An influential voice in British science fiction has gone silent. Stephen Moore — who played Marvin the Paranoid Android in the BBC’s classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio show and later starred in Doctor Who’s fifth series — has passed away at the age of 81, according to Variety.
As Marvin, Moore’s vocal work on Hitchhiker’s Guide brought a dour humanity to the depressed, super-intelligent android’s metallic drone. Moore stepped into the role at the very outset of the radio show’s 1978 debut on BBC Radio, and remained aboard as the ship’s robot on the Heart of Gold through five seasons.
Along with the show as a whole, Marvin became entrenched in the pop culture consciousness of a generation of British sci-fi fans who followed Hitchhiker’s Guide. Marvin the Paranoid Android reportedly even served as the inspiration for Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” which released as a single on the band’s future-dystopian OK Computer album in 1997. Moore also voiced numerous smaller roles on the radio series — including Gag Halfrunt, Frankie Mouse, and the ruler of the universe, according to Variety.
Moore held a key part in Series 5 of Doctor Who, playing Eldane, a benevolent Silurian who attempted to broker peace between humans and the ancient reptilian race. In a two-episode story arc that pitted the two species against one another, Eldane (whose 2010 appearance came in "The Hungry Earth" and “Cold Blood" episodes) took the extreme measure of putting members of his own species into stasis for a thousand years, in order to protect and prepare humanity for the Salurians’ eventual re-emergence on the Earth’s surface.
Hitchhiker's Guide producer Dirk Maggs confirmed Moore’s passing to the press on Sunday, describing his colleague as the “most sweet, charming and affable of men” and gifted actor who enjoyed “an amazing, varied career,” according to BBC.