26 March 2020 00:41
Bob The Builder voice actor William Dufris has died aged 62 after a battle with cancer. A statement released on Wednesday confirmed the sad news: "We are heartbroken to announce that the co-founder of @pocketplot and the director of EC Comics Presents... The Vault of Horror, William Dufris, has died from cancer. "There is a hole in a lot of people's hearts right now. "We will have more to say later.
Bless you, Bill." (Image: PA) Dufris provided the voice of Bob in the America and Canadian versions of the show for the first nine series. He stepped down from the role in 2006. Bob The Builder in the UK was originally voiced by Neil Morrissey, but he was replaced by actor Lee Ingleby in 2015. The show was created by Keith Chapman, before being sold to US toy firm Mattel, which makes Barbies, for £576 million in 2011. Dufris began acting while in London and worked on BBC Radio plays alongside actors including Sharon Gless, Stockard Channing, and Helena Bonham-Carter.
He also voiced Rocky's best friend Elvis and Dougan the red walrus in the children's stop motion TV series Rocky and the Dodos for Cosgrove Hall and dubbed several anime films such as X, Appleseed, and two of the Lupin III. films. He also voiced Peter Parker in audio productions of Spider-Man, and co-founded audio production company The Story Circle, Ltd in the UK. Back in the United States, Dufris founded Mind's Eye Productions and co-founded Rocky Coast Radio Theatre and The AudioComics Company, for which he has been producer, director, actor, and engineer. He was twelve times nominated as an audiobook finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award winning in 2012 for Best Non-Fiction. He also directed audio on new supernatural horror Netflix series Locke and Key, based on comics by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. His family issued the statement: "Musician Bill Rieflin passed away after an eight-year duel with cancer. "Seattle native and life-long resident, Bill was a world-class musician who was at home on the drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards. He was also an accomplished composer and producer who possessed a sophisticated ear, a depth of rare talent and complete dedication to his craft. "Known for much of his career as an extraordinary drummer, Bill performed with a wide range of artists and bands from Swans and Ministry to R.E.M. and King Crimson and many more. "Bill also lost his beloved wife of 27 years, master painter Francesca Sundsten, to cancer last year. "His refined manner, brilliant mind, eye for the ironic and legendary sense of humor defined him as a man of discerning taste, palate, and company. "We will miss him terribly. Rest easy, Bill." William Dufris, who voiced the title character in the U.S. and Canadian version of the children's series Bob the Builder for its first nine seasons, has died of cancer. Pocket Universe Productions, which Dufris co-founded, confirmed the news on social media Tuesday but did not give details. "There is a hole in a lot of people's hearts right now.," the company said in a tweet (see it below). Born on February 1, 1958, in Houlton, ME, Dufris got his start in voice acting in London during his early 20s. He worked on audiobooks, language tapes and the like and also acted in BBC Radio plays opposite such stars as Helena Bonham-Carter, Kathleen Turner, Sharon Gless and Stockard Channing. Notable Hollywood & Entertainment Industry Deaths In 2020: Photo Gallery He also voiced the Peter Parker character in director Dirk Maggs' audio productions of Spider-Man, along with other productions including Judge Dredd and An American Werewolf in London. "A bright light has gone out in the world," Maggs tweeted: RIP BIll Dufris. A Prince. The love and craft he brought to everything he acted in from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN thru 'Judge Cal' in JUDGE DREDD, to Steve Baxter's VOYAGE in 1999, & our recent collaboration on THE X-FILES. A bright light has gone out in the world. Love ya, Bud. pic.twitter.com/agDKzeldE1 — Dirk Maggs (@DirkMaggs) March 24, 2020 Dufris' biggest role came in the dubbed North American version of the UK's animated kids series Bob the Builder, voicing the busy title character for its first nine seasons. The show aired on Nick Jr. from 2001-04 and PBS Kids from 2005-18. It followed the daily routine of carpenter Bob and his trusty crew of building vehicles, including Scoop, Muck, Lofty and Dizzy, along with human partner Wendy and his cat Pilchard. In each episode, the crew would be summoned to take on a big construction project, and upon getting their assignment, Bob would turn to his crew and ask, "Can we build it?" — to which his "staff" replied in unison, "Yes we can!" It became the series' signature catchphrase. Dufris also voiced Bob the Builder in a number of North American direct-to-video projects. His other voice credits include the UK toon series Rocky and the Dodos and the English-dubbed versions of such animated features as Odin, Venus Wars and a pair of Lupin the Third pics. Most recently, Dufris directed Pocket Universe Productions' EC Comics Presents… The Vault of Horror! — an audio drama adaptation of the 1950s comic books.