Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Memoriam

Robert Martin Culp--August 16, 1930 – March 24, 2010

Most folks who are, on average, about 10 years or more older than me, will remember him as the star of I Spy, the TV show that is perhaps best known as being the first network TV show to feature a black actor (Bill Cosby) in a leading role. It was the show that launched Cosby's career.

I mostly remember him from his role as FBI agent Bill Maxwell in The Greatest American Hero, a TV show probably better known for it's title song than anything else (Believe it or Not)

But to a much younger generation, he will be forever known for a far more obscure, and yet also far more notorious role: The voice of the evil Dr. Wallace Breen, the puppet administrator of post-invasion Earth installed by the Combine between the events of the FPS games Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Few game villains have ever been more reviled--a sleazy, smarmy opportunist who manipulated events that took place after Earth was conquered by invading aliens to seize the kind of power he never would have gained otherwise. (For those non gamer-speak savvy folks, FPS stands for First Person Shooter.)

It's a role that probably gained him more fame than he ever got from his other roles. After all, Half-Life became one of the most popular FPS games in history, and its sequel, Half-Life 2 and its follow-up episodes became one of the biggest sellers in video game history, and it earned over 40 Game of the Year awards. I'm not ashamed to admit I played the game. I still play it on a regular basis. It's one of those games that never gets boring.

It may not be the greatest legacy in the world to be known to gamers far and wide as the voice of one of the biggest villains ever created, but I think he probably enjoyed the notoriety.

Farewell Dr. Breen!

There was no one that we members of the human resistance loved to hate more than you!

No comments: