Fri. May 17th, 2024

Rick May, Voice of Peppy Hare, Andross from Starfox 64 and  Soldier from Team Fortress 2, has passed away due to complications caused by COVID19.

Born on Sept. 21, 1940, Rick May has done many things in his life. He was the artistic director of the Renton Civic Theater and Civic Light Opera, where he directed and acted in countless shows; a voice actor in many incredibly popular radio dramas, like “The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” where he played inspector Lestrade, had an active teaching role in Seattle and even worked as a writer. In the gaming sphere, he is known for one thing: his voice work in video games.

 Rick May’s voice was heard by everyone who played Starfox 64 as the famous Peppy Hare and titular villain Andross in 1997. He also voiced the Mongolian leader Genghis Khan for “Age of Empires 2” in 1999. He then voiced Dr. M in the third Sly Cooper game, “Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves 2005.” While all of these roles are clearly standouts with good games attached to them, nothing comes close to the fame of his most prominent role in video games: The Rocket-jumping, American gun-nut Soldier from “Team Fortress 2” in 2007. He was quite active in every aspect of creation in the lore of the soldier as well. Not only did he voice the character, but he also wrote some aspects of Soldier’s dialogue in certain shorts involving the character.

He has inspired hundreds, if not, hundreds of thousands, of young gamers to play “Team Fortress 2.” It was also Soldier’s tech, like Rocket Jumping, while not the first game to do it and far from the last, which expanded the depth of the game immensely. It was the persona of all the characters in “Team Fortress 2” that brought the world to life. Rick May’s contribution to the game is priceless. 

His passing is a tragedy of the times we are currently in.

Rick May’s condition even before the virus was not good, being that he suffered from a stroke and subsequently was brought into a nursing home. It was there that he, unfortunately, contracted COVID-19, and on April 13, 2020, he passed away due to complications caused by the coronavirus.

His legacy will continue in the form of the characters that he played. Peppy Hare from “Starfox” had the famous line, “Do a barrel roll!” which spawned its own meme. It would be difficult to say where the legacy began. To try and to start thinking of his impact on gaming culture with Soldier from Team Fortress 2 would be a monumental task. From being the next icon of popular tech, the rocket jump, to Soldier’s general persona. Rick May’s voice work infused the characters he voiced with a flare rarely seen by gaming culture, and his history and impact on the gaming sphere is something to be remembered for decades to come.

Rest in peace, Rick May. 

May you be as amazing a human being as you were down here.


Edward Park is a second-year BSED English major in the writings track.

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