Douglas Rain, the voice of HAL


Sir, – Thank you for publishing your article on the death of our father Douglas Rain in The Irish Times (“Actor Douglas Rain dies aged 90”, News, November 13th).

You have mentioned that his voice was heard as HAL the computer in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is correct.

You have also mentioned that his voice was heard as the computer in the 1973 film Sleeper. We believe this to be incorrect information. He never spoke of this to any family members or close friends, and for those of us that know his voice, well, that is not Douglas Rain speaking but another actor doing an attempted imitation of HAL’s voice.

We would kindly request that you set the record straight.

We are aware that there are thousands, perhaps millions of online references to him being the computer voice in Sleeper. However, there is no original source for this belief that we can find, but we do admit it does make a very nice story.

If we, and others who knew his voice, are wrong, we would certainly like to know that, but only with solid proof that this was indeed his voice, of which we have found no evidence anywhere, as yet. – Yours, etc,