Peter Fernandez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peter Fernandez
Fernandez in 2007
Born(1927-01-29)January 29, 1927
DiedJuly 15, 2010(2010-07-15) (aged 83)
  • Actor
  • voice director
  • writer
Years active1930s–2009
Noel Smith
(m. 1978)

Peter Fernandez (January 29, 1927 – July 15, 2010) was an American actor, voice director, and writer. Despite a career extending from the 1930s, he is probably best known for his roles in the 1967 anime Speed Racer. Fernandez co-wrote the scripts, was the voice director, and translated the English-language version of the theme song. He was instrumental in introducing many Japanese anime series to English-speaking audiences.[1][2][3] He is also the narrator in the audio version of It Looked Like Spilt Milk.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Manhattan, New York, one of three children to Pedro and Edna Fernandez. His two siblings were Edward and Jacqueline. He was of Cuban, Irish, and French descent. Fernandez was a child model for the John Robert Power Agency to support his family during the Great Depression. He then appeared on both radio and Broadway, appearing in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine in 1941.[4] He was drafted into the United States Army at age 18, late in World War II. His radio appearances included roles on Mr. District Attorney, Let's Pretend, Gangbusters, My Best Girls, Superman, and Suspense, as well as soap operas. After his discharge from the Army in 1946, he became a prolific writer for both radio and pulp fiction. He authored the children's book, Bedtime Stories from the Bible.[citation needed]

Fernandez is known for his voice work, and has been heard in English adaptions of many foreign films. Fernandez is best known as the American voice of the title character—and his brother, Racer X—in the 1967 anime series Speed Racer. Besides acting in Speed Racer, he was the lyricist of English version of that show's theme song. He returned in the 2008 animated series Speed Racer: The Next Generation to play a middle-aged Headmaster Spritle. In the live-action 2008 film Speed Racer, Fernandez had a small part as a racing announcer. The rapid-fire delivery of dialogue made famous by Speed Racer was devised by Fernandez and his American voice co-stars in order to make the dialogue jibe with the original Japanese mouth movements.[5]

He provided the voice for Benton Tarantella, a resurrected film director for Courage the Cowardly Dog, which he has said was his favorite. He made cameos credited as "additional characters" in several episodes, besides his role as the voice of Robot Randy. He was a voice director for Robert Mandell's Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers and Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. Additional voice acting credits include in such dubbed anime titles as Astro Boy, Gigantor, Marine Boy, Star Blazers and Superbook.[6]

In 2007, he was awarded The Special American Anime Award for Outstanding Achievement. Fernandez was interviewed in 2008 on his activities and voice over work.[7] His last major public appearance was at the 2009 Seattle, Washington Sakura-Con.

Personal life and death[edit]

Fernandez attending the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Speed Racer with his grandson

Fernandez lived in Pomona, New York with his wife, Noel Smith, whom he married in 1978; together they had three children.[8][9]

He died on July 15, 2010, after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 83.[10]



Japanese animation dubbing[edit]

American animation[edit]


Video games[edit]

Other works[edit]

  • Peter Absolute on the Erie Canal (Audio Book Serial)
  • Speed Racer (Theme Song Lyrics)
  • X-Minus One (Radio Series)
  • Baby Animals Just Want to Have Fun (VHS)
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Audio Book on Cassette and Disc)


Dialogue direction[edit]


Dubbing direction[edit]

  • Nattens engel (1998)

Voice direction[edit]



  1. ^ "'Speed Racer': drawing on an anime legend". Japan Times. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  2. ^ "'Americanizing' a cartoon classic". Japan Times. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  3. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (July 25, 2010). "Peter Fernandez dies at 83; helped bring Japanese animation to American audiences". LA Times. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "Watch on the Rhine". Internet Broadway Database.
  5. ^ "Peter Fernandez, voice of Speed Racer, dead at 83" Archived July 8, 2012, at,; July 15, 2010.
  6. ^ "Peter Fernandez: The Voice of SPEED RACER Dies July 15, 2010". EInsiders. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  7. ^ "Speed Racer Interview". Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  8. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (July 17, 2010). "Peter Fernandez, Voice of Speed Racer in the U.S., Dies at 83". The News York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  9. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. July 25, 2010.
  10. ^ "Speed Racer Voice Actor Peter Fernandez Passes Away (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  11. ^ "Return Laps for the First Voice of Speed Racer". New York Times. May 10, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2010.

External links[edit]