Shane Rimmer
Shane Lance Deacon

(1929-05-28)May 28, 1929
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedMarch 29, 2019(2019-03-29) (aged 89)
Barnet, London, England
  • Actor
  • screenwriter
Years active1958–2019
Sheila Logan
(m. 1963)
External image
image icon Shane Rimmer IMDb photo

Shane Rimmer (born Shane Lance Deacon; May 28, 1929 – March 29, 2019)[1][2][3] was a Canadian actor and screenwriter who spent the majority of his career in the United Kingdom. The self-proclaimed "Rent-A-Yank" of the British entertainment industry, he appeared in over 160 films and television programmes from 1957 until his death in 2019, usually playing supporting North American characters.

Among his best known roles were the voice of Scott Tracy in the original Thunderbirds series, Air Force Captain "Ace" Owens in Dr. Strangelove, Joe Donnelli and Malcolm Reid on Coronation Street, Edward R. Murrow in Gandhi, and Louie Watterson on the Cartoon Network series The Amazing World of Gumball. He also made several appearances in the James Bond film series. He made several on-stage appearances for the Royal National Theatre, and contributed scripts to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90.

Early life

Rimmer was born Shane Lance Deacon in Toronto, Ontario to a British mother, Vera (née Franklin), and an Irish father, Thomas Deacon, who was a journalist. He had a younger sister, Noreen. He adopted his paternal grandmother's maiden name Rimmer and began his career on Canadian radio as a singer and disc jockey before becoming a television presenter.[4]



Rimmer appeared mainly in supporting roles, especially in films and television series produced in the United Kingdom. He emigrated to England in 1959, after initially performing as a cabaret singer.[5][6]

His appearances include roles in films such as Dr. Strangelove (1964), Rollerball (1975), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Gandhi (1982), Out of Africa (1985), Crusoe (1989), Spy Game (2001) and Batman Begins (2005).[7]

During his career, Rimmer appeared uncredited in, among other films, You Only Live Twice (1967), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Star Wars (1977) and Superman II (1980). He also is believed to have provided the voice for the character Hamilton (played by Robert Dix) in Live and Let Die (1973).[8]


Rimmer had a long-running association with TV producer Gerry Anderson, including the series Thunderbirds (1964–1966). He was the voice actor behind the character of Scott Tracy.[9] He drafted the story for the series' penultimate episode, "Ricochet" (1966), from which writer Tony Barwick penned a script. Rimmer thought the studio rates for voices in those days were "absolutely deplorable". Years after working on Thunderbirds, Rimmer, along with fellow Anderson associate Matt Zimmerman, retained a solicitor. They informed him of the level of payment they received, and the solicitor then gained Rimmer and Zimmerman an immense raise in the residuals.[10] He also appeared in an episode of Danger Man.

Rimmer also wrote scripts and provided uncredited voices for Anderson's subsequent Supermarionation productions Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–68), Joe 90 (1968–69) and The Secret Service (1969), appeared in episodes of the live-action series UFO (1970) and The Protectors (1972–74), provided voices for Space: 1999 (1975–77), and guest-starred in one of its episodes, "Space Brain" (1976). Later, he appeared in the un-televised 1986 pilot Space Police (which was adapted as a full TV series and renamed Space Precinct in the 1990s, though Ted Shackleford replaced Rimmer for the series) and provided the voice of the title character in Dick Spanner, P.I. (1987).

Rimmer and American actor Ed Bishop—himself an Anderson associate–would joke about how their professional paths frequently crossed, calling themselves "Rent-a-Yanks". They appeared together as United States Navy sailors in The Bedford Incident (1965) and as NASA technicians in the opening of You Only Live Twice (1967), as well as touring together on stage, including a production of Death of a Salesman in the 1990s.[11][12][13] Rimmer and Bishop also appeared in the BBC drama-documentary Hiroshima, which was completed shortly after Bishop's death in 2005.[14]

He was the second voice of Louie Watterson in the Cartoon Network series The Amazing World of Gumball from 2014 to 2019. The episode "The Agent" was his final role before his death in 2019.

Other work

Rimmer appeared once in Doctor Who (in the 1966 serial The Gunfighters), and twice in Coronation Street: as Joe Donnelli (from 1968 to 1970), who held Stan Ogden hostage before taking his own life, and Malcolm Reid (in 1988), the adoptive father of Audrey Roberts' son Stephen. Rimmer was the main character in "Alternative 3 " documentary 1977 hoax ITV Mars landing[15] He made many guest appearances in British TV series for ITV, including Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, as well as ITC's The Persuaders! In 1980, Rimmer played Edward Condon in the BBC mini-series Oppenheimer, which was rebroadcast in the United States in 1982, and appeared in the 1984 miniseries Master of the Game, opposite Dyan Cannon.[16][17]

In 1989, Rimmer was reunited with Bishop and Zimmerman during the production of a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet.[18] In 2012, he recorded a reading of Donald Cotton's Doctor Who novelisation of The Gunfighters for release in February 2013.[19]

In 2010, Rimmer returned to the world of Thunderbirds with a 15-minute fan film simply entitled Thunderbirds 2010. He portrays Jeff Tracy in a voiceover on Thunderbird 3's radio, towards the end of the movie, instructing Scott and Alan to take the three astronauts they rescued in the movie to an intact space station, and return to Tracy Island in anticipation of a storm in the Pacific.

Rimmer played the role of Leo Carlin in the 2013 audio drama The Mighty Carlins by award-winning Canadian playwright Collin Doyle. The recording was produced by Wireless Theatre Company.[20]

In 2014, Rimmer released his first fiction novel Long Shot, through This marked his second foray into publishing, having released his autobiography From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls four years previously.[2]

In 2015, he played the role of "Anderson" in the science fiction short DARKWAVE: Edge of the Storm; this was released for free online the following year.[21]

Personal life and death

Rimmer married Sheila Logan in 1963; the couple had three sons: Damien, Ben and Paul.[4]

Rimmer died at Barnet Hospital[22] in London on 29 March 2019, aged 89. He was survived by his wife and sons.[4][23]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Thunderbirds Are Go as Scott Tracy Actor Shane Rimmer Launches Autobiography". The Times (Hendon & Finchley, Barnet & Potters Bar, Edgware & Mill Hill). Newsquest. 18 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Voice of Thunderbirds Scott Tracy Shane Rimmer has Died". Gerry Anderson. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  3. ^ Belam, Martin (29 March 2019). "Shane Rimmer, voice of Thunderbirds' Scott Tracy, dies aged 89". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Hadoke, Toby (3 April 2019). "Shane Rimmer obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Shane Rimmer – home".
  6. ^ Interview on YouTube
  7. ^ "Shane Rimmer". Archived from the original on 28 May 2016.
  8. ^ DVD commentary for Live and Let Die
  9. ^ "With Shane Rimmer – the voice of Thunderbirds Scott Tracy, Roberto Perrone – BBC Three Counties Radio". BBC.
  10. ^ Thunderbirds: A Complete Guide to the Classic Series
  11. ^ "The Bedford Incident (1965)". Archived from the original on 28 March 2018.
  12. ^ "You Only Live Twice (1967)". Archived from the original on 17 June 2017.
  13. ^ Wolf, Matt (11 November 1996). "Death of a Salesman".
  14. ^ "Hiroshima (2005)". Archived from the original on 21 March 2017.
  15. ^ "BBC – Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Gunfighters – Details".
  16. ^ "Oppenheimer Part 3 (1980)". Archived from the original on 11 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Shane Rimmer – Movies and Filmography – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  18. ^ "The Country of the Saints, A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes – BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.
  19. ^ Formats and Editions of Doctor Who. The gunfighters []. OCLC 880902093.
  20. ^ "Radio review: The Mighty Carlins; Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear – TV & radio – The Stage". 22 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Film Reviews and Movie Trailers – UK Film Review". Film Reviews and Movie Trailers – UK Film Review. 27 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Home". Shane Rimmer. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Shane Rimmer has Died". Gerry Anderson. 29 March 2019.