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Actor Douglas Rain, Voice Of HAL In '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Dies At 90

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Fifty years ago, long before Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa, computers did not talk. But for the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," director Stanley Kubrick needed to create one that could.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

He found the voice in the Canadian actor Douglas Rain.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY")

DOUGLAS RAIN: (As HAL 9000) I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

SHAPIRO: Douglas Rain died yesterday at the age of 90.

CHANG: He had a long, varied career, but today most remembrances focus on the life he gave to the space-traveling computer maintenance system that develops a murderous glitch. When the last surviving astronaut plots to shut the renegade computer down, HAL becomes wise to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY")

RAIN: (As HAL 9000) This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

SHAPIRO: HAL might be Douglas Rain's most famous role, but the actor devoted most of his career to the stage and Shakespeare. He performed for decades with the Stratford Festival in Ontario.

CHANG: Its artistic director, Antoni Cimolino, says Rain had much in common with HAL - precision, strength of steel, enigma and infinite intelligence as well as a wicked sense of humor. But he says Rain also had warmth and humanity.

SHAPIRO: Actor Douglas Rain died yesterday morning at the age of 90. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.