AudioFile

June/July 2020

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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Farmer Pickles, Mr. Beasley, and Mr. Sabatini catapulted him to voice-over fame in the 1990s. Playing the role until 2005, Bill always enthusiastically fulfilled requests to call fans on their birthdays or in the hospital to wish them well in character. His passion for voicing animation extended to the burgeoning field of audiobooks. Bill was one of the first in the U.S. to build an independent, all-digital production house, which became Mind's Eye Productions. The community of regional and national actors he brought into this Southern Maine studio was soon competing with much larger facilities in New York, Los Angeles, and London. When he needed to cast a production, he cast not only award-winning narrators and nationally known actors but also local actors whose work he respected equally. He was nominated 12 times as an audiobook finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Awards and won the Best Nonfiction Award in 2012. He was named one of the "Best Voices of the Century" by AudioFile. Bill's passion for the immersive audio dramas he'd done in his days at the BBC never left him. In addition to his audiobook narration and pro- duction business, he worked to revive the art of radio drama in America. He launched the Rocky Coast Radio Theatre, which produced dramatiza- tions of classic horror stories by Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. With Lance Roger Millions who never met William Dufris have heard his voice. Whether it was his voicing of the chil- dren's character Bob the Builder or his narration of one of 400+ audiobooks, Bill's voice was heard in living rooms, on car rides, and in earbuds around the world. To those who knew the man behind the microphone, Bill will be remembered as a ceaselessly positive human, delivering hugs and guffaws, bringing out the best in the people around him, and condemning the wrongs in the world. Bill left this world on March 24, 2020, surrounded by his family after an epic battle with esophageal cancer. He leaves behind an audiobook and audio drama legacy and a devoted cir- cle of family and friends whose talents he was continuously lifting. Remembering William Dufris Photo by Jennifer Steele 30 n AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com While studying acting at the University of Southern Maine, Bill per- formed in many theater productions including True West, in which he shared the stage with David LaGraffe, who became his lifelong friend. Looking for larger stages and experiences, Bill moved to the UK. There he worked with BBC innovator Dirk Maggs and estab- lished his love for radio drama. For BBC Radio, he played the role of Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man as well as performing in An American Werewolf in London, Judge Dredd, and Voyage. Bill founded his own performing group, The Story Circle, in London and taught acting to young people. Just as Bill was returning to the U.S., he landed the title role in the "Bob the Builder" cartoon series. His performance in the roles of Bob, Bill's passion for the immersive audio dramas he'd done in his days at the BBC never left him.

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