Dick Tufeld, Voice of the “Lost in Space” Robot, Dies at 85
Dick Tufeld, who spent three decades as the voice for ABC daytime programming and achieved pop-culture status as the voice of the robot in 1960s series Lost in Space, died Jan. 22 at his home in Studio City. He was 85.
Tufeld served as the announcer for the cartoons Bugs Bunny and The Jetsons, announced 16 Grammy Awards and the Emmys and did voice work on such series as Peyton Place, Zorro, Get Smart, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, The Simpsons and producer Irwin Allen’s The Fantastic Four, The Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
However, it was another Allen series that made Tufeld’s voice beloved to millions — the campy 1965-68 CBS science-fiction series Lost in Space, which had Tufeld speaking for the B9 Robot with such monotone sayings as “Warning, warning,” “Danger, Will Robinson!” and “It does not compute.” (Bob May, the man in the robot suit, died in January 2009.)
Tufeld was raised in Pasadena and attended the School of Speech at Northwestern University. In 1945, he engineered a showbiz gossip program at Los Angeles radio station KLAC hosted by Allen, then a young literary agent.
With his deep, resonant voice, Tufeld soon found himself in front of the microphone announcing such radio programs as The Amazing Mr. Malone, Falstaff Fables and Space Patrol, which began with his turbulent narration: “Spaaaace Patrol! High adventure in the Wild West, vast reaches of space! Missions of danger in the name of interplanetary justice! Travel in the future with Buzz Corry, commander in chief of Spaaaace Patrol!”
Television work followed, including hosting The Dick Tufeld Sports Page and Focus on Los Angeles for affiliate KABC.
Later, Tufeld served as the announcer for variety shows hosted by the likes of Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Julie Andrews, Red Skelton, Rodney Dangerfield and Tom Jones and voiced hundreds of commercials. He also became great friends with jazz legend Miles Davis.
Survivors include his brother, Howard, sons Bruce and Craig, daughters Lynn and Melissa and grandchildren Jason, Amanda, Sammy, Tali, Aiden and Clara Rose. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Mount Sinai, Hollywood Hills.