Farscape‘s Jonathan Hardy, the voice of Rygel, has died at the age of 71.
The New Zealand-born actor (Farscape was shot in Australia and drew heavily on local acting talent) was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay for the movie Breaker Morant (1980) and he appeared in diverse films including Mad Max, Moulin Rouge, Ned Kelly and on TV in the 1980s revival of Mission: Impossible.
His co-star, Lani John Tupu—who played Captain Crais on Farscape—lamented Hardy’s passing. ‘Thank you, Jonathan for all your wonderful stories, your wicked wit… your time, advice and your friendship. I am going to miss you very much. Sail well, wherever your spirit takes you. It was a great journey we travelled in space together. I am so proud and privileged to have worked with you.’
Hardy regarded his puppet character as more human than some others on Farscape. He told the BBC: “Rygel [is] in many ways the most human of the characters, although he’s a Hynerian and only 2 foot 8… Because he is free to be an alien, he can be greedy and selfish and generous and heroic, and all those things that all of us are if we get in the right position. So in many ways, because he is so flawed and in many ways so great, I guess he is an archetypal human being.”
Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon told Sci-Fi Bulletin, “Jonathan brought Rygel to life. His was a bravura performance, giving Rygel intellect, humor, and very relatable emotion. Jonathan himself was the definition of a gentleman, and a vital creative partner in making Farscape the series that it was.”