Jim French had been a voice actor for Valve games since 2004, and he eventually donned a lead role as Bill from the zombie co-op shooter, Left 4 Dead. He later went on to do voice work in other Valve games with his gruff, yet soft, voice. It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of Jim French’s passing on December 21 at the age of 89.
The voice actor, most notable for his performance as the wise-cracking Vietnam veteran, Bill, also voice two other characters in Valve video games. French made his debut with Valve by playing a small role in the 2004 first-person shooter, Half-Life 2, as Father Grigori in one of the game’s most memorable chapters, “We Don’t Go To Ravenholm…”. He also lent his voice to the Dota 2 hero, Elder Titan, and had another small role in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast as the fisherman. Outside of his work with Valve, he made a cameo as Bill in a Left 4 Dead inspired level of Payday: The Heist, and he also voiced the Scientist in the popular Half-Life mod, Gunman Chronicles.
Before getting into voice acting, Jim French was a radio star, and he got his career off the ground in 1959 as a morning DJ for KIRO (AM). Later on, he formed his own production company, Jim French Productions, and created the drama radio show Imagination Theatre. Due to French’s old age and failing health, it was announced back in February that his production company would be closing down at the end of March. At that point, the popular radio series of Imagination Theatre, Harry Nile, Sherlock Holmes, and Kincaid, came to an end after 21 years straight of being broadcaster around the world. Although production might now be closed, the official Jim French Productions YouTube page has been uploading past broadcasts of their series each week, so Jim French’s legacy can live on.