Rick May, the voice actor who brought Peppy and Andross to life in StarFox 64 and later went on to voice the Soldier in Team Fortress 2, has reportedly died due to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. He was 79 years old.
Larry Albert, a friend and fellow voice actor who worked alongside May on The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio dramas, posted a message about May's passing on Facebook. May was cast as Inspector Lestrade in 1998. John Patrick Lowrie, the voice of Sherlock Holmes in the series and May's fellow Team Fortress 2 cast member as the Sniper, also shared Albert's tribute to May.
"The posting said he'd suffered a heart attack in February of this year, which I knew nothing about," writes Albert. "He was also dealing with cancer; I think he might have bragged that it took a pandemic to bring him down."
Voicing Star Fox 64's antagonist Andross may have been seen as the bigger of May's two roles in the game, but it was his lines as the Star Fox team's eldest member Peppy Hare that went on to be some of the best remembered in the series. Peppy's exhortation to "do a barrel roll" became a beloved meme that later inspired a Google search term Easter egg.
May also voiced Dr. M in Sucker Punch Productions' Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, and provided additional voice work on a few other games developed by studios in the Seattle area. His very first acting role, according to IMDB and his talent agency profile, was an uncredited appearance in George Lucas' American Graffiti.
An in memoriam message posted to the website for Seattle's Rekindle School, an education program that May offered acting classes through, notes that he was a prolific figure in local theater. May was involved with over 300 shows as an actor or director and served as the artistic director for both the Renton Civic Theater and the Civic Light Opera. Rekindle has offered to pass along condolences to May's family via email, listed in the post.