Actor Peter Fernandez, the American voice of the title character -- and his brother, Racer X -- in the 1967 anime series Speed Racer,died Thursday morning after a long bout of cancer.
The resident of Pomona, in Rockland County, New York, was 83.
His death was announced by voice actress Corinne Orr, who co-starred with him in the famed Japanese import as the voices of Mom Racer, Spritle and Trixie.
Besides acting in Speed Racer, he was the composer 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.
Also in anime, he provided the speaking voice of the title character -- without credit -- in the English-language dub of the 1961 film Alakazam the Great.
For the 1963 series Gigantor, he was the voice of Buttons Brilliant and -- from Episode 3 onward -- of Dick Strong.
He portrayed Mark Venture in Episodes 53 to 78 of the 1979 anime series Star Blazers.
Fernandez was in the voice cast of the TV shows Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1996) and Kenny the Shark (2003). He guested on three episodes of the 1999 animated series Courage the Cowardly Dog:as Benton Tarentella in "Everyone Wants to Direct" and "Angry Nasty People," and as the title character in "Robot Randy."
He wrote, directed and voiced the dubs of Marine Boy, Ultraman, The Space Giants, Inframan, A Fistful of Dollars, Mothra, and some of the Godzilla films. He recently served as the dialogue director for Courage the Cowardly Dog and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Born in New York on January 29, 1927, Fernandez began his career at age 7 as a model for the John Robert Powers Agency.
He had been a child and juvenile actor during the "Golden Age of Radio," most notably on the long-running children's series Let's Pretend. Other radio shows included Mr. District Attorney, Gangbusters, My Best Girls, The Adventures of Superman and Suspense, along with many soap operas. He was George Bigelow on The Aldrich Family and Jerry on The Sea Hound.
During his stint in the Broadway play Watch on the Rhine, the cast was invited to the White House to meet President Franklin Roosevelt. He also starred in City Across the River, a 1949 movie that marked the feature film debut of Tony Curtis (in a small role as "Anthony Curtis").
Peter Fernandez is survived by his wife since 1978, the former Noel Smith. His wife is an award-winning poet.
Although Fernandez's family is planning a private service, a public celebration of his life is planned in September in his hometown of Pomona.
Re: Peter Fernandez, voice of Speed Racer, dead at 83
[In reply to]
Peter Fernandez had been under the care of United Hospice of Rockland for some time, his family said.
In 2007, he won the American Anime Awards Outstanding Achievement Award in 2007 for his work in Speed Racer.
Besides his wife, he is survived by sister Jacqueline Hayes; brother Edward; two children from his first marriage, Peter of Virginia Beach, Virginia and April Fernandez of Allentown, Pennsylvania; stepdaughter Elizabeth McAlister of Middletown, Connecticut; and nine grandchildren. His marriage to Marion Russell ended in divorce.
(This post was edited by eminovitz on Jul 17, 2010, 2:50 PM)