Bob May, the man inside the robot on all 83 episodes of Lost In Space (1965-1968), died of congestive heart failure Sunday at the age of 69.
"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.'"
Producers wanted to allow fans to believe the robot was real so May received little attention during the shows run. Afterwards, he was a fan favorite at memorabilia and sci-fi shows. Even though it was announcer Dick Tufeld who proclaimed the iconic phrase "Danger, Will Robinson," Bob May learned all the lines so he could react to the actors and flail his arms appropriately.
As the grandson of vaudeville comedian Chic Johnson, May was surrounded by stage showmanship which transitioned to the early years of television. He went on to work as a stunt man on shows such as Cheyenne (1955), 77 Sunset Strip (1958) and Stagecoach (1966) before joining Lost In Space.