Bob May passed away this past Sunday. It was congestive heart failure that took him from us. Can’t you see him flailing his arms about and turning from side to side? Or maybe you remember the countless times we all have seen him following that red-headed kid around. Always the faithful companion. He was such a logical fellow. Never lied. Always made the right decision….and even though his brain far surpassed any of us he still kept that child-like honesty that made you smile.
Still don’t remember Bob May? You’ve seen him many times whether you are aware of it or not. Bob was the guy INSIDE the famous B9 robot from the 1960’s TV show “Lost in Space”.
Intresting story… June Lockhart, who played Maureen Robinson, said May was working as an actor/stuntman in mid 60’s when someone saw him on the studio lot and said he should go to producer Irwin Allen and see about a part for a new sci-fi series he was working on. He did. Irwin Allen said “If you can fit in the robot suit, you’ve got the part.”
No one could’ve played the role any better than May. I read once that he learned ALL the actors lines so he could react to them at the proper time and manner.
TRIVIA ALERT: He did not provide the voice of the robot. That was done by announcer Dick Tufeld.
The grandson of famed vaudeville comedian Chic Johnson, May was introduced to show business at age 2 when he began appearing in the “Hellzapoppin” comedy revue with Johnson and his partner, Ole Olsen.He went on to appear in numerous films with Jerry Lewis and in such TV shows as “The Time Tunnel,” “McHale’s Navy and “The Red Skelton Show.” He was also a stuntman in such 1950s and ’60s TV shows as “Cheyenne,” “Surfside 6,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “The Roaring 20s” and “Stagecoach.”
But perhaps the funniest story I have read about him came from June Lockhart. She said that the robot suit was very difficult to get into and out of so Bob would stay in the suit for hours during filming…even during breaks. She said he was an avid smoker and on occassion one could glance over at the B9 robot and see smoke coming from the inside.
May was 69 years old. He was one-of-a-kind. We will miss him.
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