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July 13, 2012

Dick Tufeld, Renowned Announcer and Voice Performer for Five Decades

Tufeld's long list of credits included series, specials, animation and more — he is perhaps best known for providing the voice of the robot in the popular 1960s science-fiction series Lost in Space.

Dick Tufeld, an announcer and performer who gave voice to television networks, dozens of series and specials, and one of the medium’s most memorable characters, died January 22, 2012, in Studio City, California. He was 85.

In a career that spanned 50 years, Tufeld was one of the most prolific announcers in television. He also achieved pop-culture renown as the voice of the Rambler-Crane Series Robot in the 1960s’ science-fiction series Lost in Space, produced by Irwin Allen, in which he spoke such memorable lines as: “Warning, warning,” “Danger, Will Robinson!” and “It does not compute.”

Born in Los Angeles on December 11, 1926, Tufeld grew up in Pasadena and studied at the School of Speech at Northwestern University. In 1945, at L.A. radio station KLAC, he worked as an engineer for an entertainment gossip show hosted by Allen, who was a young literary agent at the time.

Tufeld’s deep, rich voice led to work as announcer of such radio programs as The Amazing Mr. Malone, Falstaff Fables and Space Patrol.

He segued into television in the medium’s early years, hosted his own show, The Dick Tufeld Sports Page and Focus on Los Angeles for local station KABC.

When Space Patrol came to TV in 1953, Tufeld remained with the show. Other early credits included Annie Oakley, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Surfside Six and The Gallant Men. Then came four series produced by his former radio colleague, Irwin Allen: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space and The Fantastic Four.

Over the ensuing years he announced or narrated many other productions, including Bugs Bunny cartoons, The Jetsons, Peyton Place, Zorro, Get Smart, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Simpsons, as well as numerous Primetime Emmys and Grammy Awards ceremonies and variety series and specials for Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Julie Andrews, Red Skelton, Rodney Dangerfield, Tom Jones and other stars.

In addition, Tufeld was the voice of ABC daytime television and Disney television for 30 years, and he made hundreds of commercials.

Survivors include a brother, two sons, two daughters Lynn and six grandchildren.

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