William Daniels The Actor

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KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), Knight Rider

Television, 1982-1986

As a favor to producer Glen Larson, I did a few pages of lines in a Universal Studios recording room for a detective/adventure series that would feature a talking car. I was incredulous, but figured the session would be short. I was advised to sound like a robot or a telephone operator. I ignored the suggestions and continued in my own voice.

I was amazed when NBC bought the series and they asked me to be the car. But it was a nice extra paycheck that would take little time from my main job at St. Elsewhere. I took no billing and figured no one would know. I was wrong. Thirty years later people are still recognizing my voice as that of the Trans Am on Knight Rider.

The day after the show premiered I was taking a walk in my neighborhood when a stranger standing on his lawn on the other side of the street yelled, “Hey, congratulations on your new show!” How the heck had he figured it out? I mumbled some kind of acknowledgement which I hope managed to combine a note of gratitude and hurried on. Apparently, I was the last to know that my voice was such a signature--there was no hiding.