Radio and television stalwart Dick Tufeld, who was best known for his vocal work — including the voice of the robot in “Lost in Space” — died of natural causes on Sunday, Jan. 22, at his home in Studio City, Calif. He was 85.
Tufeld spent three decades as the voice for ABC daytime programming and did stints with the Grammy Awards and the Emmy Awards.
Tufeld launched his entertainment career in 1945 with a summer job at Los Angeles radio station KLAC. There he engineered a show business gossip program hosted by a young literary agent, Irwin Allen, beginning a long friendship and professional association with the television science fiction pioneer.
Tufeld, who sported a deep, resonant voice, found himself in front of the microphone within a few years, announcing “The Amazing Mr. Malone,” “Falstaff Fables” and “Space Patrol.”
He soon found work, including hosting “The Dick Tufeld Sports Page” and “Focus on Los Angeles” for KABC Los Angeles. He appeared, uncredited, on 16 episodes of the TV Western “Annie Oakley” in 1954, and he was the announcer for a couple of episodes of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” He announced 16 Grammy Awards shows and the Emmys.
Tufeld also served as the announcer for a host of variety shows starring Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Julie Andrews, Red Skelton, Rodney Dangerfield, Tom Jones and others, as well as for Warner Bros.’ “Original Bugs Bunny” and Hanna-Barbera’s “The Jetsons.”
His other credits included “Peyton Place,” “Zorro,” “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Get Smart” and “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show.”
For Allen he worked on series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “The Time Tunnel,” “The Fantastic Four.” He voiced the B9 Robot in Allen’s campy 1960s sci-fi series “Lost in Space” — uttering, in monotone, such now-famous phrases as “Warning, warning,” “Danger, Will Robinson!” and “It does not compute.” He reprised the role of the “Lost in Space” robot for two episodes of “The Simpsons” and for the 1998 bigscreen adaptation of the series.
Tufeld later appeared in 1995 documentary “The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen.”
He also did the voiceover for hundreds of commercials including Rice-A-Roni, Gallo, Ford, Goodyear and Great Western Savings.
Richard Tufeld was born in Los Angeles to immigrants and was raised in Pasadena. He attended the School of Speech at Northwestern U., where he met Adrienne Blumberg. They both graduated and married in 1948; their marriage lasted until her death in 2004.
Tufeld is survived by two sons, two daughters, six grandchildren; and a brother. Funeral services will be held at Mount Sinai, Hollywood Hills, on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m.