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Rick May

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Rick May
Born(1940-09-21)September 21, 1940
DiedApril 8, 2020(2020-04-08) (aged 79)
Alma materSt. Olaf College
  • Actor
  • voice actor
  • theatrical performer
  • director
  • teacher
Years active1973–2020

Rick May (September 21, 1940 – April 8, 2020) was a Canadian-American actor, theatrical performer, director, and teacher.[1][2][3] 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.

Early life[edit]

May was born on September 21, 1940.[3] He was raised in Washington and Canada.[2] May attended Roosevelt High School in Seattle and St. Olaf College (class of 1962) in Northfield, Minnesota.[4][5]


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.[2] In one production of the Cotton Patch Gospel in Renton, May played all 21 roles with a variety of voices.[6] He retired from the Renton Civic Theatre in 2001 to begin his own theater company in Kirkland, Washington, and become a full-time actor.[7][8]

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.[9]

From 1998 through 2020, 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.[10] The last two episodes of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to feature May were recorded in late 2019,[11] and were first broadcast in May 2020.[12] May played the role of Inspector Lestrade longer than any other actor in the history of broadcasting.[11]

Death and tributes[edit]

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 from complications related to COVID-19 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.[9][13]

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 8, 2021, 2022, 2023, and currently 2024.[14][15] The statues emit a number of pre-selected voice lines from the Soldier when approached.[15] 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 "Granary", which is the setting of the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Soldier".[16]

Many players in the community paid tribute to May's death in-game, where emotes and voice lines were played commemorating him. On some servers, a truce was called for both sides to pay tribute to the actor, and 21-gun salutes were fired on the map 2Fort.[17][18] Additionally, numerous animated shorts in Source Filmmaker were created and uploaded by the Team Fortress 2 community in honor of May.[19]



Year Title Role
1973 American Graffiti Boy in the car
1982 Frances Policeman
1988 The Chocolate War Doctor
1990 Child in the Night Captain Hook

Video games[edit]

His voice-overs include:[9]

Year Title Role
1997 Star Fox 64[9] Peppy Hare, Andross
1999 Age of Empires II Genghis Khan
2001 Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove Marty Sardini, Dadfish
2005 Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves Dr. M
2007 Team Fortress 2 The Soldier


May performed in numerous roles throughout his theatrical career, including:[2][9]


  1. ^ a b "Rick May: A Presence on Stage & Screen". 2006-08-22. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
  2. ^ a b c d Wright, Diane (September 14, 2005). "Stage chameleon tackles role of Teddy Roosevelt". The Seattle Times. p. H23. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Rick May at IMDb
  4. ^ May, Rick. "Rick May". LinkedIn. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  5. ^ St. Olaf Magazine, St. Olaf College, volume 67, number 3, Fall 2020, page 44.
  6. ^ West, Phil (December 11, 1992). "Gospel according to Renton Civic Theatre". The Seattle Times. p. 34.
  7. ^ Giroux, Wendy (November 6, 2001). "Renton theater battles final curtain". King County Journal.
  8. ^ Adcock, Joe (September 18, 2001). "Theater Beat: Empty Space to fill a new space—temporarily". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Rick May – In Memoriam". Rekindle School. April 8, 2020. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ a b Albert, Larry (April 28, 2020). "Imagination Theatre News". Imagination Theatre. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  12. ^ "Jim French's Imagination Theatre". KIXI. Hubbard Radio Seattle. 2020. Archived from the original on April 19, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b TF2 Team (May 4, 2020). "A Hell of a Campaign". Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ TF2 Team (August 21, 2020). "Team Fortress 2 Update Released". Retrieved August 22, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Contributor, Natalie Clayton; Clayton, Natalie (2020-05-02). "Tributes to Soldier voice actor Rick May appear across Team Fortress 2". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2024-03-06. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  18. ^ "Team Fortress 2 Update Adds Tribute To Late Voice Actor Rick May". GameSpot. Retrieved 2024-03-06.
  19. ^ Moore, Logan (2020-04-14). "Team Fortress 2 Players Pay Tribute to Rick May In-Game". DualShockers. Retrieved 2024-03-06.

External links[edit]