Rick May, an actor with a small but illustrious list of video game critics, has died. According to an obituary posted by Rekindle School, where he worked as a teacher until recently, May suffered a stroke in February, and contracted COVID-19 while staying in a nursing home for rehabilitation. He was 79 years old.
May had eight video games listed among his IMDB credits, including the role of Genghis Khan in Age of Empires II and the Soldier in Team Fortress 2 (including all related animated shorts). He also appeared in Pajama Sam 2, Freddi Fish 5, SOCOM II, and Claw.
But his most iconic role was one that spawned a strange meme. Rick May played Peppy Hare, the oldest team member and mentor figure in Star Fox 64. Rick May was the one who told players exactly when it was time to “do a barrel roll”–a rare example of voice acting on the Nintendo 64, and a line that would go on to be one of the most iconic in games.
Outside of games, Rick May was a major figure in the world of theater in Seattle. According to Rekindle School, he acted in or directed over 300 productions during his career. Beyond that, he also had an uncredited role in American Graffiti, the second film by Star Wars director George Lucas.
In tribute to Rick May, today’s a good day to go to Google and type “do a barrel roll” into the search bar and enjoy a classic Google Easter egg.
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