Shane Rimmer (1929 - 2019)
The actor Shane Rimmer died yesterday at the age of 89. Born in Toronto, Canada, on 28th May 1929, Rimmer moved to London in the late 1950s to pursue his acting career. Over the next five decades, he appeared in numerous TV shows such as Doctor Who and The Saint, and in films including Dr Strangelove, Gandhi, Rollerball and Out of Africa. He starred in James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and had smaller roles in Star Wars, Superman and Batman movies. If during the seventies and eighties, a British production needed someone to play an American character, he was a one of a handful of "go to" actors who would take the part. Rimmer and fellow US actor Ed Bishop (whose paths regularly crossed) jokingly referred to themselves a "Rent-a-Yanks” as a result of this.
Yet despite having a rich and varied filmography, for many Shane Rimmer will be best remembered as the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds. The 50-minute screenplays afforded much more time for character development than in previous Gerry Anderson Supermarionation productions. Scott Tracy the second oldest of the five brothers and was one of the most accessible and likeable characters in the show. Rimmer’s voice work did much to imbue Scott Tracey with a sense of fairness, determination and common sense. After Thunderbirds Rimmer continued working with the Anderson on shows such as Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and the live action TV series UFO. He also got to satirise the hard-boiled private detective genre when he provided the voice for Dick Spanner. A role he undertook with relish.
As well as acting, Rimmer diversified and wrote several screenplays and stories for TV shows. Furthermore, in his later years he wrote both his autobiography From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls and dabbled in fiction. Due to his appearances in numerous cult movies and blockbuster genre films, he was a familiar face on the convention circuit. He was a firm favourite among fans and remained active in the fan community right up until recently. He always maintained a pragmatic outlook on all his work and had a wealth of anecdotes to share. He was especially proud of his work on several Bond movies. "The Spy Who Loved Me was a good one all around. It was Roger Moore’s favourite of all the ones he did. You just get a kind of intuitive thing about a movie. It worked very well”.