Richard J. May
September 21, 1940
|Died||April 8, 2020 (aged 79)|
|Alma mater||St. Olaf College|
|Occupation||Voice actor, teacher, theatre actor|
Richard J. May (September 21, 1940 – April 8, 2020) was a Canadian-American voice actor and theatrical performer, director, and teacher from Seattle, Washington. May provided the English-language voice for Peppy Hare and Andross in Star Fox 64, the Soldier in Team Fortress 2, and Dr. M in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, among other video game characters. He also played Inspector Lestrade in the long running radio show The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from 1998 through 2020.
May served in the U.S. military and was stationed in Japan, where he coordinated USO shows in Tokyo. May returned to the Seattle area to serve as the director of the Renton Civic Theatre and Civic Light Opera in Renton, Washington. In one production of the Cotton Patch Gospel in Renton, May played all 21 roles with a variety of voices. He retired from the Renton Civic Theatre in 2001 to begin his own theater company in Kirkland, Washington, and become a full-time actor.
He began voice acting in video games in the late 1990s, including roles as Peppy Hare and Andross in Star Fox 64; various campaign characters, including Genghis Khan, in Age of Empires II; and the Soldier in Team Fortress 2.
From 1998 through 2020, Rick May played Inspector Lestrade in the Imagination Theatre radio series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He also played Lestrade in the related radio series The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and played various roles in other Imagination Theatre radio dramas. The last two episodes of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to feature May were recorded in late 2019, and were first broadcast in May 2020. Rick May played the role of Inspector Lestrade longer than any other actor in the history of broadcasting.
- Brutus (in Julius Caesar)
- Benjamin Franklin (in 1776)
- Tevye (in Fiddler on the Roof)
- Willy Loman (in Death of a Salesman)
- Alfred Doolittle (in Pygmalion)
- Theodore Roosevelt (in Bully!)
- King Henry II (in The Lion in Winter)
- Inspector Lestrade (on radio in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
- Peppy Hare and Andross - Star Fox 64
- Dr. M - Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
- The Soldier - Team Fortress 2
- Genghis Khan - Age of Empires II
- Dadfish and Marty Sardini in Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove.
- Wingnut in Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening.
May appeared in many scenes from the films such as:
- American Graffiti (1973) as Boy in the Car
- Frances (1982) as Policeman
- The Chocolate War (1988) as Doctor
- Child in the Night (1990, TV Movie) as Captain Hook
Death and legacy
May suffered a stroke in February 2020 and was moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. On April 8, 2020, it was reported that May had died due to complications related to COVID-19 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
On May 1, 2020, Valve released an update to Team Fortress 2 adding a tribute to May's voice work as the Soldier in the form of a new main menu theme titled "Saluting The Fallen" (a rendition of "Taps"), and locking the character image in the main menu to Soldier. The update also added statues of the Soldier saluting to most of the official in-game maps. These statues all featured a commemorative plaque dedicated to May, and remained in maps until June 1. The statues reappeared in the same locations on April 12, 2021. The statues emit a number of pre-selected voice lines from the Soldier when approached. On August 21, 2020, a permanent tribute memorial was placed, in the form of a Soldier statue, and heads on the fence in front of the statue of the Soldier, in the map "cp_granary", which is the setting of the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Soldier".
- Wright, Diane (September 14, 2005). "Stage chameleon tackles role of Teddy Roosevelt". The Seattle Times. p. H23. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- May, Rick. "Rick May". LinkedIn. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- West, Phil (December 11, 1992). "Gospel according to Renton Civic Theatre". The Seattle Times. p. 34.
- Giroux, Wendy (November 6, 2001). "Renton theater battles final curtain". King County Journal.
- Adcock, Joe (September 18, 2001). "Theater Beat: Empty Space to fill a new space—temporarily". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- "Rick May – In Memoriam". Rekindle School. April 8, 2020. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- "Video Games and Audio Dramas Meet at Imagination Theater". Imagination Theatre. January 23, 2020. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Albert, Larry (April 28, 2020). "Imagination Theatre News". Imagination Theatre. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- "Jim French's Imagination Theatre". KIXI. Hubbard Radio Seattle. 2020. Archived from the original on April 19, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- Albert, Larry (April 28, 2020). "Imagination Theatre News". Imagination Theatre. Retrieved July 23, 2020. See also the list of actors who have played Inspector Lestrade.
- "RICK MAY - IN MEMORIAM". Rekindle School - Classes in Seattle - and Online Classes. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- Chalk, Andy (April 13, 2020). "Rick May, voice of the Soldier in Team Fortress 2, has died". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Wilde, Tyler (May 2, 2020). "Rick May tribute added to Team Fortress 2". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
- TF2 Team (May 4, 2020). "A Hell of a Campaign". Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- TF2 Team (August 21, 2020). "Team Fortress 2 Update Released". Retrieved August 22, 2020.