R.I.P Ray Cusick; Designer Of DOCTOR WHO Daleks Dies Aged 84
Raymond P. "Ray" Cusick , the designer of infamous Doctor Who villains the Daleks, has died aged 84.
The BBC have just revealed that designer of the famous 'Doctor Who' Daleks, Raymond Cusick, passed away at the age of 84 several days ago.
The BBC reports that he passed away in his sleep after a short illness of heart failure on February 21 (Thursday), according to his daughter Claire Heawood.
Above (Left to Right): Cusick’s original Dalek design, Ray Cusick himself, and today’s version of his famous Dalek.
[Summarised from Wikipedia] Born in London, Cusick became interested in engineering while still at art school, and began attending evening classes. He eventually enlisted in the British Army, and after an unpleasant experience he returned to England going on to completing a teacher training course, but then obtained a nine-month position in repertory theatre at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cardiff.
In the late 1950s Cusick took a position teaching art but then noticed an advertisement placed by Granada Television for designers on a show, Chelsea at Nine, which was recorded at the Chelsea Palace Theatre. Cusick then joined the BBC as a staff designer responsible for set design on a large number of Doctor Who stories, designing not just futuristic settings but also historical sets and diorama. Cusick worked on a large variety of television programmes for the BBC including comedy, variety, drama, single plays, and films.
As Cusick was a BBC employee at the time he designed the Daleks, he was on a salary and not paid royalties. Given the large revenue generated by merchandise featuring Cusick's Dalek design, some feel that he should have been paid a royalty (as was script writer Terry Nation, who created the concept of the Daleks but not their design or appearance). However, this was not in the terms of his contract. Despite this, the BBC did recognise his contribution with an ex-gratia payment. Cusick himself never asked for more money; just to be recognised as the designer.
Cusick created the design of first versions of the extraterrestrial race, for the second episode of the original 1963 series of Doctor Who, which feature William Hartnell as The Doctor.
Above: The Daleks most recent appearance in Who episode ‘Asylum Of The Daleks’.
After retiring as an art director for the BBC, Cusick contributed to several specialist magazines about battles from the Napoleonic era.
He leaves behind two daughters and seven grandchildren.
Here is a video from Doctor Who Confidential of Cusick visiting the BBC Props Department in 2007:
The time travelling adventurer, the Doctor, is currently played by Matt Smith and joining him is new co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman, playing Clara who will be the Doctor's new companion in the 7th series which returns Saturday 30th March.
This sad news surely brings a tragic feeling to ‘Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary year and I’m sure many (including myself) miss the great genius that was Cusick.
R.I.P Raymond Cusick.
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