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Douglas Rain, who voiced HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies at 90

His disturbingly calm delivery of, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that" is one of film history's most iconic lines.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
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Douglas Rain was best known as HAL 9000.

Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Actor Douglas Rain, who voiced the murderous computer, HAL 9000, in the 1968 sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, died Sunday at age 90. 

The acclaimed Ontario-based Stratford Festival, of whose acting company Rain was a longtime member, honored him.

"Today we lost Douglas Rain, a member of our founding company and a hugely esteemed presence on our stages for 32 seasons," the company said in a tweet. "He will be greatly missed."

Rain died of natural causes, according to My Stratford Now, which also reports that he was survived by two sons, a daughter, a granddaughter and a daughter-in-law.

Born in Winnipeg, Rain studied at the Old Vic Theatre in London and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1972 for his role in the historical drama "Vivat! Vivat Regina!" on Broadway. In addition to his 32 seasons with the Stratford Festival, he starred in many television, film and radio roles.

But it's playing HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's critically acclaimed 2001: A Space Odyssey that Rain is best remembered. Though he wasn't onscreen, his disturbingly calm voice reciting such lines as "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that" passed into pop-culture legend. HAL 9000 was ranked as the 13th greatest movie villain of all time by the American Film Institute. 

Rain reprised the role in the 1984 sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact.