwardsDora Mavor Moore Award

Douglas James Rain (March 13, 1928 – November 11, 2018) was a Canadian actor and narrator. Though primarily a stage actor, he provided the voice of the HAL 9000 computer for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and its sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984).

Early Life[edit]

Rain was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the son of Mary, a nurse, and James Rain, a rail yard switchman. His parents were from Glasgow, Scotland.[1]


He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1950,[2] then studied acting at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Banff, Alberta, and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. He was a founding member of the Stratford Festival of Canada in 1953 and was associated with it as a stage actor until 1998.[3]

He performed in a wide variety of theatrical roles, such as a production of Henry V staged in Stratford, Ontario, that was adapted for television in 1966.[4][5] In 1972, Rain was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for his performance in Vivat! Vivat Regina![6]

Voice of the HAL 9000 computer[edit]

Initially Kubrick decided to cast Rain as the voice of the HAL 9000 computer for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) after hearing his narration of a short documentary called Universe and later chose him as "the creepy voice of HAL".[7] He would reprise his role for the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984).


Rain died on November 11, 2018, at the age of 90 at St. Mary's Memorial Hospital in Stratford, Ontario, of natural causes.[8][9] He left three children and a grandchild behind.[10]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "University of Manitoba: Archives & Special Collections". University of Manitoba. December 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Pulver, Andrew (November 12, 2018). "Douglas Rain, voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies aged 90". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Profile, Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia website; accessed August 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Douglas Rain acting credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Voice of 2001: A Space Odyssey's Hal dies". BBC News. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Johnson, Alex (November 12, 2018). "Douglas Rain, the creepy voice of HAL in '2001,' dies at 90". NBC News. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Gray, Andy. "Stratford Festival Founder Dies". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Douglas Rain, Voice of HAL 9000 in '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Dies at 90". Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Voice actor HAL 9000 has passed away". Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Ohayon, Albert. "The 1960s: An Explosion of Creativity". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved November 10, 2011.

External links[edit]