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American film and TV actor William Sylvester left his most enduring cinematic legacy with a brief but crucial expository role in director Stanley Kubrick's epic 1968 space adventure, "2001: A Space Odyssey." Although his somewhat remote performance as Dr. Heywood Floyd (a scientist sent early in the film to investigate a magnetic anomaly on the surface of the moon) was all but overshadowed by that of iconic on-board computer HAL 9000, the film's primary antagonist, it nevertheless provided grist for one of the story's central themes: human evolution. Sylvester, a native of Oakland, California, moved to England after WWII, kick-starting his acting career by appearing in dozens of British-made B-films. After finding some success in the horror genre, including lead roles in the monster feature "Gorgo" (1961) and the campy "Devil Doll," Sylvester returned to the United States in the late 1960s to earn his most famous film credit, gradually fading away in the 1970s with minor roles on American TV.
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