Remembering Two SciFi/Fantasy Legends

They were not directly related to Star Trek, but we still would like to cite the recent passing of two notable scifi / fantasy figures —

Stan Lee in 2014 Photo by Gage Skidmore

STAN LEE (December 28, 1922 — November 12, 2018) No, Stan Lee did not invent comic books, or the comic book superhero.  However, it could be strongly argued that Lee spent the majority of his life REinventing them.  Over his decades-long career, Lee helped turn Marvel Comics from a small publishing house division into a multimedia giant that has dominated its industry.  Working with other writers and artists — Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in particular — Lee helped to create and pioneer a new breed of superheroes with a more natural, true-to-life style — Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Mighty Thor, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther and Doctor Strange, to name several.  In his later years, Lee assumed the role of publisher and worked to develop his properties for TV and films, often making cameo appearances in Marvel-related movies.  Recently, Lee had been battling pneumonia, and he died on November 12, aged 95.  He joins Joan, his wife of 69 years, who died last year, also aged 95.

Douglas Rain

DOUGLAS RAIN (March 13, 1928 — November 11, 2018) Back in the mid-1960’s, British film director Stanley Kubrick needed a voice actor for a film project he was wrapping up.  During rehearsals, actress Stefanie Powers was asked to voice the part for Kubrick’s actors.  On the set, the director first went with actor Nigel Davenport, but later dropped him — too British.  In post-production, Kubrick first tried actor Martin Balsam, but dropped him as well — too American.  Kubrick finally settled upon a Canadian stage actor, Douglas Rain, feeling that he “had the kind of bland mid-Atlantic accent we felt was right for the part.”  The part, by the way, was the HAL 9000 computer in 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Rain was only given HAL’s lines instead of the full script, and he spent a day and a half recording them.  Rain later reprised HAL’s voice for the film’s sequel, 1984’s 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  Rain died on November 11 of natural causes, aged 90.