As reported by Rekindle art school in Seattle (via Kotaku), acting teacher and video game voice actor Rick May—best known for playing Peppy Hare in Nintendo’s Star Fox games and the Soldier in Valve’s Team Fortress 2—has died. May had a stroke earlier this year and had been rehabilitating at a nursing home, but while there he caught the coronavirus and was moved to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, which is where is he later died. May was 79.
The Rekindle School post highlighted May’s long theatrical acting career, saying he “appeared in over 300 shows” and played characters like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman, Oscar in The Odd Couple, and—on more than one occasion—multiples roles in Cotton Patch Gospel. To the general public, though, he’ll be remembered for his iconic voice roles, playing the relatively grizzled space combat veteran Peppy in Star Fox 64 (giving him the iconic “Do a barrel roll!” line from the game’s first level) in addition to the villain Andross.
In Team Fortress 2, May helped bring personality to one of the game’s archetypal Soldier, bringing a surprising level of charm to a character that would otherwise just be largely defined by his helmet. May also played Genghis Khan in Age Of Empires II and provided voices for Sly 3 and S.O.C.O.M. II.
The Rekindle post, which has a link for anyone who’d like to send condolscnes to his family, mentions that he was a “wonderful teacher whose classes and students meant the world to him,” adding, “He’ll be deeply missed.”