Peter Fernandez (January 29, 1927 – July 15, 2010) was an American actor, voice actor, and director. Despite a career extending from the 1930s, he is probably best known for his uncredited roles in the 1967 anime Speed Racer. Fernandez co-wrote the scripts, was the voice director, and translated the English language version of the theme song. He was instrumental in introducing many Japanese anime series to English-speaking audiences.
Life and career
Born in New York City, Fernandez was a child model for the John Robert Power Agency. He then appeared on both radio and Broadway, appearing in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine in 1941. He was drafted into the United States Army at age 18, late in World War II. His radio appearances included roles on "Mr. District Attorney", "Let's Pretend", "Gangbusters", "My Best Girls", "Superman", and "Suspense", as well as on many soap operas. After his discharge from the Army in 1946, he became a prolific writer for both radio and pulp fiction. He is the author of a children's book, "Bedtime Stories from the Bible".
Fernandez is known for his voice work, and has been heard in English adaptions of many foreign films. Fernandez is best known as the American voice of the title character—and his brother, Racer X -- in the 1967 anime series Speed Racer. Besides acting in Speed Racer, he was the lyricist of English version of that show's theme song. He returned in the 2008 animated series Speed Racer: The Next Generation to play a middle-aged Headmaster Spritle. In the live-action 2008 film Speed Racer, Fernandez had a small part as a racing announcer. The rapid-fire delivery of dialogue made famous by Speed Racer was devised by Fernandez and his American voice co-stars in order to make the dialogue jibe with the original Japanese mouth movements.
He was the voice director for Courage the Cowardly Dog, which he has said was his favorite. He made cameos credited as "additional characters" in several episodes, besides his role as the voice of Robot Randy. He was also the voice director for Robert Mandell's Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers series.
Additional voice acting credits include in such dubbed anime titles as "Astro Boy," "Gigantor," "Marine Boy," "Star Blazers: The Bolar Wars," and "Superbook."
Fernandez was interviewed in 2008 on his activities and voice over work. His last major public appearance was at the 2009 Seattle, Washington Sakura-Con Anime Convention.
Fernandez lived in Pomona, New York with his wife, the former Noel Smith.
On July 15, 2010, Fernandez died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 83.