I know many of you are probably wondering who Peter Fernandez was and I wondered the same thing when I saw he had passed on in this post on Japanator. But for many people who grew up watching cartoons during the late ’70s and early ’80s, his voice is instantly recognizable as Speed Racer. Mr. Fernandez not only voiced Speed, but also Racer X and several other characters as well as re-wrote the theme song lyrics for Speed Racer for the American audience and(!) he was also the voice director for the series. He was also a voice actor and voice director for other anime shows such as Astro Boy and Star Blazers, amongst many others.
He died Thursday morning at age 83 from lung cancer. May you rest in peace sir, your efforts to bring anime to America helped generate the explosion of anime from the ’90s onward.
If you’ve never seen Speed Racer, YouTube has, surprisingly, the first two seasons available for your viewing pleasure. Here’s the very first episode, which aired in Japan on April 2nd, 1967, which makes it older than even me.
The animation and stories may look dated today, but to a ten year old kid, it was golden and even today, the Mach 5 is one of my favorite fictional automobiles.