Michael Rye (born John Michael Riorden Billsbury; March 2, 1918 - September 21, 2012) was an American voice actor and television actor. His decades long career spanned radio, television, animated cartoons and video games. He is best known for voicing Green Lantern and Apache Chief in the Super Friends franchise, voicing the Lone Ranger, and his work in radio.
Michael Rye was born John Michael Riorden Billsbury in Chicago, Illinois on March 2, 1918.
He began his career during the Golden Age of Radio when radio programming was at the height of it's popularity. Rye, who broadcastfrom Chicago, participated in an average of forty network radio shows per week.
He was cast in the numerous lead roles for radio shows, including Gary Curtis for the NBC soap opera, Ma Perkins; Tim Lawrence on Guiding Light; Jack Armstrong on the radio adventure series Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy; and Pembroke in the soap opera, Backstage Wife.
He starred in radio productions produced and broadcast from Hollywood, including the ABC crime drama, This is Your F.B.I.; the radio anthology series, Lux Radio Theater; the radio drama, The Whistler; the CBS radio comedy, Meet Millie; and the CBS drama, Suspense. He also provided the narration for the world's first full-length recorded book, the 1969 audio adaptation of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
With the advert of television, Rye transitioned from radio to animation shows and on-screen acting roles. In addition to providing the voice of the Lone Ranger in the 1966 - 1969 cartoon, for which he is perhaps best remembered, Rye worked extensively in Hanna-Barbera productions, including the Scooby-Doo series during the 1970's, and later providing voices for Pound Puppies, which aired on ABC's Saturday morning lineup from 1986 to 1989. Slaghoople, Wilma's Dad in The Flintstones Kids.
He voiced both Apache Chief and Green Lantern in the Hanna-Barbera's Challenge of the Super Friends, The All-New Super Friends Hour, and Super Friends.
He was also cast in Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, which aired from 1985 to 1991, as the voices of King Gregor and his nemesis Duke Igthom, who is also the nemesis of the Gummi Bears.
Rye's on-screen television roles include parts on Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, M Squad, 77 Sunset Strip (co-starring with Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), General Electric Theater, Dr. Kildare, and Wagon Train.
Rye appeared in television and radio commercials in the late 1990's. His career, which began in radio, also spanned the video game era in the 1980's, 1990's, and 2000's. Rye narrated thousands of training films, videos and software for industrial and workplace functions.
Rye served as the National President of the Information Film Producers of American (IFPA) in the 1970's for a single two-year term. He was also inducted as an honorary, lifetime member of Sperdvac, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and comedy.
Michael Rye died from a short illness on September 21, 2012, in Los Angeles at the age of 94. He was survived by his wife, Patricia Foster Rye.