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January 22, 2009

'Danger, Will Robinson' — 'Lost in Space' Robot Bob May is Dead

"The man who wore the Robot's suit in the hit 1960's television show "Lost in Space" died on Sunday," begins today's Associated Press obituary, which follows.

Above, Bob May with Robot B9.

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Bob May, 69, Robot in 'Lost in Space'

Bob May, who wore the Robot’s suit in the hit 1960s television show “Lost in Space,” died on Sunday in Lancaster, Calif. He was 69.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Deborah May.

A veteran actor and stuntman who had appeared in movies and television shows and on the vaudeville stage, Mr. May was chosen by Irwin Allen, creator of “Lost in Space,” to play the Robinson family’s loyal metal sidekick in the series, a space-age retelling of “The Swiss Family Robinson,” which made its debut in 1965.

“He always said he got the job because he fit in the robot suit,” said the actress June Lockhart, who played the marooned family’s matriarch, Maureen Robinson.

Although Mr. May did not provide the Robot’s distinctive voice (supplied by the announcer Dick Tufeld), he developed a following of fans who sought him out at memorabilia shows.

As the Robot, Mr. May dutifully warned the Robinson family of approaching disaster. His line to one of the children, “Danger, Will Robinson,” became a national catchphrase.

The grandson of the famed vaudeville comedian Chic Johnson, Mr. May began appearing at the age of 2 in the “Hellzapoppin” comedy revue with Mr. Johnson and his partner, Ole Olsen.

Mr. May’s survivors include his wife Judith; his daughter; his son, Martin; and four grandchildren. Mr. May and his wife lost their house in November when a wildfire destroyed their upscale mobile home park in the San Fernando Valley.

Because the Robot’s suit was hard to get into and out of, Ms. Lockhart said, Mr. May stayed in it for hours at a time. He learned the lines of every actor in the show so he would know when to respond to their cues.

January 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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Comments

I guess god needed a guy who wore a robot suit.

Posted by: Rocketboy | Jan 23, 2009 12:23:39 AM

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