Saturday, 14 January 2017

Dick Gautier Passes On

Dick Gautier, who played Hymie the Robot on Get Smart and Robin Hood on Mel Brooks's cult TV show When Things Were Rotten, died yesterday, January 13 2017, at the age of 85.

Dick Gautier was born in Culver City, California on October 30 1931. His father was a French Canadian who worked as a grip at MGM. Dick Gautier spent parts of his childhood in Montreal. He showed an aptitude for drawing cartoons while very young. In high school he participated in the drama club. Upon graduating from high school he became a stand-up comedian, playing various nightclubs. He served for a time in the United States Navy. Stationed in San Diego, he booked performers for Special Services. After serving in the Navy he returned to stand up comedy. It was when he was at the Blue Angel in New York City that Gower Champion saw him and then asked him to audition for the part of rock star Conrad Birdie in the upcoming Broadway show Bye Bye Birdie. Dick Gautier got the part and made his Broadway debut in 1960. As Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie he made his television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Dick Gautier first appeared in a scripted drama in a guest appearance on The Eleventh Hour in 1963. In 1966 he was cast in the recurring role of Hymie the Robot on Get Smart. He was part of the regular cast of the short-lived sitcom Mr. Terrific. He guest starred on such shows as The Baileys of Balboa, Gidget, Teh Patty Duke Show, Bewitched, Love on a Rooftop, The Flying Nun, and The Debbie Reynolds Show. He made his film debut in Ensign Pulver in 1964. He also appeared in Divorce American Style (1967), as well as a cameo in Maryjane (1968). Mr. Gautier co-wrote the screenplay for Maryjane with Peter Marshall.

In the Seventies Dick Gautier played a regular role on the short-lived sitcom Here We Go Again and the lead role on When Things Were Rotten. He guest starred on such shows as The Doris Day Show; Love, American Style; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Banacek; Diana; Hawkins; The Rockford Files; Kolchak: The Night Stalker; Marcus Welby M.D.; Man From Atlantis; Wonder Woman; The Love Boat; and Charlie's Angels. He appeared in the films Wild in the Sky (1972), The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977). He co-wrote the screenplay to Wild in the Sky with Peter Marshall.

In the Eighties he guest starred on such shows as Happy Days, Too Close for Comfort, Trapper John M.D.; Quincy M.E.; Fantasy Island; Knight Rider; Alice; Matlock; Murder, She Wrote; and Charles in Charge. He reprised his role as Hymie in the 1989 television movie Get Smart Again! He provided voice for such television cartoon series as G.I. Joe, InHumanoids, The Transformers, Foofur, The New Yogi Bear Show, and The Smurfs.

In the Nineties Dick Gautier provided voices for such animated shows as Batman: The Animated Series, Tom & Jerry Kids Show, The Pirates of Dark Water, The Addams Family, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and Cow & Chicken. He guest starred on such shows as The Munsters Today, Silk Stalkings, and The Golden Palace. He appeared in the film The Naked Truth (1992). He made his last appearance on screen in a 2010 episode of Nip/Tuck.

Dick Gautier was known for his skill at celebrity caricatures. He wrote and illustrated several books on the art of caricatures and cartooning, including The Art of Caricature, The Creative Cartoonist, The Career Cartoonist, Actors as Artists, and many others. He also wrote articles for TV Guide, National Lampoon, Mad, and many others.

Dick Gautier was a very talented and very funny man. He was capable of a number of different voices and could make his face do almost anything he wanted it to. In many respects this made him perfect for the role of Hymie, as he could be very convincing as a robot. He could also be convincing as heroic figures (or parodies thereof). He played Robin Hood in When Things Were Rotten and played Batman in a 1973 Department of Labour public service announcement about equal pay for women alongside Burt Ward as Robin and Yvonne Craig as Batgirl. He played a number of different roles during his career, including  service station attendant Hal Walters on Mr. Terrific and womanising former quarterback Jerry Standish on Here We Go Again. With an extremely adaptable voice, Dick Gautier could play nearly any role he wanted.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

Even when he played a robot, Dick Gautier always possessed a great vibrancy that makes it hard to believe he is gone, even to someone who never knew him personally. Sad news indeed.