speedracer speedracer

Peter Fernandez (1927-2010)

According to our friends at Toonzone, Peter Fernandez, best known to animation fans as the voice of Speed Racer, passed away this morning due to lung cancer at the age of 83.

Fernandez adapted scripts, voice directed and acted on Speed Racer and Marine Boy. Another significant credit for him was as the non-singing voice of Alakazam in Alakazam The Great (1961). He co-wrote the animated series Johnny Cypher In Dimension Zero for Joe Oriolo Productions, dubbed the animated French feature Light Years (aka Gandahar, 1988) and voice directed The Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers. He could also be heard in numerous live action Japanese monster movies – from Mothra and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster to the Ultra Man series.

Most recently Fernandez had a cameo role in the live-action Speed Racer (2008) and was also the voice director for Cartoon Network’s series Courage the Cowardly Dog.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    He will surely be missed.

  • Rest in Peace, Peter. You’ll be missed terribly.

  • joecab

    Aw man, really? :( I loved those cartoons as a kid and was very happy to see his name in the credits for Courage and to even hear him on occasion. (Seriously, the voice credits for Courage are a veritable who’s who of the best New York area voice artists of the 1960’s.)

    Talented fella. I’ll miss him.

  • erlab

    Welp, so much for another cameo.

  • Ken Layton

    A sad day. Another one of the greats is now gone.


  • Rooniman

    Aw man. :(

  • Mike Johnson

    Having been born in 1960, I grew up obsessed with animation, Japanese animation in particular. Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, The Amazing 3, Marine Boy, Speed Racer, The Eighth Man, you name it, I watched it. Alakazam the Great is currently one of the films on my Ipod Touch. Of course, as a kid I didn’t pay much attention to the credits so the name of Peter Fernandez didn’t enter my mind until years later when I started researching my favorite cartoons on the internet.

    Once associated with his work in bringing many of these shows to the American viewing public I developed a real appreciation for all of the behind-the-scenes effort that went in to each show. what an amazing career he had, and what an amazing legacy he leaves behind. It’s too bad that most of the shows he worked on will probably not be seen on television anymore, or, if so, under extremely rare circumstances. There is a lot to be said in favor of these older shows, and much of the credit for that goes to Peter.

    It was wonderful to see Peter’s (and Corrine Orr’s – let’s not forget Trixie!) cameos in the Speed Racer film. The Wachowski brothers are a class act for paying homage to them by making certain that they were a part of it. It must have been good fun for both of them.

    I’m very glad I was born when I was, otherwise I may have missed out on all of these great shows.

    Thanks Peter (and Corrine!)) for all of the great memories!

  • Ben K.

    I’m glad I had the chance to meet him after a panel at Otakon a few years ago. Incredibly friendly guy with a ton of interesting stories. Rest in peace.

  • David Breneman

    No one could deliver dialog like “Ooh! Ah! Oh! Ugh! Aw!” quite like Fernandez. :-)

    Seriously, these shows distributed by Trans Lux gave many Americans their first exposure to animation produced outside the Hollywood system. To the extent that Fernandez woke people up to the concept that animation didn’t have to be “Cheap Like Hanna Barbera” to be viable on television he did the industry a great service. The early Japanese animation was cheap, but is wasn’t cheap like Hanna Barbera, and that made all the difference.

  • Michael G.

    How sad, he was a great guy.

  • Kevin Dougherty

    Peter was really great as an actor in “City Across the River” and his work behind and in front of the mic, dubbing foreign films and animation was top notch. I met him once, briefly, in a New York recording studio and he was extremely nice, accommodating my nerdish, fanboy questions. A genuine talent and a nice guy to boot.

  • Rest in peace, Peter.

    I’ll pay tribute to Peter by getting around to completing my Speed Racer boxed set (I am up to disc six of eight at the moment.)

  • “Ooh! Ah! Oh! Ugh! Aw!”

    Peter Fernandez will certainly be missed.

  • Brendan Spillane

    Having met Mr. Fernandez, who autographed a number of Speed Racer toys, action figures & original “Mach Go Go Go” manga books for a large throng of fans, I can honestly attest to him being such a class act. He autographed a picture I had of Speed in his classic jumping out of the car pose: Peter wrote: “Go, Brendan, Go!”

  • “HUH?!”

    Farewell Peter, you’ll be missed. Hopefully when Otakon opens in a couple of weeks they’ll have a nice mention about him.

  • pheslaki

    Speed Racer was the very first cartoon I became totally obsessed with when I was a little kid . . . this is a sad day.

  • Mike Johnson

    David Breneman said:

    “The early Japanese animation was cheap, but is wasn’t cheap like Hanna Barbera, and that made all the difference.”

    I agree. Although in the case of Kimba, it was also rich in storytelling, emotion and an awareness of the environment and our place within it that NOTHING in American animation has ever approached to this day. Of course, that had everything to do with Osamu Tezuka and not a lot to do with Peter, but still, credit where credit is due.

    Just another reason to miss the good old days…

  • Kevin B

    If i am not mistaken, he also voiced Spiderman as well as other characters in those great Power Records book / records. His voice and acting really made those extra thrilling.

  • Lala-Marin

    Really amazing guy.

  • Chuck Howell

    I fall into the same age cohort as Mike Johnson and several others, and just wanted to heartily agree with the sentiments expressed here. In 1st and 2nd Grade I walked to school, and when the dismissal bell rang I would literally sprint the approx. 1/3 of a mile to get home by 3pm for SPEED RACER. My mother, who never discouraged a healthy obsession, would have the our old GE TV on and ready for me so I wouldn’t have to wait the 2 minutes it took the tubes to warm up.

    God Speed, Peter…

  • Aww, that’s sad when icons of series die. Best wishes to his family and those he left behind.

  • Peter and I were classmates at PCS in NYC for many years,graduating from High School together in 1945. We did not see each other for some 60 years, and he got in touch with me thru e-mail several years ago. We had a great reunion several years ago at Tavern on the Green, and I found him a most warm and charming person. He will be missed and I am so glad to have known him.