Ray Cusick, who created an alien race for the television show Dr. Who, has died at age 84.
Cusick made his mark on British television in 1963 when producers of the new television show Dr. Who asked him to create what would become an integral part of the show. He ended up creating the Dalek race, a villainous alien group that became a big hit with viewers.
The Daleks, which are still an important part of the most recent iteration of Dr. Who, spawned the popular catch phrase “exterminate,” delivered as a terse electronic command. On the show, the Daleks were created by a scientist, who needed their help to survive a war on his home planet. The Daleks would go on to kill that scientist, however.
Cusick explained in 2008 that his inspiration for the Daleks came from a lunch with special effects expert Bill Roberts, the Telegraph noted. During the meeting, Ray Cusick reportedly picked up a pepper shaker and moved it around the table, saying: “It’s going to move like that – no visible means.”
The story about the strange inspiration took on a life of its own, especially among fans, Deadline noted. Ray Cusick like to have fun with the story.
“Ever since then,” he said, “people say I was inspired by a pepper pot, but it could have been the salt pot I picked up.”
Ray Cusick’s death was acknowledged by the official Dr. Who magazine, which tweeted: “It’s with great sadness that we report the death of Ray Cusick – the designer of the Daleks. Half a century on, his iconic design lives on.”
Ray Cusick died in Horsham, leaving behind two daughter and seven grandchildren.