The voice of “Speed Racer,” Peter Fernandez, died July 15 in Pomona, N.Y., of lung cancer. He was 83.
Fernandez voiced the title character in the iconic cartoon and also played several other parts including Racer X and the villain in the English-lingo version of the 1967 toon. He also had a part in Warner Bros.’ 2008 bigscreen remake.
Fernandez started as a child star at age 7 in radio show “City Across the River,” said Corinne Orr, a former co-star and friend for 40 years. He segued to Broadway at age 11 where he worked on six shows including 1938’s “Whiteoaks,” in which he toured with Ethel Barrymore, said his wife, Noel.
After a stint in the Army during World War II he began dubbing foreign films for English audiences. His wife said he storyboarded, wrote, directed, cast and sometimes voiced the parts. That led to cartoon work including Tatsuo Yoshida’s “Speed Racer.” Orr, who played Trixie in some 200 toons, called Fernandez “a brilliant director and wonderful writer.”
“We made no money, but we had a huge cult following,” she said. The pair frequently went to “Speed Racer” conventions around the country and were especially busy the year the film came out.
Other toons he worked on include “Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster,” “Ultraman” and “Dogs of Hell.” His last outing in a career that spanned more than four decades was “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”
Besides wife Noel, survivors include two daughters, a son and nine grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Wildlife Federation.