Helen Hunt’s Father, Hollywood Director And Voice-Over King, Gordon Hunt Has Passed

Chris PizelloAP Images

Gordon Hunt has died.

According to Variety, the 87-year-old died Saturday at his Sherman Oaks home from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Hunt was married to actress, B.J. Ward and is also father to Helen Hunt. The 87-year-old man won a Directors Guild award for a 1996 episode of Mad About You, which starred his daughter. He directed more than 30 episodes of the long-running series. He won the Directors Guild of America Award again in 1997 for The Birth.

Hunt’s TV directorial resume included television sitcoms like Suddenly Susan, Ladies Man, Coach, Caroline in the City, Fraiser, and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place which starred a relatively unknown, Ryan Reynolds. Before then, he had cut his teeth at Hanna-Barbera, spending over 20 years as voice recording director for TV toons like Super Friends, The Flintstones, Pound Puppies, The Smurfs, Johnny Quest, The Jetsons, Paddington Bear, Richie Rich, The Scooby-Doo Show, and many more.

Gordon also voiced for numerous video games including, Uncharted, Pandemonium, Lair, the God of War series, Blur, the Legacy of Kain, and Final Fantasy XIV. While on stage, Hunt directed My Fair Lady, Mame, The Music Man, and the L.A. Philharmonic production of Mass by Leonard Bernstein at the Hollywood Bowl. Gordon’s toon career stretched into the 1990s and was demonstrated in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, The Addams Family, and Capital Critters. He most recently voiced the UPN’s comic adaptation, Dilbert.

According to the LA Times, Hunt was legendary when it came to matching a perfect voice to a cinematic character. While most people gain fame in Hollywood, the 87-year-old voice-over master gained huge respect and admiration for his abilities. Actor Roger Bridges, in a documentary dedicated to Hunt’s life, described him as “the greatest man you never heard.”

Hunt was born in 1929 and worked in New York before heading to Los Angeles where he landed a gig at the Mark Taper Forum as casting director. He taught acting and voicing for decades and even wrote a How-to book of how to prepare effectively for an audition.

“A good case of nerves is healthy…as long as you can direct that energy toward something positive.”

In a CNN interview, the Hollywood director discussed his voicing for animated characters. Hunt, who has voiced from a nervous rocket ship captain to a dog with a thick British accent, revealed that he loved the feeling of not being boxed in and said it made him feel like a kid anytime he played a colorful character.

Helen Hunt bagged a regular TV role aged just 11. Gordon said that he had a chat with his daughter and told her she could act as long as her school grades were good.

“We made a deal…she could work as long as she had a B average.”

Helen Hunt won an Oscar as best actress for As Good as It Gets in 1997. She was a recurring fixture at the Emmys from 1996-1999, collecting the lead comedy actress award for four straight years with Mad About You. The actress dedicated her 2014 film, Ride to her father. The movie hinges on surfing, a favorite past time of her father who surfed from 1934 until he stopped in 2012.

Gordon Hunt is survived by his wife and daughters Helen Hunt and Colleen Morrison Hunt and four grandchildren. A native of Pasadena, Hunt’s father was the one who designed the circular 76 gas station logo. The 87-year-old was a mentor to many casting directors in the industry, including April Webster of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jeff Greenberg of Modern Family. Others who benefited from his acting lessons included Robert Morse of Mad Men, Robert David Hall of CSI, and Jonathan Banks of Better Call Saul.

[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/AP Images]