Bob May, Hollywood Suit (1939-2009)

Lost in Space cast in 1995

He had an important part in the Sixties series Lost In Space, but viewers never saw his face. His character had a lot of lines (“Danger, Will Robinson!”), but none of them were spoken by him. Bob May was the fellow who wore The Robot’s suit, and that was enough for fans to seek him out at memorabilia shows. He passed away January 18 at the age of 69, from congestive heart failure.

“He always said he got the job because he fit in the robot suit,” said June Lockhart, who played family matriarch Maureen Robinson. “It was one of those wonderful Hollywood stories. He just happened to be on the studio lot when someone saw him and sent him to see Irwin Allen about the part. Allen said, ‘If you can fit in the suit, you’ve got the job.'”

That was the important thing because an announcer (Dick Tufeld) would actually record the character’s lines. May lucked out – the suit fit. After that, they could hardly get him out of it.

“He was a smoker,” Lockhart remembered. “From time to time (when he was on a break), we’d see smoke coming out of the robot. That always amused us.”

Bob May is the gray-haired fellow on the left in the back row of this photo taken in 1995.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the alert.]