Copyright ©2018 Guacamoley. All rights reserved.

Meet The Man Whose Voice Eventually Became The Iconic Voice Of Stephen Hawking

Meet The Man Whose Voice Eventually Became The Iconic Voice Of Stephen Hawking
Updated 2 months ago

In the '80s after Stephen Hawking lost his ability to speak, he began looking into text-to-speech options. It was at MIT that Hawking met American Dennis Klatt, who was also working with computer-generated speech algorithms. Klatt lent his voice to one of the first programs that changed text into speech. It was called the DECtalk, and the company that made Hawking's first computer incorporated Klatt's voice. 

Hawking would continue to use Klatt's voice as his own for many years. In fact, the filmmakers for The Theory of Everything had to get Hawking's permission to use the likeness in the movie. Over the years, Hawking had been offered an upgrade on the voice but he always declined, preferring to keep Klatt's original. 

When speaking with the Queen of England, who asked if Hawking still had that American voice, Hawking quipped:

 Yes, it is copyrighted actually.

Klatt, a member of MIT's Speech Communication Group, passed away in 1989, just a year after Hawking began using his voice. He was committed to assisting those with disabilities using his knowledge of computational linguistics.

Thank you, Mr. Klatt, for giving a voice to one of the greatest minds of our time.

Hawking used his voice to appear in many animated shows, recording his own voiceover work.

Hawking also participated in a humorous video for the Paralympics.