As reported by Deadilne, actor, musician, and voice actor Robert Axelrod—best known for providing the voices of both Lord Zedd and Finister on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers—has died. No cause of death has been given, but his agent shared a statement on Twitter confirming the news and referring to Axelrod as a “wonderful soul whose charismatic personality lit up a room.”
Axelrod was born in New York in 1949, and he first began working in commercials before appearing in off-Broadway shows as a teenager. He tried his hand at becoming a musician in the ‘70s, but by the ‘80s he had mostly transitioned to working full-time as a voice actor. His voice acting career was quickly prolific, to the point where it’s somewhat hard to actually interpret his iMDB page chronologically since he was quickly appearing in so many English dubs of foreign-produced cartoons that had been released earlier. Either way, over the course of a decade or so Axelrod provided voices for some Lupin The 3rd stories, a cartoon about koalas called Noozles, Robotech, Akira, and Swan Lake, not to mention live-action roles like The New Leave It To Beaver, Hunter, Amazing Stories, and—in his most famous role that isn’t a voice—The Blob.
In the early ‘90s, Axelrod made the first of well over 100 appearances in the Power Rangers franchise, first playing villainous lackey Finster before displacing initial baddie Rita Repulsa as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ true big bad Lord Zedd. Axelrod did Zedd’s voice throughout the original Power Rangers series, as well as the first Power Rangers movie, the Power Rangers: Live stage show, and some of the subsequent Power Rangers shows that featured cameo appearances from Zedd.
After that, Axelrod provided voices for several Digimon shows (most often playing Armadillomon) and played virtual cult leader Dr. Londez in a memorably spooky episode of Cowboy Bebop. In more recent years, Axelrod made a few rare live-action appearances in the Tim & Eric family of shows, specifically with a recurring role as Terry Bruge-Hiplo in Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule.
Deadline notes that Axelrod’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses of a memorial service.