Monday, July 30, 2012
RIP Jonathan Hardy
New Zealand actor, writer, and director Jonathan Hardy died today at the age of 71.
Speculative fiction fans know Hardy best as the voice of Dominar Rygel VXI, a Henson Muppe creation for "Farscape", a short but very popular science fiction television show filmed in New Zealand.
Jonathan Hardy voiced Rygel XVI in all four seasons of Farscape, Farscape: The Game, and Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.
He received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay for the 1980 film 'Breaker' Morant. Hardy also appeared on-camera as Kahaynu the builder in I Do, I Think and The Maltese Crichton.
Hardy spoke affectionately of his time as Rygel to the BBC, asserting "What else could one do to culminate a career than to become a very great international star as the voice of a Muppet?"
American viewers may not recognize the man behind the Dominar's mask, but Hardy's film credits include Mad Max (with Mel Gibson, as Commissioner Labatouche), Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! (as the Man in the Moon, with singing voice dubbed by Placido Domingo), The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (with Spike Milligan), The Delinquents (with Kylie Minogue and Melissa Jaffer), and Ned Kelly (as the Great Orlando). Television includes the Australian series Prisoner, the 1989 revival of Mission: Impossible, Twisted Tales, and the TV movie The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years.
At this writing, there's no information on Hardy's cause of death. Even New Zealand news isn't up to date yet.
However, this isn't the first life-threatening situation that Hardy has faced.
Well over thirty years ago, Jonathan Hardy was to direct "The Man from Snowy River". He cast it, and suddenly collapsed, and had to have a heart transplant. Hardy said, "In that sense I've got something in common with Rygel, I've got somebody else's heart, so I'm a bit alien myself."
The speculative fiction fans around the world mourn the loss of Jonathan Hardy and his special voice for the ill-contented muppet. May his next world adventures be as fun as Rygel was to viewers.
Born: 9/20/1940, Wellington, New Zealand
Jonathan Hardy's westerns - actor, associate director:
Return to Snowy River - 1988 [associate director]
Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (TV) - 1996 (John Archer, Sr.)
Ned Kelly - 2003 (The Great Orlando)