This article was originally published on January 31 and was updated on February 1 to include confirmation of death and memories provided by Galt’s son Geoff Galneda. Click here to jump to Galneda’s quotes.
John William Galt, a voice actor known for his roles in classic FPSes such as Grandfather Enisi in Prey and Lo Wang in the original 1997 Shadow Warrior, has died. His death was announced by E1M1 Magazine and by 3D Realms, developer of the original Shadow Warrior and Prey.
John Galt’s son, voice actor and animator Geoff Galneda, formerly Galt, contacted PC Gamer to confirm his father’s death. Galt died in his home on January 29 with his son and son’s wife present. Born on April 4, 1940, Galt was 81.
Along with his role as Lo Wang, Galt’s videogame credits include voice work in Shadow Warrior 2, Prey, Deus Ex, Nocturn, and John Romero’s Daikatana. As 3D Realms says in its post recognizing his death, Galt had a lengthy career prior to videogames. He’s credited with roles in TV and film, including the Walker, Texas Ranger television series and films Forrest Gump and JFK, portraying multiple US presidents. More recently he voiced characters in Cyanide and Happiness Shorts.
We just got word that John Galt has died. John was the voice of Lo Wang in the original @ShadowWarrior and Grandfather Enisi in Prey (2006). His career was more than just videogames, make sure and check out his IMDB page.John William GaltApril 4th, 1940 – January 29th, 2022 pic.twitter.com/UmGfefttx0January 30, 2022
Galt appeared in an interview in 2019 with voice actor and YouTuber Jake The Voice. When asked about the beginning of his career, Galt said, “I’ve always wanted to be an actor, all my life.”
He recalled winning an Air Force talent contest in 1958, then touring as entertainment in The American Forces Network broadcast service. “I toured with Johnny Grant’s Operation Starlift with Angie Dickinson and June Blair and Roscoe Ates and all kinds of actors that I had heard about as a youth and was delighted to meet and work with. And that’s how it started really. When I got out of the Air Force I went professional.”
Galt also shared memories of many other roles he’d played, some of which were ethnic caricatures similar to Shadow Warrior’s Lo Wang, whose one-liners and voice were a blend of Chinese and Japanese stereotypes. Galt’s perspective on Lo Wang hadn’t apparently changed with time: He said he was criticized for the role at the time but still wondered why it mattered.
On initially getting the role as Lo Wang, Galt recalls he had already done voice work in games with 3D Realms for monsters and enemies. “So they knew I had that versatility and they thought ‘we’ll try him for Lo Wang’ and it worked.”
Although many players remember him for that role, others reacting to the news of his death fondly recall his voice as several characters in Deus Ex including UNATCO director Joseph Manderley and helicopter pilot Jock, and Grandpa Enisi in Prey.
John Galt’s son shares his memories
Galt’s youngest son Geoff Galneda is also a voice actor, animator, and artist who was involved in bringing Galt’s voice to Cyanide and Happiness animations in recent years.
“He found his validation in voice acting because ‘on camera or on the stage, you have one or a couple of faces. But behind the microphone, you have hundreds of faces,’ and he played up that point by demonstrating a versatile range of character voices,” Galneda says in a statement given to PC Gamer. “He loved to ad-lib and transform the character into something more than what it was. That was him adding his creative flair, and that shone the most with Lo Wang.”
“He was always a stalwart proponent for imaginative storytelling and creativity. He would frequently laugh that he was never much of a gamer, citing his first experience with Doom in the 90’s; Stuck in the first level, collecting and shooting everything in that starting room and unable to proceed because no one told him that spacebar opened doors. Still, he recognized video games for their potential for originality, and celebrated its ability to tell a story.”