Douglas Rain

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

(1928-03-13)March 13, 1928
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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. Although 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]

Kubrick 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 titled Universe and later chose him as "the creepy voice of HAL".[7] In the film his voice was also sometimes processed with an electronic device called the Eltro information rate changer. He reprised his role for the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984). He also briefly parodied this role in Woody Allen's film Sleeper.


Rain died on November 11, 2018 at the age of 90 at St. Mary's Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, 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.

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