Ray Cusick, who designed the look of the genocidal Daleks for the longrunning science fiction show Doctor Who, has died at the age of 84, according to the BBC. Cusick’s daughter said he died in his sleep after a short illness.
The Daleks made their debut in the second-ever Doctor Who adventure, which premiered in 1963 and was written by Terry Nation. Future Alien director Ridley Scott, who was then working at the BBC, had been originally scheduled to design the look of the Daleks but, because of a scheduling conflict, Cusick was handed the task. In 2005, Cusick confirmed the rumor that the distinctive design of the half-mutant, half-tank Daleks had been inspired by a condiment dispenser. “We went to lunch in the canteen and I was scribbling on the back of napkins the ideas of the Daleks,” he told U.K. tabloid newspaper, The Mirror. “I picked up what could have been a salt pot and moved it around the table. I said, ‘It moves like that, without any arms or legs.'”
The Daleks would go on to become the most famous monster ever to appear on Doctor Who and just last year featured in the premiere episode of the current season, “Asylum of the Daleks.”
Cusick also worked on a large number of other British TV shows including the period drama The Duchess of Duke Street and the children’s show Rentaghost.
You can see Cusick’s design in action in the “Asylum of the Daleks” trailer below.