Nicknamed “The Man of a Thousand Voices” Robert Rietty was born Lucio Herbert Rietti in Paddington, London, England on February 8, 1923. The son of an Italian actor, Rietty began acting himself very early on, when he was only 8 years old, but his greatest contribution was as the film industry’s go-to voice. Throughout his prolific career, he voiced over an incredible range of roles, including iconic ones such as “Doctor Zhivago” in the 1965 movie, Orson Welles’ Long John Silver in “Treasure Island” (1970), various James Bond villains, and many more.
Rietty was most appreciated as a dubber, something he seemed to be born to do given his natural ease with languages and his talent for mimicking accents. He discovered these skills while revoicing parts of films, something that was routinely done in the pre-digital era when directors felt the need to adjust the quality of the sound or dialog and the original actors were inept or unavailable to contribute.
His incredibly adaptable voice is what made him so successful and requested within the film industry. Ironically, it’s also what made it impossible for audiences to recognize him. All the more so considering that he often was not credited for his contributions. He had his own company, which was responsible for the complete rerecording of films – such as when a movie with Scottish actors speaking with thick accents had to be made available to the American market. He was nominated for a Golden Reel award in Hollywood for dubbing much of Sergio Leone’s gangster movie “Once Upon a Time in America”. In 2000, he was nominated for the Bafta special award for outstanding work.
Rietty died in London on April 3, 2015. His Iraqi-born wife, Tina (nee Semah), died in 2008. He is survived by two daughters, Anya and Liana, and two sons, Jonathan and Benjamin.
Robert Rietty’s English dubbed Euro-westerns:
Desperados! – 1969 [English voice of Deputy Tate (David Thompson)]
Land Raiders – 1969 [English voice of Harper the wagon master]
The Valley of Gwangi – 1969 [English voice of Carlos dos Orsos (Gustavo Rojo)]
Captain Apache – 1971 [English voice of most of the characters except Lee Van Cleef, Stuart Whitman]
A Town Called Hell – 1971 [English voice of Paco (Michael Craig)]
A Talent for Loving – 1973 [English voice of ?]