Peter Keefe, 1953-2010
Peter Keefe, creator of the 80’s hit sensation Voltron, passed away May 27th, 2010. His brother Chris Keefe had said his brother passed away due to complications from throat cancer. In additional to his brothers Chris and Tony, Mr. Keefe is survived
by his wife, Pamela Mills Keefe, a stepson, James Mills; his mother, Anne Keefe,and three sisters, Lisa Keefe Updaw, Mollie Keefe
Jones, and Kitty Keefe of Cleveland.
Keefe created Voltron by way of licensing Japanese cartoons “Beast King Go-Lion” and “Armored Fleet Dairugger
XV,” which he discovered in 1983 at a merchandise licensing convention
in Japan. Give credit where it’s due kiddos. Keefe’s splicing of show content, and creating “western friendly” plot helped Americanize Voltron as the predecessor to the eventual “Power Rangers” empire in the 1990s. Keefe was said to “live and breathe Voltron”, taking over the reigns for several other iterations of the lion-led animated super-team after the well of Japanese stock footage ran dry.
After “Voltron,” Mr. Keefe continued to create television shows, including Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Denver the Last Dinosaur, Widget the World Watcher, and The Mr. Bogus Show. He was working on “Z-Force”, another cartoon at the time of his passing. Sadly, he wasn’t part of the production team for the forthcoming “Voltron Force” set to debut on Nicktoons later in the fall.
I’ll add on a personal note that Voltron was easily the first cartoon that resonated with me as a child growing up in the 80’s. While the plot was thin and repetitive (we get it, just form the giant robot already, and save the day already!) the show holds a soft spot in my heart. And at only 57 years old, it would seem Mr. Keefe should have had more time to help bring his vision to the airwaves. Another loss to the community of creators. Fellow Voltron lovers, place your lions at half attack mode in honor of the man who gave us the Defender of the Universe.