As confirmed by Variety, actor Dick Gautier—best known for his work on Get Smart and in the original production of Bye, Bye Birdie—has died following a battle with pneumonia. Gautier was 85.
Born in Culver City, California in 1931, Gautier started his show business career on stage, performing as a comedian and singer in nightclubs. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began to seriously pursue a career in acting. In 1960, he appeared in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie alongside Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, and Paul Lynde; Gautier originated the role of fictional rock ‘n’ roll star Conrad Birdie and earned a Tony nomination for his work on the show.
Gautier began working in TV shortly after that, appearing in The Eleventh Hour, Mr. Terrific, and The Flying Nun. But one of his most memorable roles came in 1966 when he first appeared as Hymie The Robot on Get Smart. As Deadline notes, Gautier’s deadpan delivery as the robot made him a “memorable fan favorite,” even though he only appeared in six episodes.
He continued with regular TV gigs throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, with credits on Here We Go Again, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, When Things Were Rotten (on which he played Robin Hood), The Love Boat, Happy Days, and Fantasy Island. By the ‘80s and ‘90s, Gautier started to transition to voice acting roles, with minor appearances on Jonny Quest, Galtar And The Golden Lance, and G.I. Joe (where he played supreme snake-themed villain Serpentor). Gautier also provided the voice of Rodimus Prime in the latter years of the original Transformers cartoon, taking over the role Judd Nelson played in Transformers: The Movie.
Gautier is survived by his two daughters, his four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.