Dick Gautier, Get Smart's Hymie the Robot and voice of Serpentor, passes away at 85



Dick Gautier, known to millions as Hymie the Robot on "Get Smart" and as the voice of Serpentor on the classic "G.I. Joe" cartoons, passed away Friday at 85.

The actor was remembered by G.I. Joe writer Buzz Dixon, who penned many episodes of the classic 80s series. On his Facebook page, Dixon talked about the often-cheesy dialogue the cartoon required, and how Gautier handled it. "Dick Gautier was a tremendously talented actor with a long and storied career. While I cringe at some of the things that came out of Serpentor's mouth, it was because I was not allowed to rewrite the dialog to be better suited for him, not because he wasn't giving an absolutely 100% professional effort to deliver a line not originally imagined for his voice. RIP."

Gautier is also known to Transformers fans as the voice of Rodimus Prime and Hot Rod.

Gautier even made a brief appearance as Batman in this PSA for equal pay in the early 1970s.


The Hollywood Reporter provided more details about his career.
Gautier, who started his career as a stand-up comic, received a Tony nomination for playing Conrad Birdie, the character based on Elvis Presley, in the memorable, original 1960 production of Bye, Bye Birdie, starring Dick Van Dyke.

The handsome actor appeared as Hymie on just six episodes of Get Smart over four seasons, yet he was one of the spy spoof's most popular characters.

"When I met with the powers that be, I told them that when I was a kid in Canada I saw a man in a storefront window acting like a manikin to drum up business," he said in 2013. "If you could make him smile, you’d get $10. So, I tried, but not by acting crazy — I merely imitated his movements. I didn’t win the $10, but I got the part of Hymie, which was a little better."

Eventually, Max picked Hymie to be his best man for his wedding with Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), and Gautier returned as the robot for a 1989 Get Smart TV movie.

Gautier was a veteran stand-up performer and working at The Blue Angel nightclub in New York as an opener for headliner and singer Margaret Whiting when he was spotted by Bye, Bye Birdie director Gower Champion and Charles Strouse, who did the music for the production.

Gautier was born on Oct. 30, 1931, in Culver City, and his father, a French-Canadian, worked as a grip at MGM. He spent some time growing up in Montreal and sang and did a comedy act with a band that wound up on a local TV show in L.A.

The charming Gautier played clubs all over the country and for a time toured with the folk act The Kingston Trio. When he was looking for material for an act in Las Vegas, he paid Jay Leno and David Letterman $100 an hour to write jokes for him, he said in the chat with Nesteroff.

Gautier appeared in a guest stint on The Patty Duke Show and was in the Joshua Logan-directed Ensign Pulver (1964), and he had regular roles on the short-lived series Mr. Terrific and Here We Go Again, starring Larry Hagman. He also played an amorous sportscaster on an episode The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Gautier also appeared in such films as Divorce American Style (1967) — playing Van Dyke's attorney — Fun With Dick and Jane (1977) and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977) and on TV shows like Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Silk Stalkings and Nip/Tuck.

Starting in the mid-1980s, Gautier worked often as a voice actor, heard on such shows as Galtar and the Golden Lance, G.I. Joe, The Transformers, The New Yogi Bear Show and The Addams Family.
An accomplished artist, Gautier also wrote and illustrated several books about drawing and how to become a cartoonist.

"Cartooning has been my hobby, my therapy, a delicious pastime and on occasion my salvation — it got me through some tight financial spots when I was a struggling actor," he wrote in the introduction to his 1989 book, The Creative Cartoonist.

In addition to Denise, survivors include his former wife Tess; daughter Chris and son Rand; grandchildren Darby, Brandon, Megan and Elisa; and great-grandchildren Reya, Bella, Odette, Jade and Avery.
Our condolences and prayers are with the Gautier family. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Gautier.

 

Victor Medina is a freelance writer based in Dallas. He is the editor of several websites, and his writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, Cinelinx.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at vic@victormedina.com.

Next
Previous
Click here for Comments

0 comments: