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Star Trek Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

In "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner), attending a diplomatic dinner aboard the Enterprise, raises a toast to "the undiscovered country ... the future." But Gorkon, who's quoting Shakespeare, has the Bard's meaning wrong: in "Hamlet," the title character uses the phrase to refer not to the future, but to death, what lies beyond it, and our fear of what that might be.

Sadly, Gorkon himself crosses over to the "undiscovered country" shortly thereafter, and actor David Warner himself exited stage left in 2022. We're equally sorry to say that a lot of actors from the "Star Trek" universe — the now-vast spectrum of TV shows and movies that the franchise has generated — have also made that journey to the great unknown that waits beyond this plane of existence.

It's hardly surprising that many talented actors involved with a decades-old property have moved beyond the realm of human understanding. But while some left us years ago, others have only passed on more recently. Regretfully, a lot of names didn't make the already sizable list we've compiled, but the ones we have included all made a mark on "Trek" history in some large or small fashion, whether you knew they had passed away or not.

Jeffrey Hunter (Captain Christopher Pike)

Before Captain James T. Kirk took the center seat on the Enterprise, she was commanded by Captain Christopher Pike. Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Pike in the original "Star Trek" pilot, "The Cage," but when NBC asked for a second pilot, Hunter refused to return. Multiple accounts by other key "Star Trek" personnel suggest that his wife at the time played a major role in his decision, which led "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry to cast William Shatner as the newly rechristened Captain Kirk.

Pike remained part of "Trek" canon, with Roddenberry incorporating footage from "The Cage" into a two-part episode called "The Menagerie." As for Hunter, his modestly successful career had already included roles in the groundbreaking Western "The Searchers" (1956) and the Biblical epic "King of Kings" (1961), in which he played Jesus Christ. He continued to work in films and TV after "Trek," but suffered a brain hemorrhage on May 26, 1969, at his home in Van Nuys, California, and fell down some stairs, fracturing his skull. The 42-year-old Hunter died the next morning, on May 27, 1969.

Roger C. Carmel (Harry Mudd)

While the Klingons and Romulans were recurring enemies on the original "Star Trek," only one individual villain appeared on the show more than once: Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd, interstellar con man, indelibly portrayed in Season 1's "Mudd's Women" and Season 2's "I, Mudd" by character actor Roger C. Carmel.

In his early 30s when he played Mudd, Carmel had already racked up a sizable amount of credits on Broadway, TV, and in film when he got the nod. He voiced the character once more for "Mudd's Passion," a 1973 episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series," and made guest appearances on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Dick van Dyke Show," "Batman," "The Munsters," "Hawaii Five-0," "All in the Family," "Laverne and Shirley," and many others. Carmel later shifted mostly to voice work before playing "Senor Naugles" in a successful but short-lived ad campaign for a Mexican restaurant chain called Naugles.

Carmel died at age 54 on November 11, 1986. Although the official cause of death was "hypertrophic cardiomyopathy" — a disease of the heart muscles — rumors persisted for years that he either committed suicide or overdosed.

Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus, T'Jon)

In "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," Admiral James T. Kirk finally confronts a secret from his past — namely, that he has a grown son named David from a previous relationship with Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch), head of the Genesis Project. Although father and son are initially not on good terms, they reconcile by the end of the film — only for David to meet his death at the hands of the Klingons in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock."

David was played by Merritt Butrick, a Florida native who amassed a steady amount of work between 1981 and 1989 — mostly on TV — that included a regular role as Johnny Slash on "Square Pegs" and a guest appearance on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 1 episode "Symbiosis" as an alien named T'Jon. Unfortunately, his career was cut short when he died at age 29, due to complications from AIDS, on March 17, 1989.

Susan Oliver (Vina)

Susan Oliver had been working since 1955 in TV and movies when she was asked to appear as Vina, a human woman imprisoned on the planet Talos IV in "The Cage," the first, unsold pilot for "Star Trek." Vina appears in different guises throughout the show, most notable as a green Orion slave girl who does an erotic dance to tempt Captain Christopher Pike. Oliver's green-painted visage — the result of a long, tedious make-up process — became an enduring image of "Star Trek" after footage from "The Cage" was recycled for the two-part Season 1 episode "The Menagerie."

Oliver continued to act and even direct, mostly on TV, into the late '80s and was nominated for an Emmy for a supporting role in the 1976 TV movie "Amelia Earhart." She was also a licensed commercial pilot who attempted to become the first female pilot to fly from the U.S. to Moscow, but was refused entry to Soviet airspace. She died from lung cancer on May 10, 1990 at the age of 58. A documentary about her life, "The Green Girl," was released in 2014.

Jill Ireland (Leila Kalomi)

One of the most memorable episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series" was Season 1's "This Side of Paradise," in which the crew comes under the influence of a euphoria-inducing spore while visiting a space colony. One of the colonists, Leila Kalomi, once had an unrequited crush on Mr. Spock, who of course could not return her love — until she exposed him to the spores in a bid to keep him with her on the planet.

Leila was played by Jill Ireland, an English actor who also appeared in '60s TV staples like "Ben Casey," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "My Favorite Martian," and five episodes of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the latter with then-husband David McCallum. But she was perhaps best known for her personal and professional collaboration with tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, whom she married in 1968. She made some 15 films with him, including "The Valachi Papers," "The Mechanic" (both 1972), and "Death Wish II" in 1982. Ireland and Bronson remained married until her death at age 54 from breast cancer — for which she became a dedicated awareness advocate — on May 18, 1990.

Bibi Besch (Dr. Carol Marcus)

Like many "Star Trek" veterans, Vienna-born actor Bibi Besch developed an extensive career in television and film since making her debut in 1966, turning up on hit shows like "The Rockford Files," "Murder, She Wrote," and "The Golden Girls." But she did not appear on a "Trek" TV series — instead, she played Dr. Carol Martin, inventor of the Genesis Project and mother of James T. Kirk's estranged son David in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

Besch's post-"Khan" work included a reunion with that film's director, Nicholas Meyer, for the disturbing 1983 nuclear war TV film "The Day After," along with recurring roles on "Falcon's Crest," "Northern Exposure," and "The Jeff Foxworthy Show." Besch kept working right up until her death from breast cancer at the age of 54 on September 7, 1996, and even showed up in an episode of "Melrose Place" that aired two days after her passing.

Mark Lenard (Romulan Commander, Sarek)

After the original regular cast, there may have been no "Star Trek: The Original Series" actor more closely associated with the show than Mark Lenard. The actor first appeared in the classic Season 1 episode "Balance of Terror" as the commander of a Romulan vessel playing a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the Enterprise. He returned in Season 2 as Sarek, the estranged father of Mr. Spock, in the equally popular episode "Journey to Babel."

Lenard voiced Sarek for the "Yesteryear" episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series," and showed up as a Klingon commander in 1979's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" — making him the only actor to play a member of the three major "Trek" alien races. He donned the ears again as Sarek for three feature films, also reprising the character in the "Sarek" and "Unification Part I" episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Sarek was clearly Lenard's most famous role, but his journeyman career also included extensive work on the stage as well as guest spots on "The Incredible Hulk," "Hawaii Five-0," "Mission: Impossible," and a recurring role as General Urko on the short-lived 1974 "Planet of the Apes" series. Lenard died on November 22, 1996, at the age of 72 from cancer.

Persis Khambatta (Lieutenant Ilia)

Born in Bombay in 1948, Persis Khambatta became, in 1965, just the third Indian woman in history to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Her work as a model led to small roles in a handful of Bollywood and British pictures before she was picked to play Lieutenant Ilia, the bald Deltan navigator of the Enterprise. Khambatta agreed to shave her head for the role, which was initially developed in 1977 for the "Star Trek: Phase II" TV series before that was abandoned in favor of the 1979 film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." 

Her appearance in "ST: TMP" led to more roles in films like "Nighthawks" and "Megaforce," and although she was a contender for the title role in the James Bond thriller "Octopussy," the part went to Maud Adams. Guest shots on shows like "MacGyver" and "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" followed. Plagued since 1980 by health problems, Khambatta succumbed to a heart attack in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on August 18, 1998, at the age of 49.

DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy)

Born in Georgia in 1920, DeForest Kelley pursued acting after serving in World War II and landed his first role in the 1946 film "Fear in the Night." A consistent if not especially remarkable stream of film, stage, and TV gigs followed, with his role as Morgan Earp in 1957's "Gunfight at the OK Corral" getting him cast mostly as villains for the next nine years.

Although he was at one point considered for the role of Mr. Spock, Kelley appeared in neither of the show's two pilots, "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Series creator Gene Roddenberry offered him the role of the Chief Medical Officer, renamed McCoy, prior to the beginning of production on Season 1, and Kelley went on to appear in all but three episodes during the show's three-year, 79-episode run. He also voiced McCoy in "Star Trek: The Animated Series."

Like many "The Original Series" cast members, Kelley hit a dry spell in the 1970s until he got the call for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." That led to five subsequent films and a brief cameo on the premiere episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." McCoy's signature line — "I'm a doctor, not a..." — his mix of sarcasm and compassion, and his chemistry with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy made "Bones" McCoy an indispensable part of "Star Trek." Kelley died of stomach cancer at the age of 79 on June 11, 1999.

John Colicos (Commander Kor)

Canadian actor John Colicos made "Star Trek" history as Kor, the show's first major Klingon adversary, in the original series' Season 1 episode "Errand of Mercy." According to Marc Cushman's "These Are The Voyages," Colicos was supposed to play Kor again in Season 2's "The Trouble with Tribbles" and Season 3's "Day of the Dove," but was unavailable both times. He — along with the actors who did play the main Klingon antagonists on those segments — later appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," reprising Kor in the episode "Blood Oath."

In addition to two more episodes of "Deep Space Nine," Colicos' other sci-fi credentials include the role of Count Baltar on the original 1978 "Battlestar Galactica" and voicing Apocalypse on "X-Men: The Animated Series" in the mid-1990s. Before his death at age 71 on March 6, 2000, after several heart attacks, Colicos had compiled nearly a hundred screen credits — but he'll always be the first Klingon.

Frank Gorshin (Commissioner Bele)

Actor and impressionist Frank Gorshin was at the center of one of "Star Trek"'s most overt studies of bigotry and racism, the Season 3 episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Gorshin played Commissioner Bele of the planet Cheron, whose skin was white on the left and black on the right. Bele was in pursuit of an escaped political prisoner named Lokai (Lou Antonio), who sought asylum on the Enterprise — and whose crime was being white on the right and black on the left.

Gorshin is best known for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of the Riddler on the 1960s "Batman" TV series and its spinoff movie. According to CBR, his version of the Riddler was actually influenced by the villain's return in the comics, where the Riddler had been dormant for more than a decade.

Along with the usual gamut of TV and movie credits, Gorshin was popular in Las Vegas nightclubs for his impressionist act. He performed the same act several times on "The Ed Sullivan Show," including on the historic night in 1964 that the Beatles made their US debut on the program. A lifelong smoker, Gorshin died of lung cancer and emphysema on May 17, 2005, at the age of 72.

James Doohan (Chief Engineer Scott)

No one loved the Enterprise more than her Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, and James Doohan's portrayal of the "miracle worker" is a cornerstone of the "Star Trek" universe — even if, according to "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story," creator Gene Roddenberry almost fired him following his debut in the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Instead, Doohan's "Scotty" was an integral part of all three seasons of the original series, the animated series, and seven of the feature films, as well as a sixth season episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

A veteran of World War II, the Canadian-born Doohan saw combat and was wounded during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He already had a vast trove of TV and radio work under his belt when he boarded the Enterprise, and was quite adept at voiceover work — he often voiced aliens, computers and other non-humanoids on "Star Trek: The Original Series," and performed multiple roles on the animated series. While work outside of "Star Trek" dried up in his later years, he remained enormously popular at "Star Trek" conventions until 2004, when Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease forced him out of the spotlight. He beamed up for good on July 20, 2005, and some of his ashes made it into space in 2008 and 2012.

Jane Wyatt (Amanda Grayson)

While Jane Wyatt had a long and distinguished career in film and TV that stretched from 1934 to 1992, she is probably best remembered for two roles: as homemaker Margaret Anderson for six seasons and some 200-plus episodes of the sitcom "Father Knows Best" (1954-1960) and as Amanda Grayson, the human mother of the Enterprise's First Officer, Mr. Spock.

She first played Amanda on the Season 2 episode "Journey to Babel," one of the best episodes of the original series, which movingly explored the back story of Spock and his strained relationship with his father Sarek (Mark Lenard). Wyatt reprised the role in 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." She won three Emmys for "Father Knows Best" and worked consistently for the rest of her life, even scoring a recurring role on "St. Elsewhere" from 1985 to 1987. With us until the age of 96, Wyatt passed away on October 20, 2006, in Bel-Air, California.

Lee Bergere (Abraham Lincoln)

Lee Bergere's one appearance on "Star Trek: The Original Series" was a memorable one: In the Season 3 episode "The Savage Curtain," he played President Abraham Lincoln — or rather, a simulacrum of Lincoln created by the aliens known as the Excalbians to fight alongside Kirk, Spock and a similar recreation of the Vulcan philosopher Surak in a contest staged to explore the nature of good vs. evil.

While the episode is considered among the silliest in the "Trek" canon, Bergere did bring a certain dignity and gravitas to the role. As with many "Trek" guests, the Brooklyn-born Bergere was the very definition of a working character actor, with more than 150 TV credits. He appeared regularly as head servant Joseph Anders on the first three seasons of "Dynasty" (1981-1983), and showed up in the 1975 ABC series "The Hot l Baltimore" as one half of a middle-aged gay couple — at the time a groundbreaking scenario for network TV. Bergere died at the age of 88 on January 31, 2007, in Fremont, New Hampshire from undisclosed causes.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Number One, Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana Troi)

Known as "The First Lady of 'Star Trek,'" Majel Barrett Roddenberry's long personal and professional history with the franchise is almost too extensive to go into here. But we'll try: The aspiring actor met then-married "Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry in 1961, and at some point, the pair began an affair. Roddenberry cast Barrett as Number One in the first "Trek" pilot, "The Cage," but was asked to remove the character for the second pilot and subsequent series. Nevertheless, Roddenberry snuck her back onto the series in the role of Nurse Christine Chapel — a move that (according to the book "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story") almost got the both of them fired by Desilu Studios head Lucille Ball, who had backed "Trek."

Roddenberry and Barrett stuck around, however, and Barrett — who married Roddenberry in 1969 — played Chapel in 25 original series episodes, as well as "The Animated Series" and two of the feature films. She later played Lwaxana Troi, mother of ship's counselor Deanna Troi, on multiple episodes of "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." She also provided the voice of the ship's computer on "The Original Series," "The Animated Series," "The Next Generation," "Deep Space 9," "Voyager" and "Enterprise," as well as for the 2009 reboot film, "Star Trek," for which she completed her work shortly before her death. A regular on the convention circuit, she was devoted to Roddenberry — who died in 1991 — and "Trek" until she died of leukemia on December 18, 2008, at the age of 76.

Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonien Singh)

Khan Noonien Singh is generally considered one of the greatest "Star Trek" villains — if not the greatest — in the series' long history. One of a group of genetically enhanced humans who tried to conquer Earth in the late 20th century, he and his followers put themselves in suspended animation aboard an interstellar vessel and slept for centuries, waking up and trying to take over the Enterprise in the classic episode "Space Seed."

Khan returned 15 years later in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," out for revenge against Captain Kirk for the death of Khan's wife. Khan was played both times by the Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban, who would also star as Mr. Roarke on the hit 1970s TV series "Fantasy Island" and also play the key role of circus owner Armando in two of the "Planet of the Apes" movies from earlier that decade. A star in Mexico since the 1940s, he kept working right into his 80s, landing late roles in the "Spy Kids" series. Montalban also co-founded the Nosotros Foundation to advocate for the better portrayal of Latinos in the entertainment industry. He died at age 88 from heart failure on January 14, 2009.

William Campbell (Trelane, Captain Koloth)

Born in Newark, New Jersey, veteran actor William Campbell had the distinction of playing two of the best-known villains on the original "Trek" series. First up in Season 1 was Trelane, the super-powered being known as "The Squire of Gothos" who turns out to be a spoiled child using the Enterprise and its crew as literal playthings. In Season 2, he played Captain Koloth, the slippery Klingon commander who clashes with Kirk in "The Trouble with Tribbles" — a role he reprised for the "Blood Oath" episode of "Deep Space Nine."

Among Campbell's other credits were the 1954 disaster movie "The High and the Mighty," 1956's "Love Me Tender," which was Elvis Presley's screen debut, 1963's "Dementia 13," which was Francis Ford Coppola's first directorial effort, and the 1964 psychological thriller "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," with Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. He passed away on April 28, 2011, aged 87, from an undisclosed illness.

William Windom (Commodore Matt Decker)

Veteran actor William Windom had the opportunity to appear in three of sci-fi's greatest screen franchises during his almost 60 years in the business: He starred in the classic "Twilight Zone" episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" in 1961, played the President of the United States in 1971's "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," and guest-starred as the obsessed Commodore Matt Decker in the Season 2 "The Original Series" episode "The Doomsday Machine."

In this widely acclaimed favorite among fans, Decker's own vessel is wrecked and his entire crew killed by a giant alien robot that smashes planets to pieces, so he hijacks command of the Enterprise in a quixotic attempt to destroy the automaton before it ventures into the rest of the galaxy.

In addition to his top-shelf sci-fi credits, the gruff-voiced Windom made his film debut in 1962 in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and guested on just about every major network TV series around between the 1950s and early 2000s, including a longtime recurring role on "Murder, She Wrote." Congestive heart failure took his life at the age of 88 on August 16, 2012.

Michael Ansara (Commander Kang)

Of Syrian descent, actor Michael Ansara was often cast as Native American, Latino, and Middle Eastern characters in a long variety of films and TV shows. Before playing the brutal yet reasonable Commander Kang on the Season 3 "The Original Series" adventure "Day of the Dove," he was best known for playing the legendary Native American Cochise on the TV series "Broken Arrow." Fans will also remember him as King Kamehameha in a segment of "I Dream of Jeannie" opposite Barbara Eden, to whom he was also married for 16 years, a killer from the future in the 1964 "Outer Limits" episode "Soldier," and as the voice of Mr. Freeze on "Batman: The Animated Series."

Along with fellow "The Original Series" Klingons John Colicos and William Campbell, he got to reprise the role of Kang on the "Deep Space Nine" episode "Blood Oath" and essayed the role again in the "Voyager" segment "Flashback." Ansara died on July 31, 2013, at the age of 91, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock)

What can be said about the great Leonard Nimoy and his truly iconic portrayal of Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock that hasn't already been said? Cast by Gene Roddenberry in the role for the very first "Trek" pilot, "The Cage," Nimoy's Spock was the only character that survived a complete cast overhaul for the show's second pilot and the series — even though the network (NBC) was against his inclusion. The cool, logical, half-human (and Emmy-nominated) Spock became the show's most popular character and remains a bracing combination of rationality, intellect, compassion, and loyalty.

Nimoy's place in pop culture history had long been secured when he passed away at age 83 on February 27, 2015, from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In addition to his extensive acting and directing credits — which included two of the "Star Trek" feature films — Nimoy was a longtime advocate for the arts, a devotee to science, and an activist for Jewish causes. And how many legendary actors can say they've had an asteroid named after them?

Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand)

Grace Lee Whitney appeared as Yeoman Janice Rand in just eight episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series," but she is nevertheless an enduring character and image from the show's early days. Halfway through the first season, despite heavy promotion as a cast member, Whitney was released from her contract. Reasons given for her exit include budget cuts and a desire on the network's part to let Kirk pursue women on the show without having Rand around — although she later alleged that a sexual assault by an unnamed studio exec may have contributed as well.

Whitney did return for brief appearances in four of the "Star Trek" feature films and remained popular on the "Trek" convention circuit. She had a long screen and singing career before "Trek" and continued to work afterward, although she dedicated much of her later years, as a survivor of substance and alcohol abuse, to helping others with their recovery. She died on May 1, 2015, at the age of 85 from natural causes.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Yvonne Craig (Marta)

Actor and dancer Yvonne Craig was just the second green-skinned woman to appear on "Star Trek: The Original Series," after Susan Oliver in "The Cage," but her turn as Orion asylum inmate Marta in the Season 3 episode "Whom Gods Destroy" was a memorable one. Unlike Oliver, Craig was trained as a dancer and used those skills to remarkable effect in the episode, one of the show's campiest.

Although her long film and TV career began in 1957, Craig of course rocketed to fame a decade later when she was cast as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl on the third season of the ABC-TV series "Batman." According to Huffington Post, Craig said she did all her own stunts for the show, and her combination of "ass-kicking" crime fighter and brainy librarian made her a "pioneer of female superheroes" on television. She died of breast cancer at age 78 on August 17, 2015.

Anton Yelchin (Ensign Pavel Chekov)

His too-brief career only hinted at his talent and potential, but during his 27 years on Earth, Russian-born Anton Yelchin still managed to make an impact on audiences around the world. Yelchin was cast as Ensign Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of "Star Trek," also playing the role in 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness" and 2016's "Star Trek Beyond" (the latter released after his death). Franchise producers announced that the role would not be recast after Yelchin's death in a freak accident on June 19, 2016.

Before finding mainstream fame with "Trek," Yelchin first made an impression in 2002 in the TV series "Taken" and went on to star in films such as "Alpha Dog," "Terminator Salvation," "Like Crazy," "Fright Night," and "Green Room." He also voiced Clumsy Smurf in three "Smurfs" movies and provided the voice of Jim Lake Jr. in the animated series "Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia." A documentary about his life, "Love, Antosha," premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Robert Walker Jr. (Charlie Evans)

Born in Queens, New York to actors Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, Robert Walker Jr. made his mark in spectacular fashion on "Star Trek" as Charles Evans, the teenage boy at the center of "Charlie X." The second "The Original Series" episode ever aired focused on Charlie's inability to integrate back with other humans after living for 14 years on a planet by himself. The incorporeal aliens on the planet, the Thasians, gave Charlie vast powers so that he could survive — powers he was too immature to use among his own kind.

Although Walker continued to work sporadically through the '70s, '80s and '90s, his greatest success came in the 1950s and '60s. In addition to "Charlie X" — considered one of the best "Trek" episodes of all time — he appeared in the 1969 counter-culture classic "Easy Rider," alongside John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in 1967's "The War Wagon," and in TV shows such as "Bonanza," "Columbo," "Quincy, M.E.," and "L.A. Law." He died on December 5, 2019, at age 79 from undisclosed causes.

René Auberjonois (Odo)

Born in New York City of Swiss and French descent, René Auberjonois began his career in the theater and landed three Broadway plays during the 1968-1969 season, earning a Tony Award for his work in the third, "Coco." More theater work followed, while his first big film breakthrough was as Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman's 1970 film "M*A*S*H." Auberjonois appeared in several more Altman films, along with movies like "The Hindenburg," the 1976 remake of "King Kong," 1980's "Where the Buffalo Roam," and 1995's "Batman Forever."

He had a brief role in 1991's "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country," but his lasting contribution to the franchise was on "Deep Space Nine," where he played the title station's shapeshifting head of security, Odo. The conflicted character — who helped the Federation battle his own race, the Founders — was a fan favorite. Auberjonois died of lung cancer at age 79 on December 8, 2019.

Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)

By the 1980s, "Star Trek" already had a long history of high-caliber guest stars, including Jane Wyatt, Joan Collins, and Ricardo Montalban. For "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" they added Brock Peters, star of the Academy Award-winning 1962 classic, "To Kill a Mockingbird." In the film, he starred as Admiral Cartwright, and he returned for "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" where it was revealed that he had betrayed the Federation and allied with a group of dissident Klingons to sabotage peace talks. 

Peters would be cast a second time in the franchise in 1996, in a very different role. That year he joined the spin-off series, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," as Joseph Sisko, father to Captain Benjamin Sisko. He'd play the role in six episodes, including the acclaimed installment, "Far Beyond the Stars." 

Outside of "Trek," Peters also starred in a number of famous films, including "Soylent Green" and "Porgy and Bess," which was adapted from the musical he'd also starred in on Broadway years earlier. Sci-fi fans may also recognize him as the voice of Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" radio dramas where he stood in for the inimitable James Earl Jones. Peters died after a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2005 at the age of 78.

Cecily Adams (Ishka)

In the 1995 "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode, "Family Business," renowned comedian Andrea Martin was cast to play the Ferengi bartender Quark's mother, Ishka. But once the series decided to make her something of a recurring character, veteran character actor Cecily Adams was brought in to fill the role in four additional episodes of the series. Despite playing the mother of regulars Quark and Rom, Adams was actually younger than the actors who played them, leaving it to the series' impressive makeup effects to make her appear as an elderly alien.

The daughter of "Get Smart" star Don Adams, Cecily wasn't as much of an actor as her father, making only brief on-screen appearances in small roles in shows like "Party of Five," "Just Shoot Me!," and "Home Improvement." For most of her career, Adams was actually a casting director, and worked on classics like "That '70s Show" and "Third Rock from the Sun." Sadly, in 2004, Adams passed away from lung cancer at the young age of just 46.

Ray Walston (Boothby)

In a key episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that sees the Enterprise return to Earth, producers needed a veteran actor to play an enigmatic character known as Boothby, who had been mentioned before by Picard as a wise and sagely groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy. They turned to Hollywood legend Ray Walston, who would join the cast of the hit series, "Picket Fences," later that same year.

Walston had a long and varied career, but might be best known for his iconic role as the titular alien in the 1963 series, "My Favorite Martian," or perhaps as Mr. Hand in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." With a list of credits too long to rattle off every classic series he popped up in, it's enough to say that he was a mainstay on screens big and small across many decades. He'd even return to the role of Boothby (sort of) when he guest starred in two episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager," once as an alien posing as the Starfleet gardener, and a second time in an elaborate dream sequence. He continued acting right up until his death in 2001 at the age of 86.

Robert Lansing (Gary Seven)

Television audiences of the 1960s knew Robert Lansing well, as he could be seen all over the dial on some of the biggest TV shows of the day. He made appearances in episodes of "Wagon Train," "The Twilight Zone," and "Gunsmoke" among countless others, but that was hardly the end of his illustrious television career. Into the 1980s he played Control, the mysterious supervisor of Robert McCall in the hit action series, "The Equalizer," and Lt. Jack Curtis in the short-lived sci-fi adventure show, "Automan."

During his heyday, Lansing was brought in to play Gary Seven in the classic "Star Trek" episode, "Assignment: Earth." The original idea was for the episode to serve as a backdoor pilot for Lansing and fellow guest star Terri Garr, who would potentially star in a spin-off series centered around Seven — a human visitor from another world who watched over the affairs of mankind in the 20th century. Though it never came to fruition, the role of Gary Seven has become a fan favorite over the years. Lansing passed away in 1994, and his legacy lives on as the story of Gary Seven's people and their mission was continued in Season 2 of "Star Trek: Picard" in 2021. 

Kevin Conway (Kahless)

In "Star Trek" lore, there are few mythological figures that conjure up as much mystique and reverence as the great Klingon warrior known as Kahless. First mentioned in an episode of the original "Star Trek," he is said to be the founder of the Klingon Empire. In "Star Trek: The Next Generation" his legend grew and was said to be the greatest warrior in Klingon history, an almost Christ-like figure who united his people and who was prophesied to return one day to lead his people to new glory. When he did, resurrected by genetic engineering in the episode "Rightful Heir," he was played by Kevin Conway.

But playing Kahless wasn't Conway's only contribution to science fiction. Fans know Conway's voice well in fact, as he provided the intro and outro narration for the 1995 reboot of "The Outer Limits." He also had a lengthy career on the big screen, mostly playing supporting roles in movies like "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Jennifer 8," and "The Quick and the Dead." He had countless credits on TV, and in the late 2000s he joined "The Good Wife" in a recurring role as Jonas Stern, his final on-screen role. He died in 2020. 

Paul Sorvino (Nicolai)

When "Star Trek: The Next Generation" launched in 1987, the franchise was already a global icon, and stars big and small lined up with offers for guest spots on the series, with the likes of Mick Fleetwood, Stephen Hawking, and Whoopi Goldberg all asking to appear and getting their wish. In Season 7 of the series, another star got the chance to play "Trek," with Paul Sorvino joining the 1994 episode, "Homeward," as Worf's human brother, Nikolai.

In that episode, Nikolai breaks the Prime Directive to help save a village of a primitive civilization whose planet is dying, eventually leaving his life in the 24th century to join them at the story's conclusion. Sorvino was already a legend by 1993 when the episode aired, famous for his role as Paul Cicero in "Goodfellas," and later as Sgt. Cerreta for a season in "Law & Order" early in its run.

He often found himself starring as a father figure, including in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" as Juliet's father, and as Bruce Willis' dad in "Moonlighting." In real life, he is the father to Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino. In July 2022, Sorvino passed away at the age of 83, leaving behind many well-loved film and television roles for his fans to remember him by.

Sally Kellerman (Elizabeth Dehner)

With a career that touched parts of seven decades, members of every generation would recognize Sally Kellerman from one role or another. Many might know her best for originating the role of "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the feature film version of "MASH," while '80s kids no doubt recognize her as the ghost of adult film star Roxy Dujour from "Meatballs III: Summer Job." Even in later years, Kellerman was still active, appearing in episodes of "The Young and the Restless," "Workaholics," and "Law & Order: LA" in the 2010s.

But before all of those roles, Kellerman appeared in one of the most famous episodes of "Star Trek" from 1966, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Notable for being the second pilot of the series and the first episode filmed with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, it was the third episode aired overall. In the story, Kellerman plays Enterprise officer Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, who, along with helmsman Gary Mitchell, achieves godlike powers. Long after her appearance, Kellerman continued making appearances at "Star Trek" conventions up until her death in February 2022.

Richard Herd (Admiral Paris)

Actor Richard Herd had a number of roles in iconic sci-fi franchises. He played the Visitors' Supreme Commander in the cult classic, "V," in 1983 and its follow-up, "V: The Final Battle." He also turned up in recurring roles in "SeaQuest DSV," as well as a pair of episodes of "Quantum Leap." Trekkies will no doubt remember him as Admiral Paris, the father of "Star Trek: Voyager" helmsman Tom Paris, who becomes a presence in the later seasons of the show as the ship got closer to home. 

But playing Admiral Owen Paris wasn't Herd's only role in "Star Trek." In the "Next Generation" episode, "Birthright," he also portrayed the elder L'Kor, leader of a group of Klingons who had been taken captive by Romulans and made a home on a remote colony in peace with their former adversaries. But outside of "Trek," audiences probably remember him best from "Seinfeld" as Mr. Wilhem, George Costanza's boss when he was Assistant to the General Manager of the New York Yankees. After a long and successful career, Herd died from complications from cancer at the age of 87 in 2020.

W. Morgan Sheppard

British actor W. Morgan Sheppard played four major characters across multiple shows and films in the "Star Trek" franchise. But he also has a rare distinction of playing different characters in both the original "Star Trek" timeline and the J.J. Abrams reboot. His first role came in 1988 when he played Federation scientist Ira Graves in the "The Next Generation" episode, "The Schizoid Man," where he steals the android Data's body to extend his lifespan. He then moved over to the films, playing the Klingon commandant at the Rura Penthe penal colony in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." Sheppard returned in "Star Trek: Voyager" as the alien Qatai in the episode, "Bliss."

In 2009, Sheppard came back to "Trek" once more to portray a Vulcan administrator who berates a young Mr. Spock, played by Zachary Quinto. Sci-fi fans will also remember his role in "Doctor Who," where in the episode, "The Impossible Astronaut," he plays an older version of Canton Delaware III, with his younger self played by Morgan's real-life son, Mark Sheppard. It was Mark who announced the passing of his father in 2019 at the age of 86 in a moving dedication on Instagram.

Arlene Martel (T'Pring)

Because Spock had been introduced as the logical Vulcan incapable of emotion, fans were as surprised as the rest of the crew to be introduced to his betrothed, a Vulcan named T'Pring in the now iconic episode, "Amok Time." Known for its famous fight music, the episode pit Spock and Kirk against each other in a death match arranged by T'Pring, played by actress Arlene Martel.

Before "Star Trek," Martel had appeared in a pair of episodes of "The Twilight Zone," including the spooky "Twenty Two." She was also known for small parts in "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." She continued acting on television through the '80s, but was largely retired by the 2000s. The role of T'Pring has since been recast for 2022's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" — where she is played by Gia Sandhu — but Martel has been immortalized in television history for being the first in the role. In 2014, she suffered a heart attack that would lead to her death shortly thereafter at the age of 78.

Mitchell Ryan (Kyle Riker)

When "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was first being assembled, the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard was one of the toughest to fill, with a number of contenders vying for the role. Before Patrick Stewart nabbed the part, Mitchell Ryan was an early favorite, according to StarTrek.com. But like Billy Campbell — who lost out on the role of Commander Riker but was cast in a guest starring role — Ryan wound up on the show in the episode, "The Icarus Factor." That Season 2 episode sees Ryan come aboard the Enterprise playing the part of Riker's father Kyle.

Shortly before he played Kyle Riker, Ryan starred in "Lethal Weapon" as the film's main villain, General Peter McAllister. Some 20 years earlier though he'd made a name for himself by starring as Burke Devlin in "Dark Shadows." Audiences today might remember him best from his starring role in the popular '90s sitcom, "Dharma and Greg," where he played Greg's father, Edward. In March 2022, Ryan died of congenital heart failure at the age of 88.

Ben Cross (Sarek)

Ben Cross had a distinguished big-screen career that began with a role in the 1977 war film, "A Bridge Too Far," and continued through 1981's "Chariots of Fire" and saw him join the "Star Trek" franchise in 2009's "Star Trek" reboot. In that movie, Cross starred as Sarek, the father of the Enterprise's Mr. Spock, now played by Zachary Quinto, a role originated by Mark Lenard. 

On the small screen, Cross had already once taken over another iconic role. In the 1991 remake of "Dark Shadows," Cross played vampire Barnabas Collins, a role that later went to Johnny Depp for the 2012 film of the same name. Later roles for Cross included starring as the criminal kingpin known as Rabbit in the Cinemax series, "Banshee," and a two-episode stint on the TV adaptation of "12 Monkeys." In 2020, Cross passed away suddenly after a brief illness, according to the BBC.

Camille Saviola (Kai Opaka)

On its debut in 1993, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was more than just the second spin-off of the hit sci-fi franchise. It was also markedly different from its predecessors, with a decidedly religious angle to its story, something that "Star Trek" had almost entirely shied away from to that point. Embodying this religious element were the Bajorans, whose spiritual leader was Kai Opaka, played by Camille Saviola.

A veteran of stage and screen, Saviola's filmography is littered with roles in some of TV's biggest hits, including episodes of "L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue," and "Friends" in the 1990s, and "ER," "Judging Amy," "and "Entourage" in the 2000s. Yet while she only appeared in four episodes of "Deep Space Nine," Saviola would be best remembered for her recurring role as Kai Opaka. As the spiritual leader, she was pivotal early in the series, helping guide Commander Ben Sisko into his role as the Bajoran Emissary to the Prophets. 25 years after her final appearance as Opaka, Saviola died of heart failure in 2021, aged 71.

Christopher Plummer (Chang)

"Star Trek" has long been known for its impressive villains, particularly on the big screen, where the likes of Ricardo Montalbán and Christopher Lloyd used their considerable talents to menace Captain Kirk in early films in the series. To this day however, even adding in Tom Hardy from "Nemesis" and F. Murray Abraham from "Insurrection," actor Christopher Plummer could make a real claim to the top spot for his role as Klingon Commander Chang in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."

Starting out in the 1950s, Plummer made his name with the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." But as his career progressed he seemed to only get better, with roles in "Malcolm X" and "12 Monkeys" in the 1990s, and "A Beautiful Mind" and "Syriana" in the 2000s. But more than just for his role as Chang, Trekkies owe him another debt: William Shatner famously got his start as an understudy for Plummer during a 1956 stage production of Henry V, which led to his big break when Plummer became ill and Shatner got to fill in (per THR). 

After a career that spanned more than 60 years, and included three Academy Award nominations (and one win), Plummer died in 2020 at the age of 91 after suffering a fall. He is  survived by his daughter Amanda, who has followed in her father's footsteps to play the villainous Vadic in Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard."

David Warner (Gorkon)

"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" may have had one of the finest supporting casts of any film in the series. In addition to Christopher Plummer as the film's primary antagonist General Chang and Brock Peters returning in the role of Admiral Cartwright, it also included Kim Cattrall, Kurtwood Smith, Iman, and of course film veteran and British icon, David Warner. In the film, Warner stars as Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, whose murder kicks off the film's riveting story, but it's actually not the first role he played in the franchise, nor would it be the last.

A few years earlier, Warner played St. John Talbot in the forgettable "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier." More memorably however he returned in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in the classic two-parter, "Chain of Command," where he played a brutal Cardassian interrogator who tortures Captain Picard.

Beyond "Star Trek," Warner was famous for roles in "Titanic" and "The Omen," and had key roles in cult classics like "Time Bandits" and "Tron," while also voicing Ra's al Ghul in "Batman the Animated Series." An Emmy Award-winner for his role in the 1981 miniseries, "Masada," alongside Peter O'Toole, Warner died in July of 2022 from a cancer-related illness. He was 80.

Louise Fletcher (Kai Winn)

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was home to some of the franchise's best villains on the small screen, from the insidious Cardassian leader Gul Dukat to the slippery Vorta named Weyoun. One of the most unexpected however was Kai Winn, who took the role of Bajor's spiritual leader after the death of Opaka in Season 2 of the series. She quickly became a political rival for Captain Sisko, and her scheming machinations and hunger for power made her a threat to peace. Playing her was Louise Fletcher, one of the most highly respected Hollywood actors ever to earn a recurring role in the franchise.

In 1975, Fletcher starred as the similarly sinister Nurse Ratched opposite Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," a role that earned her an Academy Award. Years later, around the same time she was clashing with Starfleet in "Deep Space Nine," she was nominated for an Emmy for her role as Christine Bey in "Picket Fences." After a career that lasted nearly 60 years, Fletcher died peacefully at her home in September 2022 at the age of 88.

Kirstie Alley (Saavik)

Kirstie Alley is no doubt best known for her role as Rebecca Howe, her star-making role in the NBC sitcom, "Cheers," after the departure of the original star, Shelley Long. She followed that up with her own series, "Veronica's Closet" in 1997, and led several other short-lived shows of her own. But years before her television fame, Alley played the iconic role of the Vulcan Lt. Saavik in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." In the film, she's the protege of Mr. Spock and is notable for being — along with star Leonard Nimoy — the first character to ever speak the Vulcan language on screen.

Unfortunately, when the time came for a sequel, Alley turned down an offer to return and was replaced in the role by Robin Curtis. Nearly a decade later, when her "Cheers" co-star Kelsey Grammer guest starred in an episode of "The Next Generation," it had originally been planned for Alley to reprise the role as his first officer, but scheduling conflicts quashed her appearance (per StarTrek.com). Still, Alley's mark on the franchise is a big one, and the "Trek" community saw a major loss when she passed away at 71 from colon cancer in December 2022.

Annie Wersching (Borg Queen)

In Season 2 of "Star Trek: Picard," the former Enterprise captain finds himself squaring off with an old foe, the Borg Queen, who we first meet in "Star Trek: First Contact." Of course, it's not quite the same Borg Queen, and instead of original actress Alice Krige, it is Annie Wersching under the Borg makeup this time around. A veteran actress, Wersching was already a "Star Trek" alum, having played a guest starring role in an episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise" all the way back in 2002 in her very first acting role.

From there, Wersching appeared all over television, with roles in "Charmed," "Boston Legal," and "Supernatural," before landing a recurring role in "24" in 2009. She was the voice of Tess in the wildly popular video game, "The Last of Us," while fans of "The Vampire Diaries" will remember her from her role as Lily. She appeared to be on the ascent in later years, securing regular roles in the Marvel series, "Runaways," and "Bosch." Sadly, at just 45, Wersching lost a battle with cancer in early 2023, leaving her two roles in "Star Trek" as both the first and final on-screen appearances of her career.

Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Nyota Uhura)

When the original "Star Trek" debuted in 1966, it boasted a Black woman on the bridge in a rare display of racial diversity on prime-time television. Nichelle Nichols, in one of her very first on-screen roles, played communications officer Uhura — one of the first Black characters in a leading TV role — and quickly became a trailblazing icon for both women's rights and racial equality. She's also credited as half of the first interracial kiss on television, shared with series star William Shatner.

Before "Trek," Nichols played a role in an episode of "The Lieutenant" penned by Gene Roddenberry all about racial intolerance. But the episode proved too controversial for TV and never aired, making her role as Uhura her first credited role on television. Nichols, who helped inspire scores of young women, famously quit "Star Trek," only to be coaxed back into the series by Martin Luther King, Jr., in an incident that helped shape the rest of her life. 

Thanks to her role in the series, Nichols was the face of women in science and even became a recruiter for NASA in the 1970s. And while Nichols never did win any major awards for her performance as Uhura, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2017 for a four-episode run on "The Young and the Restless" and received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Films. In 2022, Nichols died at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy of grace and strength for future generations of fans to aspire to. 

Gary Graham (Ambassador Soval)

When "Star Trek: Enterprise" debuted in 2001, its principal cast was joined by Gary Graham, who played the Vulcan Ambassador Soval. Early on in the series, Soval is something of an antagonist to Captain Archer (Scott Bakula), as the stoic Vulcan doesn't believe that humans are yet ready to launch the NX-01 Enterprise and join the larger interstellar community. Like series star Bakula, Graham was already well-known to sci-fi audiences for another iconic TV show — in his case, the 1989 cult series "Alien Nation."

Graham, whose career kicked off in the late 1970s, took over the James Caan role from the film version of "Nation," playing Earth cop Matthew Sikes. He starred in the show's only season but returned for five subsequent made-for-TV movies in the 1990s. It was the only time he led his own show, but it certainly wasn't his only sci-fi classic, the other being the dystopian B-movie classic "Robot Jox." In addition to playing Soval in "Enterprise," Graham also had a recurring role on "JAG." Of course, Soval wasn't even his first role in "Star Trek" — in 1995 he guest-starred in the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Cold Fire."

A decade after "Enterprise" ended, Graham reprised his role as Soval in the fan film, "Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar." He'd planned to return for a full-length feature version, but the project became the target of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit on copyright infringement grounds and Graham left the production in 2020. He passed away on January 22, 2024, survived by his wife Becky and daughter Haylee.

Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross)

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was known for its stellar recurring cast, and in Season 6 the series added actor Barry Jenner as Admiral William Ross. Nearly a main cast member, Jenner appeared in 12 episodes in the show's final two seasons, playing Captain Sisko's no-nonsense Starfleet boss. He was also the rare Starfleet admiral who didn't turn out to be evil, even joining the crew's victory in the series finale.

While Jenner never did have much of a career in film, he found plenty of success on television. He got his start in the 1970s and went on to secure guest spots on hits like "Remington Steele," "Highway to Heaven," and "Simon & Simon" as well as a recurring role on "Days of Our Lives" before landing the role of Dr. Jerry Kenderson on "Dallas" midway through its run. From there, Jenner secured single-episode guest spots in everything from "Family Ties" to "Mr. Belvedere," on top of multi-episode appearances on the likes of "Falcon Crest" and "Matlock." He even guested in an episode of "Saved by the Bell" when it was still called "Good Morning, Miss Bliss."

Outside of "Trek," Jenner's biggest role in the 1990s was as Lt. Murtaugh in "Family Matters," appearing in 18 episodes before he landed a regular role on the short-lived "Something So Right" in 1996. His role as Admiral Ross was one of his final on-screen appearances, and shortly thereafter he all but retired from acting. He died in 2016 from leukemia. He was 75.

Paul Winfield (Captain Terrell, Dathon)

Paul Winfield has appeared in several iconic science fiction classics, from his role as Lt. Traxler in "The Terminator" to Gen. Casey in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" But before them all, he co-starred in perhaps the best "Star Trek" film of them all, 1982's "The Wrath of Khan." There he played Captain Terrell of the starship Reliant, who vaporizes himself after he is mind-controlled by an alien space insect. But one might argue his biggest role in the franchise was still to come.

In 1991, Winfield returned to "Trek," but this time on the small screen, sharing the stage with Patrick Stewart in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in the episode "Darmok" as another captain, this time an alien named Dathon. One of the series' most famous installments, "Darmok" continues to be ranked among the best episodes of "The Next Generation" even today, with Winfield's performance as Captain Dathon being one of the main reasons why.

Winfield, though, was already a star when he joined "Star Trek," having earned an Academy Award nomination for his leading role in "Sounder" in 1972. He'd receive similar accolades and an Emmy nomination for his role as Martin Luther King Jr. in the TV miniseries "King" six years later and for his role in "Roots: The Next Generations" in 1979. He'd finally take home an Emmy in 1995 for a guest role in "Picket Fences." His biggest roles on the small screen include recurring parts in "The Charmings," "227," and "Built to Last." His final on-screen performance was in "Touched by an Angel," where he played the archangel Sam. In 2004, Winfield died of a heart attack at the age of 62. 

Miguel Ferrer (Excelsior executive officer)

For those unfamiliar with "Star Trek" it may come as something of a surprise to learn that Miguel Ferrer had a role in the franchise. After all, Ferrer is much more famous among sci-fi fans for his role in "RoboCop" (alongside future "Trek" stars Ronny Cox, Ray Wise, and Peter Weller), not to mention countless bigger roles. But in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," Ferrer was an instant fan-favorite as the smarmy helmsman of the USS Excelsior.

One of the best character actors in Hollywood in the 1980s and '90s, Ferrer rarely had the leading role but never failed to be memorable. He got his first acting gig in an episode of "Magnum, P.I.," and following "The Search for Spock" he appeared in episodes of "Hill Street Blues" and "Trapper John, M.D.," and even re-teamed with William Shatner for an episode of "TJ Hooker." Genre fans will almost certainly recognize Ferrer as FBI Agent Rosenfeld in David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" in 1990 — a role he returned to nearly 30 years later for the show's belated third season. 

Some of Ferrer's biggest roles, though, came late in his career. In 2001, he joined the main cast of "Crossing Jordan," and he appeared in all of the show's 117 episodes. Not long after, Ferrer starred in the 2007 reboot of "The Bionic Woman" before joining the main cast of "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2012. He'd stick with the "NCIS" spin-off until his passing in 2017. He died of throat cancer at 61.

Larry Drake (Chellick)

"Star Trek" has long been known for its high-profile guest stars, and the franchise received another in 2000 in an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager." The seventh season installment "Critical Care" features Larry Drake as Chellick, the unfeeling administrator of an alien hospital. There, health care is doled out based on status and the ship's holographic doctor (Robert Picardo) is forced into servitude when his program is stolen from Voyager. Horror fans might know Drake for a different doctor role, though, as he also played the titular psycho killer in "Doctor Giggles."

Perhaps more notably, Drake played the villainous Durant in Sam Raimi's "Darkman" (as well as its Raimi-less sequel), but even that wasn't his most famous role. That title belongs to Benny, the intellectually disabled clerk on "L.A. Law," whom he played for the show's entire run, bumped up from guest star to main cast member in the show's third season. He reprised that role in the 2002 reunion, "L.A. Law: The Movie."

In the late '90s, Drake also starred in "Prey," a sci-fi medical drama series starring Debra Messing, but by the 2000s he had begun doing voicework in animation and video games. He played Pops on the Cartoon Network classic "Johnny Bravo," and later voicework included roles in "Green Lantern: First Flight," "Justice League," and "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." He died in 2016, around the same time that his final film, "The Secrets of Emily Blair," was released. He was 66.

John Hoyt (Dr. Boyce)

Every "Star Trek" needs a doctor, and while many will tell you that DeForest Kelley — aka "Bones" McCoy — was the franchise's first, that title actually belongs to actor John Hoyt. In the show's original unaired pilot, "The Cage," Hoyt starred as Dr. Boyce, the ship's resident physician and confidante of Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter). Though he only appeared in that single episode, it's a legendary one that gave Hoyt a special place in "Star Trek" lore as the franchise's first chief medical officer.

Hoyt was no stranger to science fiction when he played Boyce, having appeared in quite a few memorable titles, including "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes," and 1951's "When World's Collide." He had two episodes of "The Twilight Zone" already under his belt and afterward continued in the genre with appearances on the original "Battlestar Galactica," "The Time Tunnel," and the "Planet of the Apes" TV series. Though he rarely had recurring roles on TV, he did show up in seven episodes of "Hogan's Heroes" and five of "The Virginian," mostly in different roles each time.

Some of his most legendary projects were epics — he appeared in both "Spartacus" and "Cleopatra" — but his biggest role was also his last: From 1982 to 1987 he starred in "Gimme a Break" as Grandpa Kanisky, a role that brought him to the attention of an entirely new generation. In 1991, Hoyt died at the age of 86.

Booker Bradshaw (Dr. M'Benga)

Boyce and McCoy weren't the only doctors aboard the USS Enterprise on the original 1960s "Star Trek." Another was Dr. M'Benga, played by Booker Bradshaw in a pair of episodes, "A Private Little War" and "That Which Survives." The character gained renewed attention in 2021, however, when the character was revived for "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," where M'Benga — played by Babs Olusanmokun — was the Enterprise's top doc.

Bradshaw wasn't primarily an actor during his life. When he was younger, Bradshaw was more of a musician, and even before he'd graduated Harvard had already appeared on "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour" as a folk singer, winning the TV musical competition three times. After moving to Detroit, Bradshaw went to work for Motown and was even a tour manager for acclaimed groups like The Supremes and The Temptations. 

On the screen, though, Bradshaw had an intermittent career in TV and film. In addition to his two "Trek" appearances, he acted in episodes of "The F.B.I.," "Mod Squad," and "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." while also starring in films like "Coffy" alongside Pam Grier. Additionally, Bradshaw was a writer, penning episodes of the "Planet of the Apes" series, "Columbo," "The Jeffersons," and "The Rockford Files" in the 1970s and "Gimme a Break!" and "Diff'rent Strokes" in the '80s. He died in 2003 at the age of 61.

Fritz Weaver (Kovat)

Another guest actor in the franchise, Fritz Weaver is notable not just for his role in the 1994 "Deep Space Nine" episode "Tribunal," but for his extensive filmography that makes him one of the most prolific and varied guests the show has ever seen. In that installment, Weaver plays a Cardassian lawyer named Kovat who is brought in to "defend" Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) from trumped-up terrorism charges.

By the time that episode aired, though, Weaver was already one of TV's most unsung heroes. He'd made his mark as far back as the 1950s, and it's actually something of a surprise that he didn't appear in the original "Star Trek," considering his pedigree in the '60s: He starred in two episodes of the original "The Twilight Zone" series (in the episodes "The Obsolete Man" and "Third from the Sun") and appeared in episodes of "The Invaders," "Gunsmoke," "The Fugitive," and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." And he never slowed down, either, continuing to appear in shows into the '90s and 2000s, including episodes of "The X-Files," "L.A. Law," and "Law & Order."

Weaver won a Tony Award for Robert Marasco's "Child's Play" in 1970, while also earning an Emmy nomination for his role in the TV miniseries "Holocaust," in which he played a Jewish man sent to die in Auschwitz during WWII. Weaver acted until his death in 2016. He was 90 years old.

Joseph Ruskin

Another stalwart character actor, Joseph Ruskin, made his first appearance in the franchise in the 1960s and played a total of six roles across four "Star Trek" series and one movie. In "The Gamemasters of Triskelion," Ruskin played the mysterious and powerful alien Galt. He'd return in a trio of "Deep Space Nine" episodes, playing the Klingon guardian Tumek in "The House of Quark" and "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" and later playing a shadowy Cardassian spy in "Improbable Cause."

Not long after, Ruskin appeared as a Son'a officer in the 1998 film "Star Trek: Insurrection" and played Tuvok's Vulcan master in flashback sequences in the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Gravity." His final "Trek" role was as a Suliban doctor in the premiere episode of "Enterprise." He also lent his voice to a number of "Star Trek" video games.

Ruskin started his career with an uncredited appearance in an episode of "The Honeymooners" in 1955 and made memorable guest appearances in "The Twilight Zone," playing the scheming genie in "The Man in the Bottle" and was the disembodied voice of a Kanamit alien in the iconic installment "To Serve Man." Never without work, Ruskin has shown up in just about every TV show one could imagine, from "Mister Ed" to "Alias," with his final role coming in an episode of "Bones" in 2006. Ruskin, a longtime Screen Actors Guild board member, died at the age of 89 in 2013.

Kellie Waymire (Cutler)

"Star Trek" has a habit of reusing actors — when a guest star impresses, they bring them back for a bigger role, sometimes even in another series entirely. That was the case with Kellie Waymire, who appeared in the franchise first in the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Muse," from its final season, where she played a stage actor on an alien world that resembled ancient Rome or Greece. And just a year later after the launch of "Star Trek: Enterprise," Waymire was brought back in a recurring role as crewman Cutler, a young woman with a serious crush on Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley).

Prior to appearing on either "Star Trek" series, Waymire was mostly a sitcom guest actor, appearing in the "Seinfeld" episode "The Blood," and episodes of "Ally McBeal," "Stark Raving Mad," and "Snoops." She later had a notable role in the "Friends" episode "The One Where Ross Is Fine," playing a friend of Phoebe's named Colleen. Sadly, Waymire's career was cut short in 2003 when she suffered a fatal heart attack caused by an undiagnosed medical condition. She was just 36 years old.

Michael Dunn (Alexander)

Michael Dunn didn't have the longest career in Hollywood, but only because he died young, at just 39 years old. Standing at 3 feet and 10 inches tall, Dunn was easily identifiable on screen and appeared in several well-known films including "Ship of Fools" in 1965 and "The Last Roman" three years later. Around that same time, Dunn starred as the court jester Alexander in the classic "Star Trek" episode "Plato's Stepchildren," which became most famous for featuring the controversial interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura that sent shockwaves across America.

By the time of the episode's airing, Dunn had appeared in  the recurring role of the villainous mad scientist Dr. Loveless in "The Wild Wild West," a character that was played by Kenneth Branagh in the 1999 big-budget feature film starring Will Smith. Dunn was a celebrated actor and received many nominations and accolades for his work. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the 1963 Broadway production "The Ballad of the Sad Café" and an Oscar for "Ship of Fools." He is to date the only actor with dwarfism to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting.

In 1973, Dunn died in his sleep while on location in London filming "The Abdication," which was released a year later and would wind up his last on-screen appearance.

Madge Sinclair (Silva La Forge)

What makes Madge Sinclair unique among "Star Trek" guest stars is that she was cast in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" mostly for her connection to a franchise regular, LeVar Burton. Nearly 15 years earlier, Sinclair played Bell Reynolds in "Roots," the 1977 TV miniseries that turned Burton into a star. In the Season 7 episode "Interface," Sinclair plays the mother of Burton's character, Geordi La Forge, while fellow "Roots" alum Ben Vereen plays Geordi's father.

Playing Geordi's mother wasn't her first "Trek" role, though, because Sinclair also had an uncredited cameo in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," playing the captain of the USS Saratoga. Sinclair got her start a decade before, though, with some of her first roles coming in shows like "Madigan" and "The Waltons" as well as the film "Conrack" in the early '70s. More famously, perhaps, she played Queen Aoleon, mother of Eddie Murphy's Akeem Joffer, in the 1988 comedy classic "Coming to America" (which also featured "Roots" star John Amos).

On television, Sinclair is most recognizable for her role as Ernestine Shoop on the "M*A*S*H" spin-off, "Trapper John, M.D." as well as her roles on "Gabriel's Fire" and "Me and the Boys." Her final film performance came in "The Lion King" in 1994, where she voiced Sabari, the wife of Mufasa (who was voiced by her on-screen "Coming to America" husband James Earl Jones). Sinclair died just a year after its release in 1995, aged 57, the result of cancer.

George Murdock (God, Admiral J.P. Hanson)

From Morgan Freeman to George Burns, it takes a special actor to play the lofty role of God. And as strange as it sounds, God himself showed up in "Star Trek," infamously appearing in the climax of the notoriously awful "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," played by actor George Murdock (though the character turned out to be a noncorporeal entity). Murdock wasn't done with "Trek," though, and he'd return in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in arguably the show's best and most famous episode, the two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds," playing Starfleet Admiral J.P. Hanson.

Even by 1989, when he played God in "Star Trek V," Murdock was already well-known to science-fiction fans. A decade earlier, Murdock had starred in the original "Battlestar Galactica" as Colonial scientist Dr. Salik. None of those roles, however, are Murdock's most famous — that belongs to the character of Lt. Ben Scanlon, the Internal Affairs officer who tormented the titular hero on "Barney Miller."

Like many guest actors, Murdock had a long list of appearances on television, with roles in everything from "The Twilight Zone" to "CHiPs." In the 1990s and 2010s, he was still going, too, and he was even back in sci-fi classics with an appearance in an episode of the "Doctor Who" spin-off "Torchwood" being among his final roles. Murdock died in 2012 at 81.

Robert Ellenstein (Federation President, Steven Miller)

"Star Trek" fans got a rare glimpse of Earth in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," and for the first time, they met the Federation President, played by veteran actor Robert Ellenstein. Not a year later, though, Ellenstein was back, this time in an early episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" titled "Haven," playing Steven Miller, whose son Wyatt (Rob Knepper) was due to be married to ship's counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis).

A prolific actor whose work stretches back to the 1950s, Ellenstein's body of work began with an episode of the Walter Cronkite-hosted historical reenactment series "You Are There." From there, his career wove through drama anthologies like "The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse" and "Kraft Theatre." But he also filled the guest role in episodes of "Gunsmoke," "The Thin Man," and "The Rifleman." At the movies, Ellenstein had roles in several all-time classics, including the original "3:10 to Yuma," "North by Northwest," and "Brewster's Millions." He continued acting on TV throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, showing up in multiple episodes of hit shows like "CHiPs," "Columbo," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," and "Mission: Impossible."

One of his final on-screen performances was in an episode of "ER." Shortly after, in 1999, he took on the ultimate role: playing King Lear in a production for the Los Angeles Repertory Company. Shortly after, he stepped away from acting altogether. He died in 2010, aged 87.