Rick May, Voice of Team Fortress 2’s Soldier and Star Fox’s Peppy, Passed Away
It’s a grim day for the gaming world as voice actor Rick May, who is best known for his roles in Team Fortress 2 as Soldier and Star Fox 64 as Peppy Hare and Andross, has passed away at age 79. His passing came shortly after contracting COVID-19.
Rick May has been rehabbing in a nursing home after suffering from a stroke in February. Unfortunately, he caught COVID-19 while at the nursing home. He was then moved to the Seattle Swedish Hospital where he received care until his passing.
His career has spanned nearly five decades, with the infamous “Do a barrel roll” line being one of the most infamous lines to have ever been said in a game. Apart from his two notable roles, he also played the main antagonist, Dr M., in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves as well as the narrator in Age of Empires 2.
Apart from video games, Rick May has also appeared in over 300 shows across a variety of genres, and is also the long-time artistic director of the Renton Civic Theatre and Civic Light Opera in Washington state.
Tribute to Rick May
I met him over thirty years ago and while we weren’t the socializing type of pals we always enjoyed running into each other at a gig or audition. Every recording session with him was always laugh-filled. Yet when the lights went down or the engineer said, “rolling” he was the consummate professional. He worked hard to get it right and we could always depend on him to deliver.
In talking with his wife Diana I found out that he loved the sessions, the camaraderie, the give and take during the rehearsals and actual recording. Whenever one of his shows aired he would listen, as do I to mine. However, Rick would listen to the ones he’d had no part in and write to say, “Wasn’t so and so great!” or “Man, that was a fantastic script!” I would always send him a copy of the finished product.
Rick May was a force of nature, a pain in the ass sometimes but never to the point where I would not use him again and again. We were working friends, colleagues and buddies. Hopefully there will be those who will speak of his years in the theater, as a teacher, a director and voice talent, of his one-man show as Teddy Roosevelt. I knew the man who asked me if I could get him a copy of an old Republic Studios serial cliffhanger “The Phantom Rider” if he got me an autograph from his friend Ty Hardin from the old “Bronco” TV series.
I knew the man who along with Frank Buxton and David Selvig stood and applauded my daughter Andee when I introduced her to the audience at the Kirkland Performance Center for what would be her first appearance as a professional actor.
I knew the man who was always encouraging when I had my bout with cancer.
I knew the man whose passing leaves a huge hole in my heart and I believe so many others.
If you head around the internet, you’ll see plenty of other tributes dedicated to the memory of Rick May. It’s a dark day not just for the gaming industry, and he will indeed be missed.
Pokdepinion: The pandemic has claimed yet another victim. Rest in peace, Rick May. You’ve given gamers from all parts of the world some good memories.