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Canadian-born actor Douglas Rain is a veteran Shakespearean actor of both the stage and the screen, but will remain best known for voicing the talking computer known as HAL 9000, or simply "Hal," from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 sci-fi epic, "2001: A Space Odyssey." A graduate of the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta and an alum of London's classic Old Vic, Rain favored the stage over film and television, and when he did work for the screen it was often theater-based, from his role as Creon in "Oedipus Rex" in 1957 to that of Stephano in the BBC's 1968 version of "The Tempest." In 1964 Rain appeared in a TV version of "Twelfth Night," along with his former wife Martha Henry, and in 1966 he played the title role in a televised "Henry V." In the early 1960s, Rain began doing narration for a series of documentaries, all of which have been eclipsed by his voicing of a futuristic computer that will remain as Rain's legacy: as HAL, Rain provided Kubrick with an eerily disembodied rogue character, whose turning against the space-going astronauts he was supposed to serve presented audiences with one of the more disturbing moments in film history. In 1984, Rain returned to re-voice HAL for the Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller, "2010," a reunion with the character, but one without Kubrick.
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