Douglas Rain

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Douglas Rain
Rain in 1968
Douglas James Rain

(1928-05-09)May 9, 1928
DiedNovember 11, 2018(2018-11-11) (aged 90)
Alma materUniversity of Manitoba
Banff School of Fine Arts
Old Vic Theatre School
Occupation(s)Actor, voice actor
Known forVoice of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Spouse(s)Lois Shaw
Martha Henry
AwardsDora Mavor Moore Award

Douglas James Rain (May 9, 1928 – November 11, 2018) was a Canadian actor and narrator. Although primarily a stage actor, he is perhaps best known for his voicing of the HAL 9000 computer in 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, both from Glasgow, Scotland.[1]


Rain 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 Old Vic Theatre School in London, England.[3][4] He was a founding member of the Stratford Festival of Canada in 1953 and was associated with it as an actor until 1998.[5]

He performed a wide variety of theatrical roles, such as a production of Henry V staged in Stratford, Ontario, that was adapted for television in 1966.[6][7] In 1972, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for his performance in Vivat! Vivat Regina![8]

Voice of the HAL 9000 computer[edit]

Stanley 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".[9] In the film, his voice was also sometimes processed with an electronic device called the Eltro information rate changer.

Rain reprised the role for the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984). He also briefly parodied it in a sketch on Second City Television where Merv Griffin (played by Rick Moranis) takes his talk show into outer space.[10]

Personal life and death[edit]

Rain was married twice (first to Lois Shaw and then to Martha Henry, who is also an actress on stage, film and television) and had three children and a grandchild. He died on November 11, 2018, at the age of 90 at St. Mary's Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, Ontario of natural causes.[11][12] [13]



  1. ^ "Douglas Rain, Stratford actor who voiced HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies at 90". The Globe and Mail. November 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "University of Manitoba: Archives & Special Collections". University of Manitoba. December 8, 2018. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia - Rain, Douglas". Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  4. ^ Smith, Harrison (November 12, 2018). "Douglas Rain, Shakespearean actor who voiced HAL in 'Space Odyssey,' dies at 90". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ Pulver, Andrew (November 12, 2018). "Douglas Rain, voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies aged 90". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  6. ^ "Rain, Douglas". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "Douglas Rain acting credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Voice of 2001: A Space Odyssey's Hal dies". BBC News. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Johnson, Alex (November 12, 2018). "Douglas Rain, the creepy voice of HAL in '2001,' dies at 90". NBC News. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Programs: Merv Griffin Show". SCTV Guide.
  11. ^ Gray, Andy. "Stratford Festival Founder Dies". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Douglas Rain, Voice of HAL 9000 in '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  13. ^ "Voice actor HAL 9000 has passed away". November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  14. ^ Ohayon, Albert. "The 1960s: An Explosion of Creativity". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved November 10, 2011.

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